Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Deliverance in Zacatitios
My cousin’s came to town for Christmas. Oh thank goodness. Aunt Susan and Uncle Tim too. Wew Whoo!! It’s almost the beginning of a song and if I had any sense of tune I might just attempt a song. But since I don’t, I shall share spare us all. But I can’t tell you how great it was to have family with which to celebrate. There are so many parts to this story and since my blog won’t let me move pictures around suddenly I’ve decided to break it up into parts. So here is the first part.
My Cousin Nick and his girlfriend Cora arrived on the Saturday before Christmas. They were supposed to come in around noon, I was going to pick them up and head to the farmers market to get them some goods and then to the store for the rest and grab a little dinner and drive them into Zacatito’s. Even as I write this now I see that our (my) plan was flawed from the start. I had heard that the road to Zacatito’s was bad and should not be driven at night, but I had also heard the same thing about the road to Cabo Pulmo. I drove the road to, well actually from Cabo Pulmo and didn’t think it was all that bad, in fact there was less really really slow rickety-almost- broken-down-pick-up-truck traffic that I found the drive to go quite smoothly. Though I did realize that to be completely on the safe side driving with my brights on was a must and at a moderate speed for fear of the lone cow or donkey butt, that doesn’t have the tell tale reflective eye hanging out on the side of the road, and there still was the possibility of the slow rickety-almost-broken-down-pickup with no tail lights to be aware of. But, still not scary at all and would totally drive that road again in the dark. So with that in mind I wasn’t toooo worried about driving to Zacititos in the dark especially since Nick and Cora were with me and Zacititos is on the ocean. I’ve seen it a hundred times from the Sea of Cortez while panga fishing (ok more like 6 but more that you have so there except for uncle tom) and it all seemed pretty manageable from there. Just show me where it is in relation to the house with the tipi. I can find it. But I took down directions just in case. Susan my aunt sent very specific directions, stuff like go 4 to 6 miles past where the road ends, turn left onto narrow jeep track, take right at cactus corner, go left at shack with palapa roof there is a construction sign next to it, go left at cactus planted round about, I am the third house in, with a stick and barb wire fence, Make sure you close the gate so the donkey’s don’t get in! I of course did not print those specific directions, as my printer wasn’t working, duh. So I jotted down a few notes and figured that’ll do’er.
Ahhh but even the best laid plans of mice and men oft’ go awry and this was not even the best of plans. Even if Nick and Cora’s plane hadn’t gotten delayed two hours in Minneapolis we still would have traversed the road to Zacatito’s a la noche. I’d squeezed one too many food-based experiences into the plan. When they arrived finally at around 3:30 they were starving. So I took them to the place that O and I had just had lunch killing time waiting for them to get in, and owed the waiter money anyway since I didn’t have enough cash on me and they didn’t take cards. Plus it’s been a few hours since we last ate and I was feeling a bit peckish anyway, so I took them to Cynthia’s a yummy little outdoor patio right next to Villa Valentina owned by my mom’s designer friend Julietta who I always like to stop and see, but missed, you know, that’s how it goes. We got done around 4:30, attempted the Mega, and skipped the farmers market entirely. I assured them that there was another market the next day and I didn’t have plans so I could pick them up in Zacatitos and take them, since I’d never been, I was looking forward to it. They could get a few supplies at Mega and come in for the rest tomorrow. Oh Manana how I love thee. As we shopped the fact that darkness was impending, I suggested to Nick that he might want to grab another 6 pack of Modelo Especial (my ghetto fave of the moment) as I for saw my night unfolding and just in case, I wanted enough beer for all of us, unfortunately I forgot the tequila. With a little food and a little more beer we head out through San Jose (road easy) past La Playita (road easy), out too Laguana Hills, to the round about just before Buzzards (road potholey). As soon as you pass the round about to Buzzards begins the dirt road to Zacatitos (road tretcherous). Not 1 mile or 20 minutes, into our drive Nick say’s to me, “So ya sleepin’ over then?” I say, white knuckled, “yup”. By now I’ve sort of figured out this Cabo thing, only sort of, but I’ve learned to bring supplies “just in case”, hence the extra beer. So I packed an bag with some stuff including a pull up for O, (who’s potty trained now, whoopee, but still needs one for night) minus a toothbrush and pj’s because that equals commitment and this was just in case, glad to have pull up though and some extra clothes, no suit, damn always bring a suit. I don’t know if you picked up on the 1 mile or 20 minutes thing but I am not kidding you. We were averaging about a mile every 20 minutes; makes those 4 to 6 miles really mean something when it’s a matter of 80 or 120 minutes. Yah I’m pretty sure it was the 6-mile option. We may have been going extra slow because I forgot to look at my odometer and my pencil scribble was extremely difficult to read in the dark so we had to do a pull over to get the Nicks directions out of the back, mine were so insuffient. Turns out so were nicks. It all seems so good and easy in theory. But here is the thing; it’s dark out there like dark. Like the moon wasn’t even out, just stars, every single one of them, shining as brightly as they could and even skipping across the sky, but no shooting star was going to show us the way to that jeep track. We opened the sunroof to take it all in as my jeep dips down into the bolder laden ravine washed out from last October’s rain.
Luckily O’s asleep and Nick, Cora and I take these moments to get to know each other. The last time I saw Nick he was like a thirteen year old camper, at Wolf Ridge, who I associated with as being a tween twit only because he was my brothers’ age and hung out with them. Now he’s all growed up, got himself a fantastic girlfriend and is a chef in Indiana. Turns out we had lots to talk about while we passed the time. Finally we got to Zac’s a bar I didn’t even know existed in Zacatito’s , figuring by the looks of things it must be like 10:00 pm and I was super impressed they were still open. Upon further research, it was a little more like 6:00 pm, and as I learned later, that of course Zac’s was open because as the sign stated, and I love this, “Open noon to 8:30ish), I knew 10:00 woulda’ been pushin’ it. Ok we’re at Zac’s which must mean were in Zacatitio’s but it wasn’t in the directions but we’re pretty smart so we figured that out. No we are supposed to look for cactus corner. Um yahhhh there like a cactus on just about every corner, I’m not exactly sure what would make this one so specific. But we got to a point where there were some signs and a fork in the road with what looked to be a cornerish spot and there were some signs. Nick got out to check the signs, since he was the one with the pen light on his key chain, note to self gotta get one of those. The signs were fun but not helpful, they just said, East Cape and San Jose and were covered in surf stickers. I really like the sticker touch. We decide that that corner looks pretty defined as a cactus corner and go right, into a mess of boldery dirt roads leading only into darkness and this is where we got really lost.
Turns out there are quite a few shacks with palapa roofs, on them and Zacatitos must be on the boom because there was more than one construction sign. We did see one shack with palapa roof, and a construction sign in conjunction with each other, though both were debatable as to weather the were shack or palapaiey enough, or if that Spanish sign even was in fact referring to construction. We chanced it and took that left. Only to get about 30 seconds in and come upon what Nick called, “a creepy molester van” he took the words right outta my mouth, that is only the vehicle of a predatory pedophile, eeeeppppp, the darkness and the drive were getting to us, things were starting to make strange shapes in the night, your average thing, distorted, we were of there!!!! We made a u’ey and head back to the main road. Took a left at what looked like it another shack with Palapa roof and came upon a little sketchy looking party and a big black dog passed out in the middle of the road either unable or on willing to move. We all concluded that he must’ve gotten into the pot brownies that were left over from the sketchy party. Pretty sure that wasn’t right either. Though I have decided that the village of Zacatitos has a little puff of smoke over it. This was further confirmed when I talked to the property manager of Casa Jubelio in the morning after we made it and he invited us to a party where there was going to be a laser light show over at the purple domed house. My suspicions confirmed pot and lots of it.
But we weren’t there yet, not even close. Turned around again and drove further on. Quite a ways actually up to a sort of mountainside cliff road, littered with crosses to mark the accidents, all this and we had a water truck hot on our tail. What was he doing there? It’s midnight? Oh yah right I forgot its like 7 it only feels like midnight. We pull over to let the truck pass and Cora has to pee anyways. We find a turn around that seems suitable until I blink the brights out of our eyes, and then we see the a creepiest camp I’ve ever come across. Craggy driftwood marks their entrance with helmets hanging on them, but in the dark we could only in vision the helmets to still have heads in them. As we pull through camp which consists of two semi trailers with hammocks swinging from them. We decide that Cora needed to wait to pee. This was only solidified my the two dogs that apparently were not knocked out by pot brownies they were a little more jacked up than that. Yah that had a “Deliverance” written all over it, run as fast as you can!
We decided that we had gone too far anyway we were past the Zacatito’s city limits and needed to return. We made a few more wrong turns, one into this strange little neighborhood that was all ‘70’s architecture and seemed so out of place here in the desert, but safe enough for a pee stop. At this point we decided that the first palapa roof, shack and construction sign was our best bet and went back. Not to be thwarted by the molester van we pushed on. But even here nothing seemed to jive with the directions, we’re supposed to be very close to the ocean but the ocean is nowhere in site. And there are seriously no round-abouts. We’ve seen lots of triangle-abouts but not one round one. But lets assume that the directions say round-about and mean triangle-about, which is very possible there aren’t even cactuses on them there are boulder and trees. But we took one and headed the direction we were supposed too and we actually found a house that might be Casa Jubelio with a barbed wire and stick fence. But this house was for sale and they said nothing about the house being for sale. We turn around again and look on but come back to this place and decide that it simply must be it. There was only one other home aside from the stoned black dog house that seemed to have lights on and this guy could tell we were searching. We didn’t even have to go knock on the door. He came out and told us that we were in the right spot. Yay! Tequila. I just felt like we earned tequila.
We open the barbed wire and stick fence gate and drive through to the prettiest little entryway. We all unpack and get acclimated. I put O to bed and we search for tequila. The beers had already been cracked and we found some very generic looking tequila where all that the bottle said was 100% Agave Tequila. But hey at that point we didn’t care we would’ve drank Cuervo at that moment. The tequila turned out to not be half bad and we sipped on tequila and Modelo Especial under the starlight and played some serious catch up. What a way to start a vacation aye? And what a way to get to know each other again? I told Nick and Cora we are forever bonded now after that experience. And what is so funny that the next morning in the sunlight everything seemed so very normal, ooh and the ocean was right there the whole time. We joked wondering if the creepy molester van would in fact be a fully decked hummer, but when we checked it out it still looked like a creepy molester van but there were two very non-molester looking Mexican guys working on it and made it seem much less creepy that way. As we drove out of town that morning on our way to San Jose for the farmers market we drove past a painted sign that said Cactus Corner. Yah there was pretty much no way we were going to see that in the pitch of night, but I’ll give the directions credit, had it been light we mighta seen it at some point. We kept thinking to go and see the “Deliverance” camp in the light of day but were too scared that it would still look the same.