Sunday, June 24, 2007

baja

i had a chillaxtastic vacation in Baja. let me tell you all about it.

a few weeks before leaving, i somehow lurched a couple steps toward enlightenment. sweet. so getting to baja was extra REAL, and filled with interesting characters. when you feel like you're sliding up the pole to shangri-la la land, i guess you put out pheremones, because people around me seemed more kind and sociable. maybe was just in headspace that allowed for me to appreciate them, and therefore for them to approach me. anyway, with good company and high spirits, i made my way across the landscape by dirty dog and metal bird. in the airport, i pulled my usual starbucks scams and ran 5+ miles of laps around the terminal. it's a great way to kill boredom and an even better way to use such weird, government restricted space.

when i got to atlanta, i had a dark chocolate bon bon and touseled my mom's hair. we talked all the way to Los Angeles airport. she's an amazing gal, really a point of light on the bleak, utopia-less map of the NPR Nation. if you're interested in forest gardening and you happen to be on the West side of the nasty 'Nati, check out her new spread.

anywho, the next morning we flew down to Loretto, which is halfway down the Baja penninsula on the Eastern side. there were several layers of growing green things, none of the shapes were at all familiar to me. my eyes were as big as a kracken's, trying to soak it all in. the majesty of great distances between our shuttle van and the magnanimous mountains was magnificent. there was a precocious young girl sitting next to me, for the ride to the ship. so entranced was she by our surroundings that her tongue hung out (though mostly so it could more liberally wag). just kidding, Alex.

the ship looked like a pregnant yacht. big, and white, with a stylized eye on its prow that looked a lot like the one on my ankle. we got aboard, and started drinking pina coladas, and i didn't stop for a week.

for the next 7 days, the boat took me and 50 other passengers, and 15 crew, to various unpeopled ports of call. in between, we saw whales and dolphins. a pod of the bigger whales swam right under our vessle, not 6 yards from my face. i think that some of my fellow fringe-dwellers, the ones who focus their imaginations and spirits on extraterrestrial intelligence, are missing the moon for the finger that points to it. we've already got non-human, earthbound sentient beings (the whales) to learn from.

i read Steinbeck's "Log from the Sea of Cortez", which i recommend to everybody who is reading this and hasn't read that. he caught onto the soul of Taoism, i think, when he and Ricketts came up with the idea of "non-teleological thinking". he also touched on the issue of egalitarian extropians and primitives, though not in that terminology.

Steinbeck said the big horn sheep of Baja are rumored to never drink water. it rains like not at all, and i didn't see a single oasis. there were these cactied landscapes, doing just fine in the bone dry soil. we saw chuckwallas, which are feral iguanas that the former hunter-gathering human inhabitants spread around the bay's islands for meat, and lots of psychoactive plants. i decided not to go crazy with those, but did some investigation.

there was sometin' called the pitaya dulce, whose ethnobotanical history caught my attention. for two months a year, it used to bestow copious tasty fruit to the old tribal humans. there was so much of the dense, watermellon tasting fruit that for its season, people stopped having to worry so much about food and could liesurely travel the peninsula, mixing it up with other tribes and generally getting their mojo on. for these two months, they would save all their shit and dry it out in the sun. when the fruit was gone and they'd gotten off their sugar high, they'd pick through the shit and take the pitaya seeds to grind for gruel.

me and a trio of boys from, would you believe it, Western North Carolina, hung out a fair bunch. we chilled out to funky jazz, and watched a bit o TV on their iPod. this was kind of nostalgic fo me, cuz most of the TV watching i ever did was socially, with whole families of friends. sigh. the stars were hella bright, and i learned to identify the Scorpio constellation. even though the boyz and i would stay up most of the night, (it seemed), and play Spades while drinking and smoking, i managed to peel myself out of bed in time for breakfast.

i also got to practice my Spanish, and played futbol with the crew. i realized that i want to end up somewhere where i don't speak English to my neighbors and some of my friends. the constraints of language as a communication tool are loosened if you're multilingual, ya know?

getting back was complicated, (i had to go on standby, and hitchhike, quite unexpectedly). and i got culture shock. i didn't expect it, after only a week, but i guess mainstream american culture is just that shocking. it's good but strange to be home.

3 comments:

Hakim Baker said...

Yes, mainstream American culture is just that shocking!

Hakim Baker said...

and Steinbeck sounds very interesting. Haven't heard of that one.

werebrock said...

of mice and men, yo? you gotta check this dawg out