CONTINUED FROM THE TOOL NEWSLETTER, MAY 2007 e.v.
[…A few kilometers further up the road soldiers brandishing machine guns stop us. As a couple of them approach the car, I pick up my copy of the Grimoire of Pope Honorius III and turn to a page with an enchantment against firearms: To make a gun misfire, say the following words: “Abla, Got, Bata, Bata, Bleu… Now I wish I had purchased the bottle of Holy Water back at the town with the dogs with the mange, scabs and rot. And I believe I saw another spell to avoid an interrogation. It’s either that or maybe give them the CD with the Mexican pop artist. Damn those Tool enthusiasts with all their nasty e-mails saying they won’t rest until the curse is formally removed. What, is rodeo season over already! I still haven’t tried a mysterious salty hamburguesa. Astral Kat suddenly appears with a traveler (margarita): “Looks like a cliffhanger, ay?”]
A couple of the soldiers peer into our car and then with deadpan expressions gesture that we turistas are free to continue on to their soon-to-be newest 7 Wonders of the World (beating out the Sydney Opera House I predict to Kat in the plano astral) where something FAR… FAR… FAR more menacing awaits us. Closing the dreaded grimoire, I suddenly realize that the most likely explanation for the soldiers’ presence is that we are now crossing from Quintana Roo into the Mexican state of Yucatan. The corpse in the brush alongside the road was probably just a coincidence if, in fact, it wasn’t a Semana Santa/Pascua hunt involving a farmer who fed crayons to his chickens. Either way, this is all good, as I certainly don’t want my research of the behavior patters of leaf-cutter ants to go to waste (the book being much better than the four-minute movie). Smiling at the armed soldiers, we denizens of Arguelles’ technosphere proceed with less than transdimensional travel down the sun-dappled road towards the ruins of the famous Mayan temple city of Chichen Itza.
ZONA ARQUEOLOGICA CHICHEN ITZA
Parking our poor ponies under a shady tree, we are anxious to check out the elaborate temple city of the feathered solar decoders. Although we have come to marvel over the spectacular feats of ancient engineering, before we can get to a single piece of rubble, not to mention any confusing occult cartoons or other revelatory puzzles codified in stone, we, of course, are accosted by shimmering hordes of souvenir peddlers – those prisoners of the terrestrial envelope with their own brand of harmonic calibrations. “What the hell happened to the Thirteen Heavens” I wonder as Danny and I purchase for “almost free!” a couple of low grade tee shirts colorfully emblazoned with all kinds of astronomical witchery and the promise of transcendent realms.
I understand that these persistent fellows are here at the behest of the Mayan avatars of a galactic federation, and at first their ornamental trifles are somewhat amusing, but after so much of the exact same crap being pushed on us for “almost free!”, one can’t help but wonder if the hawker bio-circuitry isn’t receiving a garbled dispatch from the stellar core (Hunab Ku?), making any cosmic/geological catastrophe such as the 2012 end date/transition not too damn terrifying. “Alright, one more ceramic jaguar… wait, make that a heart-devouring eagle, and then let’s get on with resonant attunement, shall we?… Shit, had I known that Taj Mahal wasn’t just a pretty good premium Lager, I would have taken my business there!”
After paying the nominal entrance fee, amid the shrill birdcall and steamy jungle cacophony (kind of-sort of), we go directly to what is considered by many to be the greatest of all Mayan Temples. This is the imposing, much photographed pyramid-calendar known as El Castillo, with its steep staircases now roped off I suppose to prevent any further calamities at the jewel-encrusted altar of its terraced platforms by enlightened wizard kings or richly-feathered sorcerers, but mostly to keep the gringos down on the well-kept grounds by those laden with “almost free!” wooden knick-knacks. Making my way to the North staircase where at times a natural phenomenon of sunlight and shadow project the illusion of an enormous undulating serpent, I tell myself that I must come back on some completely overcast Vernal (spring) Equinox (yep, due to the peddler swarm). After examining this further example of Mayan astronomical prowess, next, it’s on to The Plaza of a Thousand Pillars. One… Two… Three… (a lacuna)… Nine hundred and ninety-eight… Nine hundred and ninety-nine… One thousand … some with faded painted carvings and oodles of mystical doodles.
The Temple of Warriors lies ahead, but it’s now getting very hot and humid, and even with all these galleries and colonnades a certain girl from Texas tells me that she is getting tired and would like to rest. A leisurely stroll to the edge of the Great Cenote (Sacred Well of Sacrifice) ought to cheer her up I would imagine. As we approach the brink of the large circular limestone sinkhole where beautiful maidens were once cast into the slimy water by cruel priests to propitiate the angry gods, I see that Adam, Camella, and Kevin Willis are also peering down at it. The inscription on the plaque of the sacrificial well mentions that numerous artifacts including obsidian knives, copal, gold, and bowls of jadeite were once recovered from its Stygian darkness, but barely touches on the fact that among these offerings were lots of human bones, mostly of young maidens. What an enigma the Maya were, I think to myself, what with all the frozen mathematics of their gleaming metropolis, these mediators of the sun… these diviners of harmony had somehow mistook the reflections of those standing above the cenote (i.e. themselves!) as being those people, priests, and gods who inhabited its murky green depths… those whom they were attempting to appease via offerings of treasure and human lives. Perhaps there is something more to the story of the terrible cenote, something that escaped the reports of de Landa and the others. Again, perhaps one needs an esoteric interpretation of the complex pageantry and macabre scenography involving the Mayas’ ritual murder and Xibalban deities to fully understand the gruesome legends.
But this will have to wait as some of us are hot and tired and want to seek refuge in the closest cafeteria. Recalling the popular song by “The Pussycat Dolls”, I begin to sing to a low voice “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was stuck in a cenote…” And speaking of the galactic beam, they’re back. Droves of hawkers with the exact same things for “almost free!” To these eager providers of mosaic jaguar masks and miniature walls of skulls (tzompantli), I explain that I would be happy to negotiate for a tee shirt with the unicode for the ‘NO’ symbol involving a bottle of mescal (with worm). I attempt to describe this – in my eye, the greatest of all tourist goods: “A bottle of mescal (with worm) with a diagonal line through it… A bottle of mescal (with worm) displayed in a circle with a red slash across it…” but all to no avail. Again, the mosaic jaguar mask is pushed on me for “almost free!” even though I know that they’re now going to go and manufacture that tee shirt.
Glancing up at the scorching sun, I’m tempted to sing that it’s a beautiful day for a ballgame. I’d sure like to have a look at that masonry ball court (the largest in Mesoamerica) before we succumb to the harmonic calibrations of a microwave oven in the cafeteria, but even Kevin Willis is now complaining about the f***ing heat! Still, Adam, Camella, Danny, Rynne, Jose, Nick, Willis, Matt, and I head towards the vertical walls with their stone rings where hundreds of spectators once passionately enjoyed a sport that is believed to have many similarities with today’s game of basketball (if so, I’ll bet a cup of the watered-down balche was damn expensive!). Looking around the court, I try to imagine what it might have been like all those centuries ago: To the sound of cheers and conch shell trumpets, Mayan kings in all their marine-shell finery (yes, there were even luxury boxes for the elite and Jack Nicholson types) wash spicy green peanuts down with an intoxicating beverage as the players attempt to knock a solid rubber ball through the scoring rings with their heavily-padded hips and forearms. And of course there must have been bad officiating… and gambling.
While taking some photos of Danny pretending to ‘posterize’ an opponent (with recently torn bicep and all!), due to the structure’s mysterious acoustics, I very clearly perceive a faint voice with numerous echoes (nine, I believe I counted). The voice of this still unexplained sound-reflection is not coming from the ghost of some ornately-feathered Mayan king… nor is it the whisper from the spirit of a skilled Pok-a-Tok player. It doesn’t even emanate (remarkably enough) from a souvenir peddler hawking his wares. It is from someone who is hot and tired, and wants to rest for a bit in the cafeteria. However, before leaving, we search for the bas-reliefs of the losing players (some suggest, rather, the captain of the victors) being decapitated. But what if the scholars and aficionados of Maya culture have it all wrong? Suppose that the elaborate rituals that accompanied the matches (including a ritual beheading) involved a luminous violet-tinged alchemical substance that was associated with the true ‘galactic’ sojourners – an endogenous tryptamine, perhaps, the potency of which a beating heart was detrimental to. How’s that for a crackpot notion?
Danny and Rynne are checking out the domelike astronomical observatory (El Caracol) used by those Maya Priests who were versed in the night script. This is the misshapen structure made famous by von Daniken’s ancient astronaut books, and something that I definitely want to see. Meanwhile we’re having nuked pepperoni pizza, hamburgers and Cokes in the cafeteria. Danny is making Venus observations in the enchanted jungle green and I might as well be at Buzzy’s Pizza circus in Victorville. Sinister Xibalbans! My mood changes, however, when a rested LaraLee tells me that Adam appeared to be amazed by the attention to detail while examining the diorama of Chichen Itza in its museum. There, among the sprawling grounds, was a realistic depiction of the fossilized remains of a winged creature nearly as large as some of the more impressive structures on the site. This monstrous thing turned out to be the one they call mariposa nocturna , an ordinary moth that managed to get trapped inside the diorama where it was now in the latter stages of decomposition – something that Adam (and LaraLee) knew damn well. Nevertheless, it was a nice try on his part, and I get a good laugh out of it.
I leave Chichen Itza having seen many wonderful things – imposing structures whose architecture involved stellar alighnments and fractual calendrics, an eerie cenote of dark legends, and masonry ball court with its enigmatic carvings of ancient pageantry. There were feathered serpent columns, terrifying stone visages, and mosaic jaguar masks, even a pretty good mysterious salty hamburguesa. About the only thing that I didn’t see was the parade of leaf-cutter ants, although as we walk towards the parking lot, I witness something even better. This was numerous pieces of flowers magically ‘floating’ down from a ceiba tree onto the verdant jungle floor. Strange!
Reaching Tulum, there is still enough sunlight left to hit the palapa bar on Camella’s favorite beach. In that there’s more to life than examining the glyphs encoded by the Tollanauts on intricately carved stelae, shots of tequila and a round or two of Modelos are ordered. After this much needed ritual, before heading back to the Casa Iguana, we stop at Mezzanine, a boutique hotel/Thai fusion restaurant on the beach near the cliff-top ruins. With items on the menu like duck with spicy tangerine sauce and chipolte-red chicken breast, we order enough to share, even though Jose and Nick are “starving” (not to mention Danny-longlegs). Although the restaurant is modern and clean, the one thing I find strange among the stylish ambience are the signs in the bathroom pleading with its patrons not to flush any tissue in the toilet, but, instead, to place it in a small trash receptacle (so much for Arguelles’ technosphere). And speaking of signs, another one lets us know that cigar smokers are welcome. Woohoo! The only problem is that we don’t have any, and finding one on the Mayan Riviera at this hour on a Sunday night proves to be extremely difficult. I say this because, following our meal, Danny, Jose, and I embark on a quest that takes us to nearly every beachside resort on the way back to Akumal where at times we come close... but no cigar.
CASA IGUANA, AKUMAL
Probably having should have known what lobster tail flamed with almond tequila leads to, the oceanfront villa is rockin’ the way its owners always dreamt it would be. Seated around the pool in Adirondack chairs, we make the most from our provisions purchased from the motorized hippie woman at the “Super Chomak.” But while the more responsible of us are chasing shots of what has been described as “Mexico’s only legal immigrant” with less than “Superior” beer, film and video artists Adam, Kevin and Matt are amassing tons of stock footage of some phosphorescent insects that the entomologist with the silver Patron and beer easily identifies as a bioluminescent diptera (or similar creature). Heck, everybody knows that. Even dead elephants know that. Even the girl that went missing in Aruba knows that… But what’s this! Perhaps having had two too many glasses of Cuban rum mixed with diluted fruit juice, Danny’s girl seems to have soured a bit on the Maya. In fact, she seems positively over the diviners of harmony and mediators of the sun, using some choice words to describe them that any self-respecting Mayanist in a khaki vest and straw hat would find absolutely horrifying. Need I remind her that they gave us basketball, Chicklets, and the zero? And if that wasn’t enough, a calendar that accurately predicts the end of the world as we know it, along with a science of a higher mind utilizing a galactic synchronization beam. Did I mention Chicklets? Methinks this sudden Maya bashing has something to do with the sun. She probably isn’t looking forward to visiting Coba with its MILES of paths between the sprawling ruins in the afternoon heat and humidity. Still, is this any reason to call them_____________________________________________! Well, maybe.
Walking back to my room, as I pass the crumbs of the spilled Pringles, there it is again – that eerie feeling of an unknown presence lurking among the tropical foliage. I think I see something fairly large in the hibiscus and alamana. An iguana perhaps? But as before, the feeling of dread quickly passes, and I climb into bed with Sorror Mystika Dilla. Over the crash of Caribbean surf, and rustling of something in the thatched roof, I hear the drunken laughter of those who are not quite ready to call it a night, until there is only Jose – the last man standing. Presumably hugging a bottle of tequila and beer, I can hear him pacing about, looking for a drinking buddy. Between swigs, in a rather vociferous manner, he calls us all wusses – that blend of wimp and pussy – just for surrendering to inactivity. I’ll bet that faux-blonde chica in the bikini on the beer can looks pretty good to him about now… If he keeps it up much longer, he’ll be barking at the ants…
With the morning comes the news of Jose - in the mysterious language of the Zuvuya - talking on the big white telephone. No mere Technicolor yawn, there are numerous witnesses to what is described as sheer pandemonium in the villa’s bathroom, the barrage of blue agave eruptions unprecedented for this part of the world with, perhaps, an all- hell-let-loose outcry for every gulp of the creature taken. Of course, deglutition as it might have been, while trolling the void, this is blamed by Jose on something that he ate at the Thai-fusion restaurant, just like everyone who blows chunks after a 3-day drinking binge blames it on a couple of midnight Jack-In-The-Box tacos.
Jose shows little interest in having an ice cold Modelo for breakfast at the palapa bar on one of Akumal’s sparkling white sand beaches. I, however, do order one while trying to figure out my best strategy for ordering the chilidog on the menu. The problem is that there’s an all-beef hotdog, a hotdog with cheese, and a chilidog that may or may not be all-beef. When the mostly Spanish-speaking waiter returns, I ask him if I can order an all-beef hotdog with some chili on the side? “Is not possible” he tells me. “Okay, then I’ll just have an all-beef hotdog.” “Do you want chili on it?” he enquires. “Ummm… yes.” Then there’s something on the menu called “Huitlacoche”, with a description that reads: “Considered a delicacy in Mexico. Don’t ask what it is, just try it!” I don’t know why, but for some reason this calls to mind the dead body that we saw alongside the road to Chichen Itza…
Now it’s time to figure out what the plan is for the day. Willis suggests renting a boat to go fishing in the Caribbean, but Jose quickly nixes this. Camella wants us all to go horseback riding to some cavernous cenote. What about chapped thighs, someone asks? While beating his drumsticks on a rubber practice pad (trying to get his bicep back in shape), Danny informs us that Rynne and he are going to explore the ruins at Coba. In that the rest of us already have plans to visit Coba in a couple of days, Adam, Camella, and Matt decide to take a guided tour on horseback to some magical sinkhole. LaraLee and I agree to have a day of leisure – namely staying right here at the palapa bar and drinking. What about chapped thighs, someone asks? Camella suggests that we also go snorkeling because while doing so yesterday she saw a Spotted Eagle Ray, a barracuda, some turtles and eel. Noticing all the ninos wading in the turquoise surf, I can’t help but wonder if she also encountered any butt guppies in this kaleidoscope of marine life? Jose still shows little interest in an ice cold can of Modelo, and upon the arrival of my chilidog looks as if he’s about to de-food again.
When Danny and Rynne return to the Casa Iguana several hours later, Rynne doesn’t seem the least bit frazzled by the heat while walking for what should have been miles of trails connecting the jungle-covered ruins at the archaeological site of Coba. In fact, she seems happy and even invigorated, carrying a couple of bags of groceries from a carniceria in Tulum. Turns out, for about 900 pesos, they hired a bicycle-like conveyance, and had a driver pedal them to the various structures. Ah, human-powered tricycles. Chalk one up for the technosphere. With Willis and I manning the grill, cocktails around the pool, and some night-snorkling, this night at the villa is very similar to the others, except that one of us is now a teetoller.
I wake up early and hike up to the “Super Chomac” to get a hungover girl from Texas a pack of Marlboro lights and can of Dr. Pepper. When I return, I notice that Adam is cranking out some ZZ Top on his boom box, possibly in honor of a girl from Texas. I can’t help but feel a bit sad this morning because LaraLee, Danny and Rynne have to leave later in the afternoon. Still, there’s enough time for one more trip to the beach with its shade palapa and excellent selection of “mas cerveza por favor!” Unfortunately, Danny also has his sights set on the beach, wanting to get in some last minute snorkeling. So the question becomes: Will he make it back to the villa in time to pack his stuff, drive the rental car to the Cancun Airport, return the rental and catch his flight home? This is a concern to me as I’ve arranged for him (and Rynne) to drop off LaraLee at the airport as well, seeing how her flight to Houston leaves around the same time. As the hours go by, nervously smoking cigarette after cigarette by the pool, the girl from Texas becomes convinced that she’s going to miss her plane and be stranded in Cancun. Kevin Willis assures her that it will be close, but that “Danny always makes it… He might drive [with unbridled enthusiasm], but he always makes it.”
About an hour before his plane is scheduled to depart, Danny and Rynne return from the beach. Checking his watch, Dan figures that he has just enough time to shower and pack his things before heading to the airport (which by my best estimate is about an hour away). Twenty minutes later, Danny and Rynne are ready to go, and, saying our goodbyes, LaraLee climbs into the back seat. As they pull away, Willis’ words go through my head: “He always makes it”, and I get white-knuckles thinking about what’s in store for the girl from Texas.
When they’re gone, Willis, Matt and I return to the shade palapa-bar on the beach to fortify ourselves before dinner. Soon those with snorkels arrive, Camella showing us a superb conch shell that she somehow detached from the sea-floor. This calls for shots of Patron all around. Even Jose is back on the horse, only hopefully these aren’t “bungie shots” he’s doing, and after eating a bunch of lasagna Bolognese served in a coconut shell, he won’t be calling Captain Nemo all day tomorrow. But, what’s this!.. When the two brothers spot a couple pretty things lying on a beach towel near the sandy cantina, it’s Matt who quickly introduces himself, returning many pesos later with a full report. Turns out that the sunbathing honeys are German arms dealers on vacation, and that he’s invited them to dinner tonight. Accessing the situation, I tell him that I’ve never had much luck with German arms dealers, and that it’s probably going to be tough to pick up on one, even for a good-looking guy that’s the senior VFX artist for “Aliens vs Predator.” So far there are no text messages on Camella’s Blackberry from LaraLee, so hopefully the pod of dolphins that told me telepathically that she made her flight weren’t just f***ing around. Crumbling an empty can of Modelo, I could go for a bit more languor of the tropics, but I left my Panetelas back at the room. It’s time to trade in this bar stool for a chaise lounge (or hammock) back at the good old Iguana.
LA BUENA VIDA, NORTH AKUMAL
Instead of making a left on the road in front of the Casa Iguana, for whatever reason we decide to go to the right, and walk into a world that we didn’t know existed. This is “Half Moon Bay” (I believe), and “La Buena Vida.” In this case, “the good life” is a beach restaurant with the skeleton of an enormous sea serpent above the bar (whose bones Kevin Willis wants us to believe washed ashore during Hurricane Wilma), bar swings, and tree-house-like lookout perches in which buckets of beer are hoisted up to be consumed while one enjoys the magnificent sunset. The menu looks good as well, so we order some of the ubiquitous lime soup and other Yucatecan specialties, finishing them off with flaming coffee drinks made with anisette liqueur and tequila while waiting for at least one of the beautiful frauleins to show up.
CASA IGUANA, AKUMAL
The bulb in my palapa-roofed bedroom has burned out again. Choking to death on fumes of the Pine-Soled wooden floor, while hunting for a book by the dim beam of my violet mini-Maglight, on the bedspread, wasting the precious hours, I see one of the largest cockroaches that I’ve ever encountered. The girl from Texas would have been terror-stricken. In that the enormous bastard’s not even bio-luminescent, with a hiking boot, I mash it into some kind of horrific crème brulee, and save it for Jose if he calls me a wuss later. So far it’s been all fun and games, but tomorrow some of us will have their work cut out for them. As ‘time tourists’, by activating the hyper-circuitry of the Pacal Votan module and aided by my spirit guide Azotochtli, the little digger of the space-time continuum, it will finally be time to lift the “San Antonio Curse” once and for all.
ZONA ARQUELOGICA COBA
What can I say about Coba? Waterlily-covered lakes in the forests of Quintana Roo. Pyramids, temples, plazas, and ball courts that are for the most part unrestored, with the stone edifices of numerous other mysterious structures still overgrown with jungle. Seated in the back of a human-powered tricycle, I check out the site as scarlet macaw, lizards, and spider monkeys bejewel the lush vegetation. Willis, who once climbed Kilimanjaro in his bathrobe, thinks the bikes are lame, but as the sun climbs higher in the cerulean blue sky he begins to appreciate these comforts of the technosphere. As we are taken to the various ruins, those visitors on foot glare at us with jealous contempt, some uttering unintelligible discord and appearing as if they’re about to collapse from the tropical heat. There are no tamarind margaritas and costumed mariachis here (although I’m sure they’re coming!), and these fatigued souls know it. After we stop to climb the seven levels of “Nohoch Mul”, one of the highest Mayan structures, I, too, feel like I’m about to pass out, and it takes every once of concentration to climb back down the steep staircase without falling. Once in the forest below, however, a bottle of ice-cold water does one wonders.
Next we explore the ominous sloping ball court with carvings depicting Poc-a-Tok players without uniforms. After that, we seek out the chiseled inscriptions of certain stelae lying beneath withering thatched sheds, including one containing the apocalyptic December 21, 2012 A.D. date (even though I am told that Mayan slabs do occasionally show dates beyond the doomsday 2012), looking for a specific harmonic. Eventually we find a deteriorating moss-grown treasure whose complex glyphic text just might record the existence of the esoteric ‘black’ sun of Maya cosmology. But is this really Arguelles’ galactic master-code for DNA shifts or an ancient recipe for fillet of hog-fish?
As do some others, we decide that the crumbling stone column encoded by the enigmatic Tollanauts does describe cosmic conjunctions and evolutionary energies, but even with 5-D planetary consciousness at stake, it’s f***ing hot, and some of us are ready to head back to the turquoise paradise of Tulum. However, Adam bought his guy a Coke, so he and Camella are taken on the grand tour, which includes those dilapidated wonders that our guy said were uninteresting and insignificant. Actually, the 12-year-old Yucatanean driver’s exact words were “ Come, gentlemen, we sit too long on trifles.” Oh, well, with our work done here, we leave Coba with a new sense of wonder and something that we probably should have left undisturbed. (Note: Oddly enough, on the way to Tulum we stop at a roadside shack to purchase some Mayan handicrafts, and astral Kat is there.
Back at our favorite watering hole, once again we are eating the bread of idleness when Camella receives a text message on her Blackberry that changes the cheerful mood. Evidently Danny doesn’t ALWAYS make it. Turns out that he missed his flight, although he was able to catch another a couple of hours later. Not so for LaraLee, who was stranded in Cancun for the night due to the lack of flights going to Houston. It is evident from the tone of the message that she is pissed. Her reply to my earlier text message about seeing the cockroach in the bedroom lets me know in no uncertain terms that her experience (or nightmare as she put it) “was much worse than seeing a cockroach !!!” Reading this, I glance over at Camella and ask if she thinks I should reply with “You didn’t see the size of this cockroach.” She tells me that, given the circumstances, this probably isn’t such a great idea, so I decide not to poke the hornets’ nest with a stick, and hope for the best.
CASA IGUANA, AKUMAL
I walk into the living room where Willis, Jose and Nick are watching a B-movie that shows some ridiculous-looking ants terrorizing an office building. For whatever reason I ask Willis how the ants got so big, and he explains that they ate some Pringles that were spilled in the grass. PRINGLES? Are you shitting me! I think about the new-fangled potato crisps that Jose or someone spilled by my bedroom, and of the assortment of somewhat oversized critters that I’d encountered over the past week. I also think about the feeling of dread that I experienced at times… and suddenly I wonder if there might be something much more formidable lying in wait. Heading back to my room, with my violet mini-Maglight, and some trepidation I turn in for what turns out to be a restless night.
As sure as the fact that the cremated ashes of the inventor of the Pringles can are contained inside a Pringles can, when I awake the next morning and step barefoot outside, there sitting on the doorstep is the object of my worse nightmare. With my disbelieving eyes riveted on it, I freeze on the spot, too temporarily paralyzed with fear to react, or find a weapon. All I can do is stare at it as it sits there, silent and still in the hot morning sun. It looks like a giant wolf-spider… or is it a vinegaroon? This arachniphobe has never seen anything like it. Is it some kind of tropical bugaboo stirred up by hurricane Wilma! My God, what have we done? Even though time machines don’t really just run on plutonium and biofuels, we should have never removed anything from the ruins at Coba. Can somebody tell me that this thing isn’t really here!
Eventually I manage to get Jose’s attention, and point at the monster. “Oh yeah, I saw that earlier” he says nonchalantly and starts to walk away. Moments later, Adam comes over and starts playing with the damn thing, jumping back as it scurries towards him with lightning speed, nearly crawling up his leg and into the colorful swimming trunks were he keeps his balls. In all the commotion, a Mexican gardener wanders over and, seeing the creature, says “Las arenas!”, attempting to explain to Adam in broken English that it is indeed poisonous, and, if bitten, can turn one’s flesh black. With this in mind, soon Adam and Matt carefully gather up the impressive specimen, holding it captive in a cocktail blender where they can digitally film it from every conceivable angle. An hour or so later, when they finally release it back into the wild, I watch with horrified fascination as it moves with lightning-like speed right into the waiting pink mouth of a large iguana that Willis had earlier been feeding leftover grilled fajita steak… The thing’s not so tough, I think, and let out a triumphant laugh. However, the brief feeling of overwhelming peace and tranquility is shattered by terrible news from home…
While packing for our late afternoon flights back to Los Angeles, Camella gets a message that something is wrong with her beloved Great Dane, Diablo. According to those who were taking care of it, his leg is oozing puss from some type of wound, and it’s now getting worse. Having taken it to the emergency room at the animal hospital, the vet thinks that it might be cancer, is planning on doing a biopsy. From the description of the wound, it sounds to me like a Brown Recluse spider bite*. At first Camella doesn’t want to hear this, but it is, after all, better than cancer. Either way, she decides to take an earlier flight with Adam back to Los Angeles.
T.G.I. FRIDAYS, CANCUN AIRPORT
Adam has convinced his wife that Diablo will be all right, and that there’s nothing that she can do until they get back home. With this and other reassurances, her spirit has brightened a bit, and the overall mood is one of sending out positive vibes. Over Cheesy Bacon Cheeseburgers, Adam and Matt proudly show a growing assemblage of bemused Mexican waiters photos of the creature in their cameras’ display screens. (Note: Research later confirmed the thing to be not a spider, but a tailless Mexican scorpion). With dessert comes an announcement of our flight status.
Soon it will be time to leave the Mayan Riviera, and head back home where it will be time to navigate the river of time like those galactic sojourners, the Maya. In this way, armed with a pocket edition of the Grimoire of Pope Honorius III, and its very effective counter-spells not to be performed by the fearful, we might just be able to remove a curse that occurred in San Antonio’s Freeman Coliseum on November 12, 2002 after a fire in the band’s dressing room prompted venue officials to require the guys to pay several thousand dollars in damages.
* I was right with my diagnosis. Diablo had been bit by a Brown Recluse spider – the first time their vet had seen a case in over twenty years of practice. Treated with antibiotics, steroids, and love, the wound eventually healed and “boy” can still sometimes be seen with sister “Tesla” around happy hour at the “Fox & Hounds” pub in Studio City.