Friday, December 30, 2011

Hi friends.

I have spent my Christmas break, NOT being on Christmas break, as it turns out that this is marketing week and I am the only slave in town with everyone else being busy spreading holiday cheer with their families.

It's ok and I'm actually starting not to mind it too much. A couple months ago Nora and I had to go and give a presentation at he Air Force base and I was a coward and made her do all the talking. It's scary! They're all solemn and carrying guns! This week, though, I had to do presentations for the Marines, Navy, and Cozumel police, and I relish my power. Just as everyone has gone through roll call and the drums have sounded and salutes have been made, I have all these tough bitches at full attention.


The first one I went to was the Marines. Evidently Matthew is good friends with the Comandante "although I don't remember his name." When we got there Matthew was asking all sorts of inappropriate questions like "all you military guys are corrupt, right?" And "how many narcos have you killed." He was even sensitive enough to offer up his services as spy. "I'm telling you man, any time you need a gringo to go in undercover, I'll do it. I'll be like, hey man, I want 50 kgs of cocaine, and then you guys can come in and shoot him. Do I get to carry a gun?"

The thing that was most worrisome for me is that this "friend," Comandante Miravete, sort of was, like, engaging with the conversation. There were a few times where I felt like a couples therapist: "Miravete, I think what he's trying to say is he respects your service to the country. Matthew, I think what he's trying to say is.. well it's not so much words as a look of bewilderment, but you probably ought to just leave it be."

Then Miravete walked over to the corner of the room and picked up a duffel bag. "Let me explain to you what is the problem in Mexico. This is the problem in Mexico," he unzips the bag and idly sorts through the plastic baggies within. "This one's cocaine, this one's ecstasy, these are yada yada yada." Is this normal for the military to show this stuff to their guests? Avert your eyes, avert your eyes, I know nothing.

A few minutes later the Marine guys all lined up and I gave my little speech about the school. Miravete follows me up by pointing out that "In places like Campeche, for example, it's not so important, but here in Cozumel it's more important to know English because the gringos are constantly invading us."

Ha hah ha. Right? I laughed at least, assuming it was a joke. Matthew doesn't speak spanish so he of course wasn't in on the humor, but more disturbing, as my laughter slowly and ever so awkwardly tapered off, is that none of the soldiers or Commanders did either. It's a joke, right?

Here's another amusing little anecdote related to marketing. Earlier in the week I went to the Army/Air Force base to see about doing a presentation, and the soldier at the gate asked for my phone number. He was pretty insistent and since I'm dumb I thought maybe it was military protocol or he was saying tomorrow when I come back to call him to get in. Later on I told Mono about it and it turns out, nope, that's not okay, and he needed to know the guy's number to find out who had done it. After work I asked him what had happened and it turns out this guy got arrested and can't leave the base for 15 days straight. And he's married, the dink. Additionally, in order to make arrests in the base they have to have witnesses and proof. This guy had claimed I had asked him for his number. (Puhhh-lease). Anyway Mono called to ask if this was true, but this - and I didn't know it at the time - was a covert operation. Meaning I was on speaker phone providing testimony to the military authorities without being told beforehand. I believe my response was somewhere along the lines of "Hell no I didn't ask for his number! What a little liar!" My contribution to the good of the nation, you're welcome.

Now this story gets worse because today I was sending a message to this woman I'd met at the base that day and whaddyaknow her number's on the same paper that he wrote his and whaddyaknow I accidentally sent it to him. His response indicated that 1.) he's not very happy and 2.) maybe a little bit afraid of me. :)

Last night I went and looked at an apartment and will be moving in the next couple months. Me, Mono, Puticlub, and the seven dogs that I plan to adopt will be living together. And it has a pool! Not really seven dogs, buuut I am going to Humane Cozumel tomorrow to check out the little buggers. I emailed the woman who works there and she asked me what kind I was looking for. These were my specifications:

1. smallish
2. not too hyper
3. okay with other animals
4. cute
5. if not cute then ugly in a cute way

Tomorrow we shall see! I really like the Pomeranian in the picture because it reminds me of a penguin but I'm not expecting to find one of those there.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, foolz. Over here in Mexicolandia Christmas was celebrated last night and I spent it with Mono and Puticlub and the members of their year in the Air Force. I believe this may have been my most cliche Mexican moment ever. Piping out of the laptop were tunes of mariachi. Frightening AYAAYAYYAYAYA! shouts were frequently declared. People occasionally broke into strange little dances that brought leprechauns to mind. Chunks of some meat something were eaten along with tortillas and salsa and spaghetti(?). And to drink was the most sickeningly pink sweet alcoholic thing coming from a 20-liter water dispenser. I tried it when I was in the midst of a bottle of wine and thought it tasted like horchata, and then was ashamed when I tasted it again later and realized in fact it tasted like crushed Tums mixed with watery milk.

The night was really fun, though, despite its awkward moments. Mono had asked earlier in the day if we could practice English and was finally brave enough to do so after a sufficient quantity of the liquified death. He pointed out that every couple at the party was sitting together and the single guys had all formed a group to themselves. He didn't like that it was divided like that so I told him to go talk to them while I go fill up. On booze, to be clear. I stood up and walked a couple steps and turned to mention that if I'm not back in ten minutes it means I need help with the cork. It came at a moment in between songs or something because suddenly it was silent and every person at the rooftop party was staring at me. No one understood when I'd spoken in English, and later Mono told me they'ed asked if I was mad at him or if I wasn't happy at the party or if there was something wrong. I just needed help with the damn cork!

Another stupid moment came when all of a sudden everyone started going around hugging and kissing each other's cheek and saying Feliz Navidad. Apparently this is what they do at 12midnight - like New Years - but I kept saying "Bye! It was nice meeting you!" until someone told me they weren't leaving, they were just saying Merry Christmas. I kept trying to cheek kiss on the wrong side too, a lingering habit left over from Madrid that resulted in some close calls last night.

Classes ended thank god on Thursday until January 2. My last couple days were really nice. On wednesday my 6pm had organized a secret santa, so I got some prezzies. Matthew was his usual rude self and told me next time I couldn't let that happen "because they don't have money to spend on presents." Then the next day my 7pm had a spontaneous pizza party. I walked into the classroom and one of my students was on the phone again. The day before his boss had kept calling him in the middle of their final test, and the third time I grabbed the phone first and told him he needed to call back later because Juan Carlos was taking an exam. He apologized and didn't call back after that.

Anyway on thursday Juan Carlos was talking on the phone but it turned out he was ordering pizzas. Later when they arrived three other students ran out to buy us all bottles of soda and a special individual can of Diet Coke for me. :) Matthew walks in a bit after that and asks who did this, who paid for this, blah. Evidently he wasn't mad because he asked for a slice and then came back into the classroom two minutes later with a bottle of tequila and glasses for all the over-18s. Normal.

Then in my 8 o'clock class Oscar kept staring at me with glassy eyes and an extremely foolish grin on his face, occasionally punctuated by giggles. The day before in class we were working on a grammar concept and he told me one thing he'd like to learn to do is grow marijuana. Um.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I do think my downstairs neighbors are sweet little muffins, but they're annoying as shit sometimes. In the past 28 minutes they've knocked on my door five separate times even though I've told them - sternly - that they need to leave me alone because: Knock 1.) I'm tired and I need to rest, Knock 2.) I have to work, 3.) I have to work, 4.) I have to work, 5.) I have to kill myself if you don't leave me the hell alone. I feel rather guilty about about this since in those five knocks they have delivered my Christmas presents: Knock 1.) a green plastic duck, Knock 2.) a purple Hotwheels car (which incidentally had been among their Christmas presents given to them by Mono two days prior), 3.) a Hotwheels army tank (regift) and a green plastic wall sticker thing, 4.) a yellow Hotwheels (regift), 5.) three additional Hotwheels and a warning from me that I loved it all but fortheloveofgod do not knock again.

Oh my god, they're knocking as we speak, is this real life?

A bronze convertible Hotwheels with sand stuck to the windshield and a wompy front right wheel.

And now knock number seven. Max steel, that hunk you see at the top left. Also a regift and one that Angel has been talking about longingly for the last several weeks. I just texted Mono and I think his feelings are hurt.