I’ve been folded up and placed in the back seat for our final leg from San Juanico to La Paz, a 6.5 hours. I suppose it’s in retaliation for yesterday’s 150-mile dirt road ride of hell in which I wouldn’t relinquish the wheel.

Although you would think it would be cool to drive along the ocean on a salt flat, we didn’t have that experience. There’s no road to speak of and the sand is a foot deep in many places. We had the four-wheel drive locked in the entire way. At one point we came to a small fishing village seemingly right out of a Steinbeck novel. The difference though were the hundreds of plastic bags strewn in the brush fluttering like a giant FU to Mother Nature. Fishing village? The irony.

Also in this village were bags of oysters along the road piled six feet high. A mystery. Were they bad oysters? Were they drying them out for some weird Japanese sexual fetish market? “Sundried oyster meat make you strong like bull.” Meanwhile a few fishermen were hacking away at a truckload of scallops the size of catcher’s mitts. We asked them for directions. One of them laughed, rolled his eyes, spat on the ground and muttered some epithet of endearment, I’m sure. They pointed in a large U-shaped motion which translated to,  “Dumbass. You’re so f…ked. You need to go back 10 miles and take that second cactus on the right. If you see a bleached cow carcass, you’ve gone too far.”

At this point I remember the usually wonderful advice a bi-lingual friend of mine told me. “If you ever get in trouble just use these four words, chupa mi vegra Bendejo.” I don’t know what that means but I’m sure it’s something like, “Brother, being a fellow member in this family of man,  I am in need of some assistance. Would you kindly help this weary traveller in anyway you are able? Didn’t need to use that little nugget here at Santo Meurto de Fishencino. I figure it’s like a lifeline, last ditch effort of survival.

And after all t"You're next, Gringo," says the nice gentleman after we asked for directions.hat, we arrive in San Juanico. We find three bungalow rooms for pretty cheap and mine is only missing toilet paper, a shower head, electrical outlets, water pressure. No problem. After a few tequilas and beer at the El Burro I slide between the blood-stained sheets and disappear till morning where I pray to the almighty Santo de Garcia Vega y Modelo el Negro y Vegra Cabesa del Playa Mango to please don’t let me see Ted naked today.

Today, ‘ol Deathwish Hawkins is driving. He’s never met a pothole he didn’t like. Apparently when you hit them at 60mph it’s much better than going around them. And, that poor goat, sideswiped and raw on the right side.

Yesterday while at a brief piss stop Ted said to me, “I just knew when I met you 15 years ago  you were the kind of guy I could piss in the desert with.” Today I’m afraid he’s going to say, “I just knew when I met you 15 years ago that you were the kind of guy I could drive 100mph straight into a pool-sized sink hole and die with.”

Speaking of Señor Theo, he is in his element. Other than the intermittent (every 30 seconds) sonar pings coming from his cell phone he is happier than a chihuahua scratching his nuts on a spikeless segura cactus, just enough friction to get the job done but with a little aloe to cool the burn.

The sonar pings? I thought you’d never ask. Apparently Señor Theo has a new girlfriend back home. As with any new relationship, I hope you’ll agree, the first few weeks are communication crucial. It’s where you learn about each other. It’s where you basically flop out the curriculum vitae of your life. Imagine being on that side of the 1600-mile conversation. There’s lots of puppy-love talk. The only thing that would top this off would be if he had found the Donovan’s Greatest Hits cd. Señor Theo, you’re a true Hurdy Gurdy Man. Actually, for all we know there’s nobody on the other end of that phone line. It could just his way of avoiding us. Smart play, Señor.

Next stop, La Paz.

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