Okay, it’s not really a whale’s butt per se, but its back. One of the highlights of our trip was a whale-watching tour with open-air expeditions. While others piled into their commercial boats with blasting music, we got into this tiny rubber boat (the pics on the company’s website make it look bigger than it is). But let me tell you, it could get fast and it could get close to the whales in the bay. For the last hour of the tour, we followed a group consisting of a calf, it’s mother, three males jockeying for position, and a dolphin that was — apparently — just looking to have a good time. At one point the calf started following the boat and the group actually swam around and under us. It was pretty damn cool. Of course, there was this disturbing structural similarity between whale watching and whaling: “hey! look! there’s one over there! let’s go get it!”
Mexico was great, Puerto Vallarta was great. We stayed for most of the week in this bizarre resort area (Carrie’s dad’s ex-girlfriend got us an amazing deal for the week, so we figured this would be a good chance to “try out” the whole resort culture thing). You know, I’d love to say that I’m above all that, but it was really nice. There was a bar serving bad mixed drinks in the pool. You could sit out on the beach, you could sit out by the pool, you could have Mexican food for breakfast (this is the best culinary idea ever — I am seriously having refried beans for breakfast again sometime in the near future). We had a giant room facing the ocean, as this picture of the sunset testifies:
The cable TV was acceptable. Mostly we watched reruns of American stuff, but there’s something I love about the Mexican male announcer’s voice. It’s booming and authoritative but in a totally different way than you’d hear on a Canadian or American network.
It was a bit of a trek into town, but the bus was super cheap and easy to take in. The town itself is overrun with tourists this time of year but still manages to maintain its personality in spite of that. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s just the people and the environment, and the homicidal bus drivers. Of course, there’s tons of shopping and I spent parts of a couple days searching for a guitarron to take back with me. I found one, but it wasn’t in good condition and I was getting the gringo price for it. It’s probably better. I have no idea how I would have gotten the thing home. Carrie had better luck in the hat-and-boots department. And the food was great. Did I mention that the food. . . ? Oh, sorry.
By Monday I was horribly sunburnt on several parts of my body and I had also forgotten I had a job (though I have since mostly healed and remembered the job part).
It turns out my struggle to speak French here has somehow magically helped my Spanish (last used in Barcelona in 2003, since I don’t know a word of Catalan). I even managed a half hour of smalltalk conversation with a cab driver at one point. Of course when I got back and went to the Mache, my French had been seriously damanged. But it’s coming back.
Finally, I recommend that nobody over 5 feet tall consider flying economy class with Air Transat. Oh my god. I’ve never actually been in pain from having my legs jammed up for five hours in an airplane before.
Flush Your Cache
The blog has a new look, but if you’re still seeing the old one, flush the cache on your browser. There will still be a few more changes, but it’s coming along nicely.
I’ve got a very short review of David Harvey’s new book on neoliberalism in this month’s Tikkun. I guess I’m now officially Jewish intelligencia.