In a busy street in southern China, a merchant treasures a product as extravagant as clandestine: dissected bladders of totoaba. The frenzy over this delicacy, known as ‘cocaine de mar’, threatens marine species of the Mexican Gulf of California, sparking a feverish battle between authorities and traffickers. The ‘sea cocaine’ is not a drug but its
One year ago, we jetted down to the western tip of Baja California, Mexico so tugboat man could surf a giant winter swell.
This is where I was presented with the gift that kept on giving: XOXO From Mexico and went batshit crazy when a stupid girl put the moves on my hub. HERE: Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband Part One and HERE: Part Two: Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband
(Because I was so traumatized, I have yet to write about our encounter with Machete Man…THAT was one of the scariest episodes of
our my lives.)
Before I became too sick to move more than a foot from the toilet (TMI?) we took a day off from surfing (him, not me) and drove to Todos Santos, home of the famous Eagles’ album cover featuring Hotel California.
As we drove out of Todos Santos, we got lost, which was something we had been doing on a regular basis. Street signs that make sense must be a precious commodity south of the border, because we had a tough time navigating. If you venture off the paved road for just one second, you enter potholed dirt paths that have no end and twist and wind their way to what I was certain would be our deaths.
This time, however, it was fortuitous, because we saw a sign leading us to the Sea Turtle Sanctuary.
Tortugueros Las Playitas A.C.
Environmental Conservation with Sea Turtle Focus
From their website:
“Our mission is to protect, conserve and replenish the fragile marine eco-systems of Baja California Sur, Mexico. In addition to our Sea Turtle population recovery program we place special interest on Habitat Protection, Environmental Education and Community Outreach in Todos Santos, Las Playitas and Agua Blanca.
One of our goals is help restore the Critically Endangered Pacific Leatherback population which is on the verge of extinction. Our Incubation Greenhouse stabilizes sand temperatures creating an ideal nest habitat, where hatch rates are maximized and gender ratios are balanced. We invite you to join us as a volunteer, event participant or sponsor and help balance the fragile marine eco systems of Baja.”
All the darling little turtle eggs were covered in palm fronds. It was as hot as a Bikram yoga class in the plastic covered hut. Babies!Squeeeeee! More babies! We weren’t able to stay until sundown to observe their release and watch them march toward their destiny. Hopefully, they all made it safely down to the sea and out in the world for long and happy lives. And then back we walked. Not one single seashell. NOT ONE.
How to get there:
There’s another side of California that you might not know about.
Sandwiched between the manicured lawns of upper middle-class residential subdivisions in SoCal, there’s a microcosm of humanity living in the shadows — migrant laborers from Mexico in makeshift camps.
In my own neighborhood, just minutes from the beach and overlooking chaparral-studded canyons, hidden behind purple sage and giant coyote bushes, we recently went for a hike and found evidence that suggests there are still active encampments.
Mostly these men are invisible, ignored by us as we speed up and down our streets, shopping, caring for our families, and only sometimes do we notice these shadow people standing on the roadside waiting to be picked up for day work or at the local liquor store buying twelve packs of beer and money orders.
Like the crows that fly in and out of our trees in a raucous cacophony, there’s an exodus out of the canyons at dawn and back at sunset.
Whatever side of the undocumented worker discussion you’re on, it’s a blight on our supposedly civilized society that in 2015, in this country of overabundance and excess, men and women live in the bushes without benefit of safe shelter or even running water.
When you scratch off the thin veneer of Pilates classes, weekly mani-pedis and facials, that fifty dollar bottle of pinot noir, and glance beyond Anthropologie and Sur la Table, in the hills behind The Forum, and probably most of the other open spaces that are clinging to life — that’s where you’ll find them.
It doesn’t seem quite fair for us to have so much while others are living in squalid conditions.
It’s sad, don’t you agree?
We especially liked the misspelling. There’s a certain poignancy.
There were several white rags hanging from trees along a certain path; we assumed it was to mark the way when it was dark.I think this is a creek, or it could be runoff from all of the developments.
Hard to see the turkey vulture among the clouds.
Do you know who and what lives beneath the surface in your neighborhood?
THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS
“I’m talking to YOU!”
Single girls, PLEASE stay away from married men.
Specifically, MY man.
Do you unnerstand?
There are OTHER fish in the sea.
Those are YOURS.
This tugboat man is MINE.
It happened AGAIN.
However, THIS time hub demonstrated that he’d learned his lesson from the previous incident and didn’t even TRY to tell me I was overreacting.
Remember when we were in Mexico?
And that’s why he’s still breathing and walking around with all his teeth.
Here’s how it happened:
Ya know how I posted My Husband Suffers From Performance Anxiety?
Well, that wasn’t the WHOLE story.
Yes, there were big waves which eluded hub’s expertise – his timing was off, whatev.
I waited ’til he came in for a break so I could walk up to the bathroom.
I didn’t want to leave my camera bag and and all on our blanket, but a girl’s gotta pee, ya know?
I was only gone less than 10 minutes; honest.
Y’all don’t know what my tugboat man looks like, and although he’s beautiful to ME, he’s NO Brad Pitt or Chace Crawford or Ed Westwick (obscure Gossip Girl references). Or even Laird Hamilton, his nemesis. He’s getting better looking as he ages, I must say — like he came with me to a doctor’s appointment and the ladies in the office whispered to me, “He’s gorgeous” — I dunno, it’s hateful the way some guys look BETTER as they get a few wrinkles and gray hair — and we women don’t get similar responses. Oh well, another topic, another post, another day.
Back to the beach…
He’s not even sending off vibes – trust me — he and I are TIGHT.
We’ve been a team for more than twenty years – and no one could tear us apart (INXS reference.)
So, as I’m walking back from the bathroom, I notice that — wait, let me back up and explain that the beach in this particular area is for surfing only and it’s not crowded with families — in fact it wasn’t crowded at all at 10:00 a.m.– there weren’t all that many people there, so it’s not like there was no other place to be…and I see this stupid girl with stupid blonde hair in a stupid teeny weeny bikini plunk her chair down RIGHT next to him – I mean only about two feet away from where my tugboat man was sitting.
And there was no reason at all for it.
And then she swished her stupid blonde hair back and forth just to make sure everyone (and by everyone, I mean tugboat man) noticed her arrival.
She adjusted her stupid bikini top and bottom a few times — unnecessarily, I might add — again OBVIOUSLY to garner the attention of my tugboat man.
For fuck’s sake, girl, could you be a little LESS obvious?
My ire was up.
As I made my way down the steps and across the burning hot sands of the Sahara, I assessed the situation.
Beneift of the doubt?
I DON’T F****ING THINK SO.
I announced my approach by throwing my sandals in her general direction — wanting with all my heart to hit her in her vacant, vapid, empty head — but I curbed that violent impulse and tossed them THIS close (hold up thumb and finger to approximately three inches apart and that’s how close) to hitting her in her left leg, which was a classy move ‘cos it kinda sorta made sand fly, which caused her to look up and see ME.
You should have seen the look on her face.
She had NO idea my tugboat man was not alone.
She was BUSTED.
Stupid girl; she had failed to observe the signals that he was not alone (like his wedding ring) or the girly-type chair.
I picked up my towel and proceeded to shake the sand off of it (yes, in her direction) and sat back down squeezing myself between my tugboat man and this clueless female (hub is looking at me with glee and admiration and even a bit of lust in his eyes — if I may say).
We chatted a bit about his surfing debacle and what he’d like for dinner (always a topic hub loves to engage in) and then, guess what?
Stupid bikini girl picked up her towel and chair and flounced OFF.
Not just to another spot on the beach but up the steps and away!
I looked at him. He looked at me.
I said, “Did that REALLY just happen?”
Hub gave me a high five for my restraint in not hitting her in the head.
He gets it now, he really does…what I mean to say is that he understands now, he comprehends what I’ve been telling him about the predatory female and that I possess the ability to perceive them — to sniff them out, you might say.
I don’t know what it is about my husband that draws females to him.
In general, he doesn’t really even like women — he’s like those people that don’t really like cats but they’re the ones cats jump on and gravitate towards.
Maybe that’s the secret to his appeal; a little disdain. What.Ever.
That’s the story; it made us snicker, ‘cos one of the secrets to our successful marriage is our feeling that we’re a team and we share a passion about absolute and total honesty coupled with the ability to laugh at ourselves.
P.S. And also because Princess Rosebud can go batshit crazy at any moment and her tugboat man knows it.
Now that I’m not so tethered to the toilet (TMI?) I can focus on the second part of my two-part story, “Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband”.
I’ve done some research, which is what you’d expect from a former sorta wanna-be investigative journalist who (eons ago) used to work at a local TV station.
Simply stated, some chicks have a thing for a guy with a ring.
As for me and hub, we’re still solid here, he just needed a little reinforcement training – a refresher course, you might say — about how to spot predators and how to avoid them.
Here’s the thing.
When I saw them standing on the beach, I had a tremendously powerful visceral reaction — he was pointing to a wave while she was leaning in his direction, acting for all the world that he was showing her a treasure full of the world’s riches.
Can I be honest with you?
I mostly super hated her for being cellulite-free and having great legs, which I do NOT.
There, I said it.
Since I’m purging every other thing in my body at this point, I might as well vomit that secret up, too.
No babies, no stretch marks, and the bee-yotch was standing there all tanned and tawny blonde hanging on every word MY husband is saying?
She ALMOST was close enough to touch his arm. MY ARM, if you know what I’m sayin’.
OH NO she dint.
I can’t explain how I went from being all happy and mellow and digging the laid back beachy kind of ambiance to RAGING LUNATIC, but there you have it.
Oh so Jekyll and Hyde-ish…
I walked due south, spread my towel, and sat down, truly as I said in Part One, smoke was pouring out of every orifice.
Hub FINALLY scanned the beach, noticed me, picked up his board, and walked over to where I was and said, “What’s up? Did you see that wave I caught? It went on forever.”
(That girl didn’t follow, by the way. She walked down to a group of single guys and was chatting with them. I THINK she picked up on the arrows and hate vibes I was spewing.)
“Did you hear me? How long have you been here? Were you able to video it?”
Then… Me…“Don’t you know what that girl is trying to do?” “She’s putting out all kinds of feelers, trying to make a connection, looking for a surf buddy — or more. Like somebody else’s husband.”
This is where the tugboat man went off course (nautical term supplied by said tugboat man although he has no idea why I wanted to know that.)
HE DEFENDED HER. He F-ING DEFENDED HER.
You’re thinking to yourself, oh NO, he DINT. But he did.
He said, “Don’t be ridiculous.”
(Now the smoke ignited and there were actual flames coming out of me.)
“She’s here all alone and just wants to talk about surfing. She doesn’t even have a car, poor dumb kid.”
Are you KIDDING me?
IMPORTANT POINT: Hey, guys who might be reading this, or spouses and girlfriends might want to print this post and leave it out where your significant other might find it, like let’s say—in the bathroom, here’s the scoop. Sometimes good guys are very innocent, naïve, trusting even. They don’t get that SOME women have ulterior motives and things are not exactly as they seem. I’m not even saying that my tugboat man is not to be trusted, that he’s ever given me a moment of worry ‘cos I don’t play that game. That would be a deal breaker if I couldn’t trust a man 1000%, especially a guy who travels for a living. Plus, we have this total honesty type of relationship – we have from the very beginning; it’s one of the tenents of our relationship.
I was never worried about him.
I was listening to my gut and very suspicious of this chick, and what’s more telling? I NEVER get that vibe unless there’s something to be wary of. Women, listen to your instincts. They will never lead you astray. (Although, later on in the week, my gut was saying all kinds of OTHER things, ha ha.)
So, my tugboat man and I had a little “discussion” about that very fact right there on the beach.
Yes, my friends, the crazy came out.
The crazy was set free, you might say.
The more he defended her by saying things like:
- She’s not interested in me.
- She knows we’re married and celebrating our 20th.
- No girl wants a married man.
- I’m too old for her, she’s our son’s age.
The more that kind of CRAP came out of his mouth, the more crazed I became.
Of COURSE she was looking to hook up with a guy who had enough money to fly down to Mexico with his surfboard and stay at a resort.
OF COURSE some girls like married men because they are tried and true proven goods.
I mean, if another woman stuck around for twenty years, there must be some value there, right?
Even IF she only wanted a surf buddy or someone to drive her around ‘cos she was too stupid to rent a car out in the middle of nowhere which meant she was stuck unless she could bum a ride from someone, EVEN IF ALL THAT, it was not appropriate for her to choose my husband to hang around.
What made me even more crazy was when he said that I was OVER-REACTING.
Guys, guys, guys, I’m going to give you some really important advice here: Don’t EVER EVER EVER say that to your woman. EVER. Not EVER.
If you want def con level mushroom clouds of nuclear cray to be rained down on your head for a LONG time, go ahead, but please for the love of god, listen to me.
It just MIGHT save your life.
Finally, what stuck in his thick head was when I said that the more he defended HER, the more it seemed that HER feelings were more important than MINE and there was something skewed in that, don’t you agree? I’m his wife, the person he’s supposed to love and cherish more than anything in the world, and for whatever reason, this whole scenario was upsetting me, and THAT should take center stage.
If the situation were reversed, I would care more about HIS feelings than that of anyone in the whole world.
In fact, a long time ago, we had a mutual friend, an attorney, who started emailing me innocent stuff, jokes, lawyer stuff (my dad was an attorney so I can talk the talk) and then he started asking me advice about his personal life and I was spending quite a bit of time online with him. Hub told me it bothered him; I thought about it, saw it from HIS point of view, and EVEN THOUGH it was all innocent on my end, hub’s feelings meant more to me than anything, and I stopped the “relationship”. It was simple, and that’s the behavior model I reminded him about.
As it turned out, that stupid bitch found other men to bum rides from and hang out with – at other surf spots like Perditos up the road that had smaller waves, and the rest of our stay at Villas de Cerritos was predator-free. However, some damage was done.
This episode messed up what was otherwise a wonderful little holiday south of the border. My tugboat man and I are almost always on the same page; we like to believe we’re a “team”, and this had us on opposite sides of the universe for a time.
He couldn’t believe I went ballistic and couldn’t have quietly discussed my feelings, and I have NO explanation for my intense reaction, but we got past it, and now we’re even laughing about it, so no lasting harm was done.
In fact, on our last day there, she was eating alone in the restaurant near the pool where I was trying to catch the intermittent wifi signal, and I said hello to her, but with a definite coolness. I’ll be polite but UP TO A POINT, if you know what I mean.
But…I can guaran-damn-tee you that it will NEVER happen again.
Here’s my tips to females travelling solo:
First of all, kudos to you for being brave enough and empowered enough to travel alone. I could not do it. It’s not that I don’t like to be by myself, but I could never go it solo. Maybe in a group tour or something, but not totally on my own. More power to you if you can. BUT, when you do end up at your destination, try befriending the wife/girlfriend. Do NOT ignore the wife and converse solely about stuff that you and her hub/boyfriend might have in common, such as surfing. In other words, buddy up to the female first, win her over, before you mow her down to get to her man. Get it? HER MAN, not YOUR MAN. Most couples who vacation together actually enjoy being together and are spending time alone to do just that. BE TOGETHER ALONE. We are not interested in a third party hovering around, bumming rides, that kind of thing.
The takeaway for my tugboat man (and for ALL MEN) is to be ever vigilant and even a little suspicious of single women hovering around. DON’T be clueless. DON’T forget who is most important, who you sleep with, who makes your food and has the ability to add or NOT add rat poison, and who you’ve invested many years in as well as a few Chanels. (Of course, that last tip was specifically directed to my own hub.)
FINAL Conclusion ‘Cos I Love to Have the Last Word:
Apparently what happened was that the girl had come up to hub when he got off this bomber twelve-foot wave ride and was congratulating him and that’s when I walked up. Nothing more. But I didn’t know that and didn’t give him time. Oopsie. Tee hee. My bad.
So, here we are at Villas de Cerritos in our little palapa covered bungalow, having a great time, hablamos un pequito Espanol, and this single girl arrived last night and decided my tugboat man was gonna be her little surf buddy.
She hung around on our patio last night while were were relaxing after dinner, checking Magic Seaweed with my hub and regaling us with tales of how she just broke up with her fiancé BLAH BLAH BLAH.
She looks to be in her thirties, is (was) kinda pretty, longish hair, athletic body as you’d expect for a surfer.
She finally left.
This morning, we got up early, had coffee, and hub went surfing. I can’t upload the pics yet ‘cos of slow and intermittent internet, but there are some photos of twelve foot faces and EPIC conditions.
About half an hour after he left, SHE came by sniffing around, looking for him. I told her he was gone.
Now, honestly, after twenty-plus years, I am not a jealous person; he’s given me no reason to be jealous, but I was picking up on some vibes, and you know what they say about women’s intuition, right?
I had a leisurely second cup of coffee and some fresh figs; straightened up before slathering myself with sunscreen and heading down to the beach.
I had a premonition that she was going to be standing right next to my tugboat man staring at the waves, and guess what?
I was right.
I watched her for a minute, observed her body language, and had to hold myself back from kicking the shit out of her. Literally. For reals. No. REALLY.
I continued toward the beach and took a left so that i was south of where they were standing by about one hundred feet, unrolled my towel and sat down.
Finally, hub scanned the beach and saw me.
I did not.
I did not.
Instead, I called upon every ounce of self control and impulse control in my powers.
Smoke was pouring out of my ears, my nose, any and all orifices were roiling and boiling.
Shit was about to hit the proverbial fan.
More later. Gotta go.