I smell death...everywhere

The title of this little post is a live quote taken from one of the most enjoyable trips I’ve ever had.  We were talking about ninjas and samurais, and this on the only night we didn’t consume enough alcohol to get a horse drunk.

Reading someone’s material for about two years, as I have LatinD’s (David), you start to imagine what said person is like in "real life".  Before our trip my assumptions of David were these:  rich, kinda’ nerdy, smart, patriotic, city boy, speaks English, liberal, and a complainer among other things.  No text could have prepared me for the real David. 

Some of my notions were confirmed (he speaks English, mostly) and some were shattered (a complainer he is far from).  But above any single charecteristic I was left with this: David is all kinds of awesomeness and I hope he lives a thousand years so he might people the earth with many of his offspring. 

Day 1

Quickly, David and I were not the only ones part of this trip; LD’s California experience.  A few of my friends joined us along the way but the only other main stay was my great friend Jon Jordan who, David thought, has a super hero name.  Without going into much detail about Jon just know that he has a lazy eye, thinks he is way taller than he is and his life revolves around flirting with women and being good at trivial shit.  He’s awesome. 

Jon, ladies and gentlemen

Jon and I leisurely made our way up California’s cost highway starting just below Los Angeles and taking in spectacular sights and smells that beyond any ancient script or legend, proves there must be a God, busy somewhere creating other beautiful universes, prompting him to ignore all my, "please let the Spurs win" prayers. 

As we were approaching San Francisco, The City as I was informed is the hip term, around 9pm, I called up David to see what his plans for the night were and if he wanted to meet up (originally, we planned on meeting up not till the next morning).  When I hung up the phone Jon asked, "What’d he say?"  I responded, "I have no fucking clue."  I suspected though, that he wanted to hang out so when we got into the city I called him again and, with better results, we communicated to meet up at my friend’s apartment.  I was nervous with excitement. 

David was accompanied by PtR’s, swgeek (Manoj).  Just before David and Manoj got to my friends apartment, Manoj’s car was broken into, his GPS device was stolen, and his car was then used as shelter by a bum.  If that’s not something to make you go "fuck tonight, I’m going home" then I don’t know what is.  Un-phased, Manoj wore a smile and shared laughs with us till the early morning; words fail in trying to describe how pleasantly tempered Manoj is, saintly really. 

At my friends apartment we greeted each other with hugs, had some drinks, posed for a few pictures, and then made our way to tiny, crowded, loud bar, filled with lots of good looking people (LD and Manuwar atop the list).  To David’s astonishment we are only 2 months apart in age.  Throughout the night he’d tell me I look like I’m 15 and then later asked me how I manage to look so young, he was jealous. 

David has a large mouth in which he uses, apart from being a smart ass, to consume liquids quicker than I hiccup.  I got the first round of Cuba Libres (a drink originated in Puerto Rico, not Argentina) and before I was a third of the way done David was chewing on naked ice, teasing me saying, "Jason, you drink slow.  Don’t use a straw."  After a few more drinks we left the bar went back to my friend’s apartment for more drinks (shock!) and played The Game of Things which turned too inappropriate to describe here. 

By the end of the night I think I had a few impressions of LD, but we were all so drunk, I don’t remember really what they were.  One thing I do remember though was his boisterous laugh.  I remember thinking, after I first heard the bellow, "Is this motherfucker mocking us?"  It isn’t just that LatinD’s laugh is loud, which certainly adds to it, but that it sounds so heartfelt.  So sincere that his deep, thunderous, laugh makes you question what you’re hearing because, genuine, unabashed happiness is rare; especially when you first meet a person where caution and carefulness is usually exercised.  This all makes you wonder, "Was I really that funny?"  Soon I realized that he, like myself, just likes to enjoy life and what more enjoyable than laughter? 

The night ended at 4am or so, some say it was 5am.  LD went to his hotel, Manoj home, Jon and I on a pull out sofa.  A great start to any trip. 

Day 2

I awoke with a hazy memory of the previous night.  Did LD really shout, "fuck you" in jest, to Jon, on the first night of meeting him?  Did he really mock us after being unfamiliar with the Falklands War saying, "You guys do know there are other countries outside the US, right?"  I confirmed these and other things with Jon, and then called LD to plan a meeting point and get our day going. 

We met at a little coffee shop, LatinD, swgeek, Jon and I, and then went to Twin Peaks, a high (the highest?) point in San Francisco and took in the view.  It was a good send off from The City and Manoj. 

One of the few photos Manoj didn't take (that's him on the right)

For the sober, hung over, three hour drive to Avila Beach I expected a little uneasiness.  Alcohol, the grease of social situations, promotes easy exchanges and this, I partly attributed to our fun night.  The three of us, however, surprisingly fell right back into fluid banter.  There was never an awkward moment on the drive or thereafter, just laughs. 

The drive went quickly, we stopped and had some BBQ sandwiches (I’ll save the food reviews for LD) and beer for lunch, and got to Avila around 5pm, I think?  There at the resort we met up with some friends of mine and another PtR bum, cajones2thewall (Alina).

I can’t offer first impressions of c2tw (see-too-twaa) because I’ve known her for some years.  I can tell you though that she’s uber cute, over gracious and Cuban.  Not bad at all. 

Our first night in Avila we didn’t go into town, we lived it up at the resort.  At dinner time we had some bacon wrapped stuffed jalapeños and fried plantains for appetizers, and for our main course, beer.  Lots of beer. 

I think David was reeling from the night before, the excessive alcohol and lack of sleep, and made an internal decision to not drink this night.  He kept trying to be responsible and write for PtR, retreating into his room.  But his social etiquette wouldn’t allow him to be reclusive.  He said to me, "I feel like I’m being rude, not hanging out."  So despite his obligations and fatigue, he kept coming out of his room (he never closed the door by the way) to chat with me and my friends, or we’d go in the room and bug him.  The thing about my friends though, is if you’re gonna’ chat with ‘em you better have a drink too.  So every time LD came out to say hello or lay some smack on the Lakers fans he was handed a beer or shot of rum. 

Again the night turned ridiculous; LD ripping into Kobe about his super-human media image for playing with hurt pinkies, the Lakers fans getting worked up, us breaking into the spa after hours, Jon turning our bathroom into a big bubble bath, me teasing LD for cyber-making-outing with his crush, and all the while trying to watch the Clippers vs. Spurs on TV. 

That night me, LD, and c2tw shared a bed (it was a crowded two rooms) and I fell asleep wondering which one of them was going to make a move on my sexy ass first but neither did (their loss).  I also wondered if I could keep up this mad man pace of drinking and not sleeping for another two and a half days.  The next day I would summon my inner Wolfe. 

Day 3

Our plan was to go check out the Hearst Castle and then break California State Code, 38590021; physical contact of an Elephant Seal.  Around this time of year the two and a half ton uglies breed all along the central coast of California and on Day 1 Jon jumped a fence and got inches away from one.  When we told David about it he was pumped and wanted to break the law. 

After stopping for breakfast we went to the Hearst Castle and paid for a tour.  Before the tour started we bumped around the souvenir shops where David made a huge mess of little rock magnets, spilling them all over the floor.  His excuse: "I don’t speak very good English, sorry." 

I forgot to mention this was a current theme and running joke for any blunder, spoken or not, that David made during our trip.  When he was wrong about Tim Duncan’s age, "Sorry, I don’t speak very good English", when the security guard was kicking us out of the spa, "Sorry, I don’t speak very good English", when he grabbed a woman’s chest with out permission at a bar, "Sorry, I don’t speak very good English."  By the way his English, when not on the phone, is easy to understand despite what he says.          

 Our castle tour was lead by a nice old lady who David could not help but make fun of throughout.  It was more the content then the lady herself but David and Jon had me rolling with laughter so much so that I worried we might be asked to leave.  You see, William Hearst is seen as a great builder, visionary, architect.  But his castle is made up mostly of ceilings, statues, pillars and pieces of art that he took from other countries.  Very little of his castle was designed by Hearst himself.  David found this ironically hilarious. 

The view from Hearst castle

After the tour he’d joke that he was going to take this or that from California, bring it back to Argentina, and be revered as a great designer.  We were driving through some pretty green hills later that day and I said, "When I’m rich I’m going to build a house and live on top of that hill."  LatinD quickly replied, "When I’m rich I’m going to destroy that hill, take it to Argentina, and say I created it!"

We didn’t have time for our second goal of the day because it was Super bowl Sunday and we had a party to attend.  I wish, for David’s sake, that I was a bigger football fan.  I’m sure he expected some rabid party for our nations biggest sporting event, but truth be told I’m not all that into football.  So what he got was mostly casual fans watching the game, cheering a little, and drinking beer.  LatinD didn’t catch most of the game anyway as he was busy sexting his crush. 

After the Super bowl we went back to the resort, said our goodbyes to Alina, who had to get back home, and revved ourselves up with a little guitar playing and sing along.  We allowed David some computer time before we headed into San Luis Obispo, a fun college town.  

In SLO we did barhopping that left us drunker than any of the previous nights.  Beers, shots, mixed drinks; I promise I’m not always like this.  At our first stop David got to witness college coeds at their finest.  It was a cowboy’s birthday and so he ordered a shot which included the bartender spitting on her hand and slapping him in the face.  Next, maybe as a sorority initiation, a nice looking girl came in ordered a shot, stood atop the bar counter, hooted, hollered, her friends cheering, and swallowed the dark liquid with a quick tilt of her head backwards.  When queenie was done a group of frat guys started kinda' huddling and we wondered what was going on.  We peered in.  They were all spitting into a liquor filled glass and then a poor young lad was hazed into downing the nastiness.  LatinD, the foreigner, was shocked.  We tried our best to explain the California frat way but how do you make sense of something so stupid? 

We left that bar and headed for some others.  On our way we found an alleyway whose walls were filled, high as giants can reach, every square inch, with old, hard gum.  Of course we chewed some gum, stuck it on the infamous wall, and swore to come back another day and recognize our unique contributions among the million others.  "See, mine is a foot over head, right next to this green one, and five inches from that red cluster.  I’ll totally find it."  

At the last bar (at this point I have no sense of time or space) we stumbled upon something we should have been taking advantage of the entire trip; LatinD’s Argentinean-ness as a pick up line.  Our bartender was, as I remember, pretty cute.  How to engage her?  "We’re showing our friend around, he’s from Argentina…"  That’s all it took!  Soon she was joining our table laughing at our dumb jokes, buying us shots, undressing us with her eyes. 

That night LatinD filled our imaginations with Argentina as a magical country, Jon and I vowed to visit his homeland some day sooner than later.  He told us how beautiful the women there were and then complimented our fine state, saying we owned the prettiest females, by and large, of all the places he had been, to that point.  The cab ride back to the resort was wild; our driver made it a goal, I think, to double any posted speed limit, and he was successful.  In a sober state I might have been scared, but I just remember thinking "weeeeee".  My friend Jacqueline, who was with us, was apparently scared, "She was holding really tight onto my arm…" David later told me.  I had to explain to him that holding onto a guys arm is a girls code for, "Let’s make-out later."  Ah, the life of a naïve foreigner.  Oh and I forgot to mention Jon, at one of the bars, challenged a haggard drunk (I’m sure he thought we were the haggard drunks) to a foot race and won. 

Taxi from hell (off the picture, the guy driving at 90)

When we got back to the resort, I assume it was around one or two or three in the morning, we again went to the spa.  I do not believe they have hot tubs in Argentina, this is all LatinD wanted to do, "Hey Jason, remember you said we’d go in the spa again?  Hey Jason, when will we go in the spa? Soooo…how about that spa?  Spa time? Spa?"  The security guard, sick of our antics, angrily kicked us out after maybe thirty minutes of relaxation and didn’t care to hear our pleas, "But sir, you see, our friend here, he’s from Argentina…" 

I think the night continued.  I vaguely remember exploring a non-public access pier, property of California research department of yadda-yadda-blah-blah.  I know at some point though we called it a night because the next morning I woke up comfy in bed, not wanting to leave the beautiful central coast. 

Day 4

Before they headed back home, my friends Eric and Jacqueline woke me and took me to get my truck which we left in SLO the previous night.  Jon and David got some extra sleep while I arrived to the scene: my truck with ticket on windshield for overnight parking.  I stood in the street for a moment and cursed the entire city, "Fine, next time we’ll drive drunk!"

I got back to our temporary home woke up the lazy bums and together we headed on our way with our goal from the day before in mind; touch an elephant seal.  At lunch LatinD got to try clam chowder for the first time.  Thank heavens his first taste was pacific coast inspired and not that east coast junk ;)  We used our new trick on the cute girls at the lunch place, "Our friend here is from Argentina…"  They ate it up. 

After lunch we saw a big rock, Moro Bay’s finest, and then up the coast a bit to conquer the marine giants.  Like I said, during this time of year the elephant seals are mating along the central coast.  This brings them ashore very close to, sometimes on, public trails and beaches.  We reached our destination, hiked a short distance and spotted a five thousand pound monster sleeping. 

I’ve had some regrets in my day but this one just might top the list.  We snuck up on the giant, silently as we thought, and when we reached about twenty feet to him I moved not an inch closer.  David and Jon however were not cowards.  No, they moved closer to the bull each step my heart racing more rapidly.  Manu Ginobili himself would have admired the ice-water veined men as they crept.  The bull stayed resting until they reached, I’d say, about two feet from him.  Pupils dilated, David and Jon stood behind the bull so to avoid the impending death dive towards them if and when he woke.  Once the bull realized he was being hunted by the two heroes he didn’t lunge but instead kept out a watchful eye.  Still they inched forward.  I don’t know who touched the giant first but the bull was not happy.  He raised his head and gargle-roared.  They jumped back, I screamed and almost passed out.  After the initial warning by the bull "Just so you know, I can kill you both" he seemed to not care about the two knuckle-heads.  They touched the bull a few times each, giddy and proud, then scurried back to me with their chests out and heads held high.  I, on the other hand, sulked. 

Neither David nor Jon rubbed in their accomplishment.  I wish they had.  Maybe then I would have conquered the bull with them.  Anyway, we left San Simeon around 1pm and it should have taken us about three hours to reach LA, plenty of time to hang with Hipuks and take in the city a tad.  It was not to be though.  If you’ve ever been stuck in LA traffic you don’t need an explanation, and if you haven’t, count your blessings.  We ended up going straight to the Staples Center, no more exploring on this day.  The drive took six hours. 

Manuwar (Jason), Jon and LatinD (David)

I don’t want to revisit the game.  It was supposed to be the culmination of our trip, a perfect ending.  Stupid Lakers, stupid Spurs.  Oh well, at least Jon was happy. 

When the game ended we went to my abuelita’s house (in LA) as planned and had an empanada dinner.  Over our dinner more laughs; the aforementioned ninja and samurai conversation and LatinD explained to Jon how, because of Jon's lazy eye, David and myself were more predator than him. 

"Jon" LatinD said, " You know, preyed animals are interesting, they have eyes on the side of their head so they can see impending attacks.  Predators though, have eyes facing forward so they can stalk their pray.  You, Jon, are more prey.  Jason and I, are more predator." 

With our bellies full and now hurting from laughter we determined who was sleeping where and got ready for bed; we were winding down. 

Day 5

The next morning LatinD had to be at the airport before sunrise.  The airport of course tricked us several times and when we finally figured out where to park and where to check-in there was hardly enough time for long goodbyes.  We exchanged earnest hugs and again Jon and I swore we’d see David soon, but next time in his home country where we could use our trick, "My friends here, they’re from America…"

Jon and I got in my truck and briefly talked before settling into a long, quiet, reflective ride home.  "This trip was fucking awesome" Jon said to me, "I’m really glad I got to meet David."  

To which I smiled and said, "Me too, me too."

This is fan-created content on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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