Monday, October 20, 2008

Let me tell you about a guy named Rody

I had just finished a 20 hours of flying when I met Rody.  My flight began in San Diego the previous night.  A red eye landed me in New York, followed by a short flight down to the Caribbean and I now found myself standing outside Aguidilla's airport awaiting my ride to Rincon.

The ride had been arranged by the woman whose house I would be staying.  A few days earlier she had been giving me instructions on how to direct a cab driver to her house (it did not have an address) when a friend overheard her, and offered to give me a ride.  The friend, Rody, was going up surfing near the city the day I was arriving.  He offered to pick me up for an amount less than cab was going to cost and this would eliminate the need for me to direct a cabbie to a destination 40 miles away without an address, and in a foreign tongue.

"Perfecto," I thought to myself.

I had spoken with Rody briefly the day before to confirm the ride.  Upon arrival I was to call his cellphone.  My first attempt went directly to voicemail.

"Hola, no puedo...Rody...Ciao."

Although my Spanish skills could be considered conversational, I did not know the intricacies of how to leave a message saying, "It's Mark, I just landed at the airport, come on by and pick me up." (Actually, now that I think about it, I do know how to say that, but was not at the comfort level of having my sub-par Spanish on tape.  It's one thing to say something once, and quite another when you know the person will have the ability to play it back.)

So there I stood outside the airport with no way to get in touch with my ride.  Ten minutes turned to twenty, which turned to an hour.

Just as I was about to give up hope and take an offer from one of the ten cabbies who had been hovering around, watching my deteriorating confidence that ride I had told them was coming would actually show-up, a green, mid-90's Chevy mini-van- the kind I used to get rides to grade school basketball games- pulled up to the curb.

Using the hand crank, the driver rolled down the window.  

"You Mark?  Sorry man, my phone died."

Allow me to attempt to deliver a visual description of Rody- the first Puerto Rican actually living in Puerto Rico I had met, the Ambassador of the Bolinquen nation, sent to fetch me from the airport.  

In his mid-thirties, Rody stood about 5'10, and was just slightly overweight  He was overweight in a "I'm in my mid thirties" type of way (not that everyone in their mid-thirties is overweight) or "I really like pizza" way- nothing a few weeks of better eating and exercise would not fix.  His hair was shaggy and uncombed- some of it hanging down over his eyes.  He had on his face what I would guess to be a three to four day growth and looked like he had just rolled out of bed (sorry to wake you up, bud.)  His clothing consisted of a pair of Billabong shorts, a tank top, and a pair of sandals.  Actually, he pretty much looked like plenty of guys I see walking around Mission Beach on any given weekday afternoon (hey, sometimes I go in late!)

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he really struck me as more SoCal "surfer bra" than Puerto Rican. He spoke with a heavy accent, but his English was pretty good; although, not in the "Shakespearean" sense of the word.  By that I mean, I had absolutely no problem understanding him, but his tenth grade English teacher may have been Spicoli. 

"No problem," I said- throwing my board and bag in the back, I hopped into the passenger seat.  I attempted to strike up a conversation with my Puerto Rican chauffeur, and lucky for me, Rody was more than willing to chat.  In fact, Rody loved to talk.  All I had to do was name the conversation and he would take it from there.  We talked about a bunch of stuff.  Everything from politics, to the economy, to the war in Iraq, to the local breaks we would pass on the way to Rincon.  Our forty minute ride was truly a pleasure, and I learned a great deal during the trip.

Now, I'm sure/hoping some of you are saying "I wish I was there."  Well, do I have a treat for you!  It just so happened that just two months earlier I had invested $130 in a little something I like to call The Flip- a super low end camcorder.

Now, you are probably saying, "You started video taping a guy you just met, in a foreign country, minutes after you had landed?"  I could give you a long and drawn explanation, but the answer is "sure did."  

"How did you get his permission," you ask?  That answer is, "I didn't."  There was no time to request permission as he was already deep in soliloquy and I did not want to break up the moment.

Note:  To be fair, Rody was a fairly intelligent guy, and I caught him relatively early, and given his morning activities (alluded to in the video) this may not be the most accurate representation of the young Bolinquen.  As far as the subject matter, I believe it came up because we were talking about crime in the country and that turned to the topics discussed during the video.  I left out all the economic/political stuff because, frankly, I did not think you would find it nearly as entertaining.

So without further ado, ladies and Gentleman, I introduce to you Rody, the first true Puerto Rican I ever met....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Costa Rican River Driving

In July me and my buddy Dave took a surf trip to Costa Rica.  July is the rainy season making many of the roads impassable.  On the Nicoyan Penninusla, the roads literally disappear into huge rivers- imagine what will do to your morning commute.  When we rented our cars it was specifically written into the contract that you would not "attempt to drive accross any rivers.  When we first read this we found it hilarious.  Who would actually attempt to cross a river in a rental car?  Two days later, we found out- us.

Scenario Number 1:  El Rio Mas Pequeno

This was the first of two rivers Dave and I came to while driving.  Dave and I had driven for four hours when we got to this river.  We were about to turn around when two things happened:
  1. We saw a kid take a scooter accross it (although it was slightly up stream.)
  2. A French guy, and his rather attractive girlfriend drove accross it after some debate.
Dave and I were not about to be shown up by a guy on a vespa and a couple of Frenchies!

The deal was this:  Dave would drive and I would ford the river.  Now, walking into this knee deep water may not seem like much, but I took this picturte three hours earlier.  
Thinking back, I think I may have been on the losing end of this deal.

Scenario Number 2:  El Rio Mas Grande

Our first river crossing being so successful, Dave and I decided to up the ante.  This rio was doozie compared to the first one.  It is amazing how much more confident one gets after getting away with doing something relatively stupid once.  "We climbed Mt. Palomar, you want to do Everest next week?"

 A day earlier we stood on the bank of "El Rio Mas Pequeno" for a good thirty minutes before crossing (and it took a guy on a scooter and French couple to prove to us it was possible.)  That river was about 20 yards across and we could easily walk accross (assumming we were not eaten by a large reptile.)  This river was triple its size, much deeper, and with a fast current.  Although we were both too scared to ford it on foot first, we decided to put the Citroen (or whatever it was) in 4 wheel and charge.  "Ahhhhhhh goulet."  I could actually feel the current pushing the car down the river as I crossed.  If you look closely, you can see it too.  Awesome.

Scenario Number 3:  Heading Back to El Rio Mas Grande

About five minutes after our previous crossing we came to another river.  This one was impassable (given the size of our testicles.)  Unable to bring myself to do it, I decided if a few Imperials would do the trick; however, no matter how many beers I drank, the damn thing refused to shrink.  Dave did not drink- and remained the voice of reason.  Apparently our stupiditiy had a limit, and we had reached it.  Having not yet come down off my adrenaline high from the previous crossing I let Dave take the wheel for the second crossing.  I had tested my luck once with El Rio Mas Grande and I was not going to do it again.  Here is a clip of the chat we had on the way back to El Rio Mas Grande:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

C-Walk, Fool

Sunday I got thinking about C-Walkin’- and once I get something on my mind…

What is C-Walkin’ you ask?

C-walk was originally short for Crip Walk (think Bloods/Crips.)


"Largely composed of nimble movements with the feet, the Crip Walk had a variety of purposes including recognition, showing love and loyalty to fellow Crip members, and making a loud statement to others that the walker is a member of the Crips. Another purpose of the walk was to insult rivals (most specifically the Bloods), in which they would spell out the name of their rivals and then cross it out."

They would walk out their rivals name’s and then cross it out?!?  That’s awesome.  I don’t know what I would do if someone spelled out my name with their feet, then crossed it out.  I might try to get their autograph or have them come to my birthday party and perform, but apparently, that would get me shot.

In any case, somewhere along the way the Crip Walk became known as the Clown Walk (much to the chagrin of the local Crips I am sure.)  Now, how a dance by a bunch of gun toting G's went from Crip Walk to Clown Walk has to be a story in itself.  My guess is it goes something like this:

A Crip member was moonlighting as a clown (hey, even a full time G has bills to pay.)  One night after a long gig at a Hollywood Bar Mitzvah, he stumbled upon members of a rival gang.  Forgetting he had white face paint, a blue afro wig, and a red horn nose- he began throwin’ his gang signs up and C-walkin' up and down the street- spelling out the rival gang members names, their momma’s names, their mamma’s mamma’s names, and their mamma’s mamma’s mamma’s names- and then crossing them all out.  All told, there were generations of mother’s names completely erased in one single walk.

It was a fine display of Crip Walkin’ indeed; however, all anyone noticed was thered horn nose, size 36 shoes, and the white mumu.  It was indeed a clown performing this momentous feat-  and from that point on the Crip Walk would forever be known as the Clown Walk (which must have really pissed Tookie off.)

Last Sunday I decided I wanted to see some C-Walkin’.   Not knowing any Crips, or clowns, I turned to YouTube.  Here is a little of what I saw during my four hours of intense research on the art form known as the C-Walk:

Viet Jr. Is the Most Unbelievable C-Walker (I think he is also a middle school Asian kid)


As my research continued, I noticed people use C-Walkin to express emotions- sometimes conflicting.

 I Love You C-Walk (don't be afraid to turn off after 30 seconds- this gets a bit much, plus we gotta keep it moving.)



You Broke My Heart and I hate you C-Walk (suspciously similar “I love you C-walk”- I think he just wanted to show Jenny what she was missing (and an excuse to C-Walk of course))


Pitching Products C-Walk (you should watch this one all the way through- sick- not sure about the two color shoes.)


 In the last vid you should have noticed the perfectly timed "dust-off"- a clutch move of any C-Walk.

 Dog Lover C-Walk (I just like the music)


 What did I learn from all this?  

Not much; however, as much walking as I do maybe I could use a little C-Walkin in my own life.  In fact, maybe we all could.  

So the next time you see me in the board room or strolling down Mission Blvd to get a four dollar lowfat latte don’t be surprised if you see me throw in the occasional heel/toe, v-transition, shuffle, gangsta hop, wiggle walk, or knee drop. 

 And you know I’ll be dustin’ them off…