21 January 2013

this place is so chill

Playa El Zonte
Several days of sun, surf, cervezas and talking about butt chugging—the hottest and potentially most underrated news story of 2012—with Blogbonis and Bill (aka "That. Guy. Has. It. Made.") at the playas outside of La Libertad provided me with a nice base bronze while leaving the tummy a wee bit red. Regardless, there was overconsumption of michelada (Bill), Coke Zero (Cody), and Pilsener (me) and just the proper consumption of ceviche.

Maybe there'll be some more inspired words about the weekend after I have some time to mull it over on my 12-hour long bus ride back to Managua, but then again, who can remember anything except how chill that dead turtle was? R.I.P. Tommi Turtle.

16 January 2013

king quality

As I sit on a flimsy plastic chair in the open air of a dark bar/restaurant around the corner from the King Quality office, it dawns on me that the exact same thing is happening in Portland right now—Lady Gaga is repeating the name "Alejandro" over and over as the dance remix echoes into the night only occasionally obscured by the sound of motorcycles rumbling from the street.

It's just after 11pm here which means Gaga is likely midset at a packed Rose Garden full of monsters of all persuasions in the monsterpit. And as I sip my 1000 mL of Toña (my first ever) with the palm-lined pathway leading to a volcano on the label, I can't help but be distracted by the guy two tables down that is either grabbing his girlfriend violently (and I can't tell if it's playful), or mashing gums (much like me with my malleable white plastic cup of Toña), or whistling fiercely and raising an arm to get the young waiter's attention above the blaring Latin hip-hop and reggaeton (some of which is familiar from when I lived in Honduras four years ago). Regardless, there's still a third wheel to their party—some chica that's been passed out, head down on the table since I arrived.

Luis, my squat, fuzzy-headed, round-faced, "official" airport taxi driver (who said he was from Managua but upon digging deeper found he was actually born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, back when it was "linda") deposited me here after coyly asking (like a shy child on Santa's lap) for $20 rather than the $18 I haggled for at the airport. I already had the $20 in hand because I'd made up my mind that he deserved it after being so amiable, helpful and laid back—which I think will be a theme among most of the personalities I run into in Nicaragua, and which is absolutely a guarantee once I hit the Pacific coast.

Luis and I determined this bar/restaurant to be my spot after we found the King Quality office/bus station closed until 1.30am... or 2.30am... or 3am. The time changed every time the night guard returned after disappearing inside to check on a new piece of information that Luis or I introduced. So now I'm up a block or two, around the corner and down a few waiting for my tostones con pollo with one large liter of Toña that I easily foresee becoming two before 3am rolls around, which is also the time I went to bed last night in Oregon after foolishly leaving much too many things to get done on the last night.

But now, here I am... pretty much disconnected, isolated in the middle of Managua. As many told me before and Luis proudly reiterated the subject of his country (and city) being the safest in America Central, and Managua seems pretty tranquilo. There was barely a soul on the road during the 20 minute ride to the center, and all the colorfully painted concrete and corrugated metal shops were shuttered (much like King Quality), giving the city of 1 million or so a sleepiness in the warm, but not overwhelming, night air—breezily comfortable, a welcomed respite from the snow flurries outside my window the day before departure.

Now here, no internet on my smart phone, no distractions... except maybe the face-sucking couple down the way that may be arguing now but they'll be back at it again soon, and I'm sure they'll be gone before me, hopefully hauling their incapacitated friend along for the roller coaster.

And when someone forgets to cue up the next jam and relative silence sets in beneath the hushed murmurs in Spanish, you notice the finer qualities of this establishment: a bubbling water feature in the corner with a colored light that bathes the wall in blues and greens; multicolored sombreros hanging limply around an arch that leads to the bar near a decorative cow's skull or two; and the Strawberry Shortcake cartoon living beneath the shredded veggies in my tiny, (slightly sweet) hot sauce bowl.

The beats come back on albeit somewhat more subdued. Mixed amongst the Latin fare, there's Dre and Snoop, Rihanna and Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" twice, and I think my polo'd neighbor is stumbling around seeking "algo más de tomar."

Me too I suppose... what else do I have to do?

I'm in for the long haul tonight... 8 or 10 or 12 hours to San Salvador, but it seems par for the course since the flight hardly felt like anything. PDX to Houston, Houston to Managua (where, seen from above at night, the city on the lake has a distinct line between the water and the sweeping glow of the land—pitch black abutting flickering yellow dots) went by in a blink, much faster than anticipated so why not stay up all night and hop a bus... two Toñas later, right?

And when No Doubt's "Don't Speak" quietly starts up, the girl behind the bar starts singing along but in that way where she doesn't know the words but has heard the song a zillion times and can match the pitch, especially at the end of each lyric, regardless of whether or not she's actually articulating anything.

There's the smell of gasoline from the street and The Mamas & The Papas singing "California Dreamin'" and two empty Toñas on my table compared to at least four on the neighbors' and the passed out one is now awake and alive and animated after her power nap and I was wrong about them scooting off before me. It's time to mosey on and Miguel who was sitting out front when I arrived insists on accompanying me the few blocks to King Quality so I let him come knowing he's going to ask for a propina. He does and I give him a couple bucks before walking across the street to On The Run—a convenience store next to the gas station.

I contemplate buying one more beer for the road—a golden nightcap—but On The Run quickly puts the kibosh on that as a rope tied to the handles of the cold cases containing the beer tells me nada más. Sticking to water and spicy peanuts, I make my way back to King Quality where I can't wait to crash come the 4am departure.

King Quality lives up to its name, I suppose. The bus may be a little bit worn with age but it's definitely the most luxurious ride I've ever taken in Central America with proper reclining seats where you can stretch your legs out, plus the attendant with the alarmingly aqua eyes passed out pillows and blankets. It's also the first time I've ever been able to sit back and just cross the borders—Nicaragua to Honduras and finally into El Salvador—without having to wander into the concrete border control offices to let them scrutinize me before extorting a small fee. This time I just let my passport disappear for a few hours so someone else could do the work.

Although it's fairly comfortable (minus it becoming obvious that the AC was not functioning as the day wore on), there wasn't much sleep to be had after the multiple border crossings and police stops and the incredibly bright blue sky of Honduras—a hue more brilliant when lit naturally by the hot sun but still similar to the one that adorns the flags of all three nations I'll set foot in today—that awoke me just hours after departure.

There will inevitably be more time to kill throughout the day and upon arrival in San Salvador so I'm looking forward to a few more cervezas in a foreign place before I reach my resting destination.

21 May 2010

king cannavaro, il capitano

19 days until the FIFA World Cup in South Africa...

...and 18 until I land in London.

I can't wait for the day when Rooney is a caravan dwelling, pork 'n beans sludge-slopping gypsy.


25 January 2010


This last week I booked my tickets to South Africa for this summer's FIFA World Cup with a stop over in mainland Europe + the UK to visit some friends.

But after seeing this video today...

I am already having some major regrets while also realizing that I should be going to Japan... for a lot cheaper too (at least for the flight portion of the trip).

The following exhibits permeated my life today palpitating my Oriental longing.

Sweet trucks.

Sweet sausage roll pizza.

Sweet Justice plus hot saus. Or maybe I'd rather be in France come June?

06 January 2010


...ti amo.

HEI BELLA! You too la mia Puma.

15 December 2009


Sun shines cozy gold,
the sky beams brilliant blue,
while I sit inside,
toiling the daylight away.

Published in the December issue of Four and Twenty : A Short Form Poetry Journal.

Download it here.

17 November 2009

feeling the fall turn

Tripping over abandoned railroad tracks, stumbling amongst the obscure docks and semis and delivery vans. Criss-crossing the hulking metal ghosts, spent for the night. The tide rolls gently in and out. Irregular waves echo, pulled not by gravity but propelled by benzine, lightly rumbling along I-84 led by incandescent winking.

The rain tears imperceptibly, streaming gracefully through the cylindrical, amber halos created by bare bulbs. My gaze drawn up to witness this natural eloquence, my eye bats and flickers with the liquid bolt between my lashes. The drops keep falling, cooling, refreshing.

Silence. Relative to the club and deafening boom. The only moment of peace. Solitude. After so many bodies and voices.

A place where I can let go of gravity. Let my body melt into the asphalt. A placid spot in a concrete jungle. The bustle only stops for an instant, even in the madrugada.

Looming warehouses, bleating sirens. Awake. Serenity can't survive here.

04 November 2009


Yes, I googled "hondureña" today, and what have we learned?

1) Hondureñas are sexy, especially when filled with beans and cheese.

2) Financial services are important to Hondureñas.

3) Cervezas are important to Hondureñas. I recommend Port Royal, the only one that comes in a green bottle.

Have a look for yourself, there are videos further down.

19 October 2009


Do I take thousands of photographs and then neglect to even view them for years? Here's some Italia nostalgia on my Flickr page.

Mi mancano le belle giornate pieno di sole e vino rosso.

14 October 2009