Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Next I wanted to go somewhere to get away from all the backpackers I'd been bumping into over and over, but instead I ended in Tulum, which is a very touristy beach town in the Yucatan. At first I was totally shocked by how expensive it was there- bungalows on the beach can cost over 60 US per night, but then I found one of the only cheap places on the beach, a "semi-clandestino" spot called Playa Esperanza where I rented a hammock for 80 pesos a night. I ignored the fact that 80 pesos could get you a proper hotel room in some smaller Mexican cities and enjoyed the rustic charm of throwing your bag down on the sand and sleeping in the morning under shady palm trees. Then, one by one all the folks I had been hanging out with in Palenque filed in- El Gato Negro, the French reggae singer and his band of Argentine musicians and thier lovely girlfriends, Mariana the Chillena who showed up with her ragged gang of little Mexican hippies ("banda" kids as they are calling themselves) who camped out in the wood nearby, and the Goldy sisters, who were the closest thing to hipsters I had met in south Mexico. Anyway, there was much partying, bonfires, a wicked drum and bass party on the beach, swimming, and playing on the rocks and cliffs nearby. I went and saw the ruins nearby, which are perched over a beautiful beach:

Emma and Rebecca were feeling the Carribean vibe.

There is something about the beaches in Tulum that makes girls start to pose and take model-type photos. I have seen this phenomena on the memory card of many a digital camera down here.
Spirit rocks..
We walked over the cliff back from a remote beach
Followed by mysterious dogs The Goldy sisters

Heres what things looked like from my perspective most of the time

At nightfall they would turn on the candelabra over the "dinner table", which was the only light if we didn't make a fire. My 80 pesos was not going to waste!
Hood, aint it?
El Gato Negro is the new signing to Animal Blanco records. I would go around busking with him at bars on the beach and he would sing these crazy medleys of Manu Chao, Sizzla, Seu Jorge, Anthony B and old Cuban revolutionary songs mixed with his own freestyle rapping and dancehall toasting about whatever place we were at. He would tell everyone that I was the "manager" because I had dark shades could speak English. From then on he just called me "manager". We worked on a remix there on the beach while I tried to keep the sand out of my laptop.
A total Cheyenne-like lovable goofball with infinite energy.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


The next stop on the the southern Mexico hippie love train is invariably Palenque, the Mayan ruin site in the jungles of Chiapas, and who was I to deviate?
But, what do you do if you are trapped in a hippie bungalow village in the jungle on a rainy day? Nothing to do but get drunk with Mariana in the middle of the afternoon. Note the bleary look in our eyes.We were at a place called El Mono Blanco, which i thought was a good sign, because, as you know, a Mono Blanco is just one kind of Animal Blanco.That night we saw our first performance of El Gato Negro and his Argentine band playing silly cumbias and reggae wearing the goofiest clothing possible. More from El Gato soon..Finally after several days in the hippie vortex I made it out to the actual ruins.Nearby, my friend Jeff and I found a sweet waterfall.

That night was the full moon, and a bunch of us went to a "Psycho-trance" festival nearby.The crowd was not as crunchy as I would have imagined- it was mostly a lot of rich Mexican kids from Tobasco and Verscruz, wearing sunglasses in the middle of the night and dancing like total goofballs. Some the DJs early on were not so bad, playing trance that leaned toward happy hardcore or even bassline house. One guy even played a remix of "Milkshake" that I thought was hilarious. But, by the time the 4AM headliners from Israel, Inner Action got up there, I was ready to gouge my ears out. Psycho trance is so execrable. There will be the same atonal beat for 5 minutes, punctuated by some digital gurgles and vocal samples from B movies about "Forgotten worlds" or "ancient secrets". Then they will have this huge buildup, hands in the air, spotlights on the crowd and the music will break into the exact same beat. And the crowd will cheer! Like "Thak god, there's that good ol' beat agian." Not to mention the beats have to hit on every single measure so that you can dance any goofy way you want to it. None of that confusing rythm that other forms of dance music can have.
OMG! This is the best photo I have ever posted to any blog, ever. This is a Mexican trance hippie, photographed at 5AM wearing a Dropdead shirt and a big fluffy hat at a rave. He had no idea who Dropdead are. My Rhode Island heads realize how amazing this sighting truly was.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I went to Aguas Azul, some big waterfalls in the jungle of Chiapas with some friends I met on the bus from San Cristobal. We spent a few days there, hiking and swimming, cooking food on a bonfire and hanging around. I took a bunch of good photos on my other camera on the first day, when water really was azul. That night it rained a lot and when we woke up the next day, the water was more like caca from the mountain runoff. Since then, my small camera was stolen, so I lost all those pretty shots from the first day. Here are the rest.

Rope SwingMireia is Catalana who sings Indian raggas and eats mostly rice and lentils that she cooks in her own earthenware pot because "food retains memories from the Universe". Believe it or not, we became fast friends.This is the closest to a photo you can get of Mariana, the film student from Santiago, Chile. She doesn't not like to be photographed.
We were in the heart of EZLN- AKA Zapatista country. Along the way we saw many collective stores, community centers and such. Even the the waterfall park itself has two entrance fees: the official one and an "optional" EZLN guerrilla one. We chose to pay both.