Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'm in San Cristóbal de las Casas.  I know, right? It's been days.  I was sick ( for 3 days and counting).  I get it, it doesn't count. I have a lot of pictures, they will be updated soon.  I have thousands of stories, they are all boring so don't worry about it.  Thinking about bicycling my way through Latin America (yes, I know I will have to ferry from Panama to Columbia).  Exercise, right?  Anyway, better posts in the future, no worries, a tad drunk, be grateful otherwise I'd probably never post

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Paulo patching up the radiator 
Today I scubaed the cenotes in Tulum. Dos Ojos. Paulo was my guide. $110 for two dives? Whatever.  I'm going to have to check my funds soon because I'm pretty sure I'm way over budget.  I think I fell in love with the Argentinian Girl that volunteers here. What is it with Argentinian girls working at hostels and being absolutely gorgeous? No I haven't talked to her yet. Chloe the red-head Australian girl has been traveling with me. She's cute, but dumb as a cinder block. She tried to tell me she had never heard of quesadillas before. She's been in Mexico for nearly a month now. I know they have Mexican food in Australia, my CELTA buddy Joel was from Australia and he fucking loved Mexican food. She asks a shit-ton of stupid questions. I don't know, I don't mind though. Doesn't seem like there's a lot that can get on my nerves recently. I had my phone jacked the other night. That bummed me out for a bit, and then proceeded to piss me off subsequently for the next 3 days every time I went for my phone and realized it was gone. But each time it was just passing frustration. I miss the military guys from Alaska who were biking through the American continents. God I want to do that so bad. That and sail around the world. Well, maybe not literally, but maybe. Right now I just want to sail through all the worlds tropical islands. I just need to learn how to sail. And fix a motorcycle. Or else find someone else with the skills I need.. I should ask Ben how he feels about sailing with me. Check. Goddamnit the English chick at the bar is so fucking hot. I'm afraid if I let myself really take a look at her my eyes will get stuck and her boyfriend will have to pry them away with the bill of his douchy trucker hat. No, but really he's cool. Fucking awesome red beard. She's way too fucking hot for him though. Fuck me, can I stop thinking about girls for 10 minutes? The answer is no. No I cannot.

Here's some raccoon and a couple of their odd little friends:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

1, 2, Buckle my Shoe

Trying to wrap my head around numbers. Bear with me for a second.

Everyone knows there are an infinite number of integers (1,2,3 etc...) There is no limit to to how high we can count. And between any two integers, not only does there exist another infinite amount of numbers (1.1, 1.01, 1.001), but it is actually a larger size of infinity ( Yes, that's right, and not only are there different sizes of infinity, but there are an infinite amount of sizes of infinity; the size of which is infinitely larger than them all.

Sometimes I wonder if our entire universe could be merely a single atom within another universe that we will never be able to fathom, and then I'm like, why the fuck would I ever want to think about that?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cancun and My Introduction to the Yucatan Peninsula.

So I left Rancho and flew out of the Tijuana airport into the Caribbean resort megaplex that is Cancun.  After a month of bucket baths and porta-potties I decided to splurge on myself and booked 3 nights at the all-inclusive Omni-Cancun (and spent about what I'd expect to pay at a Holiday Inn in California).

The experience was everything I'd hoped it'd be.  That is to say, it was boring as fuck.  It probably didn't help that we're in the middle of Hurricane Season here in the Yukatan so it was raining the whole time.  I honestly can't remember what I did for the first two days except spend a lot of time in the shower and sitting in my room on the internet with the AC on full blast.  I also managed to stuff my face with mediocre buffet food and drink way too little free alcohol (yes, too little.  I had like 4 drinks during my entire stay).  I even paid homage to the gym a few times in a vain attempt to prolong exercise trend I had started my last week at Rancho.

One thing that caught my eye was the iguanas roaming the  beach-lined terrace like stray cats.  Well, like really lazy and sluggish cats.  I mistook the first one I saw for an oddly placed sculpture.  I was staring at it trying to decide if I wanted to touch it when I overheard some passing guests talking about it "Still being there".  I didn't have the balls to actually touch it, but I snapped a few photos of a bigger one hanging out in the bushes when I was checking out of the hotel.
He's daring me to touch him

The second night of my stay at Omni I opted to get a test for Cancun's infamous club scene.  I had declined a drunken invitation from the night prior because the $50 entrance fee seemed rather steep and I'm honestly just not the spontaneous kind of person who decides to go clubbing given a 10 minute notice.  However after doing some research I learned that the hotel arranges the transportation to the club, lends you an activity coordinator (party guide) to show you the ropes and the $50 fee includes an all-you-can drink open bar.

The particular night I was going was Señor Frogs Glow Party.  Having no clue what I was getting into, I donned the single snazzy outfit I had packed.  The second we walked into the club we were covered in neon paint.  By the end of the night I was swimming in what I later learned was the fucking lagoon.

There was only one other guest from the hotel that came to the club (hurricane season I guess).  She was from Sacramento and confessed this was her 5th time in Cancun this year.  Apparently her parents had invested in the hotel and she was able to stay for free.  She was shooting me all kinds of signals, but she was a bigger chick and I was out to play my hand.

We were given a table (no chairs) near the dance floor on which was placed bottles and bottles of alcohol.  I swear if we drank it all someone would be going to the hospital.  I stuck to Vodka.  In fact I have drunk nothing except vodka since I arrived in Mexico.  I love Mexican food more than life, but I can't stomach tequila or shitty Mexican beer (interestingly, they don't drink Corona down here).

The night is pretty hazy, but I'll note some of the details I can remember.  There were lights everywhere, a dj on stage, a crowded dance floor, tables in the back for sitting, and a water slide that feel into the lagoon.  All in all it was hopping (or whatever the kids say these days). After getting myself well drunk,  I picked out a pair of girls sitting against the wall that appeared attractive but reasonably within my league.  They weren't with anyone and seemed to be looking for a reasonable excuse to join in the fun.  After probably an hour of creeping, I finally got drunk enough to make my move.

I walked up, gave one of them a painfully feigned aloof look and relinquished the clever remark I had been preparing all night.  I think it was something like "You're cute".   From the stares I received, I thought they hadn't heard me over the music, but then she gave a reply Spanish and I was so upset with myself for neglecting to factor language barrier into my calculations that I nearly suffered a nervous break-down on the spot.

I doubled down on the Vodka back at the table until I found myself sitting at another table with a group of
backpackers from a hostel in town and some dude from the hotel across the street from mine.  The next thing I remember I'm in the lagoon with an Israeli girl wrapped around me and we're macking on each other The Notebook style, which is a-whole-nother level of gross when you consider how disgusting that fucking lagoon must have been.

Hanging out at Ka Beh
Entrance to Ka Beh

The next day I checked out Ka Beh hostel where my new Isreali friend was staying and booked a night.  She wanted me to go with her to Tulum but I already had plans to meet some girls from Mérida in Playa del Carmen for Independence Day weekend.  The staff at Ka´Beh were really rad, kept giving us alcohol and tried to get us to go out and party more.  Most of them were actually travelers just working short-time until they had enough money to reach their next destination. Needless to say my last night at Omni-Cancun went unused.

Also, the food here is fucking fantastic.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My last days at Rancho (Finally)

I've been procrastinating for ages but I've finally become fed up with myself so prepare yourselves for a whirlwind of semi-coherent posts.

 Before I begin updating everyone on my most recent travels in the Mexican Yucatan, I want to finish up the documentation of my experience at Rancho. This particular post is taken from 3 or 4 posts that I started while at Rancho but never actually finished.  I've opted to focus on quantity and inclusion rather than quality and cohesion as the former requires more decisive action than I'm willing/able to contribute in a single night.

Two significant changes occurred in my final 2 weeks at Rancho.  First, Joelle left to wakeboard back home one last time before the end of summer; leaving me to take over her job running Rancho's fitness program. And second, the Ministry School began, which meant my curriculum proof-reading job finally ended (needless to say if you read my last post, I did not miss the work).

Although I was initially apprehensive about both transitions, the timing seems to have been overall very beneficial.  Although my till-now empty dorm room was now now packed to the brim (quite literally actually, we're talking 3-person bunk beds) full of young men who speak English even worse than I speak Spanish (but insist on trying to converse regardless) and the increasing temperatures combined with westward facing windows, no shades, fans or ac made the place a veritable fly-sauna (no joke, every morning we'd sweep out heaps of flies that had lived and died there the day before), Joelle's office at the gym afforded me ample opportunities for isolation and respite. Where before I would spend all my time outside of meals in my room, I now dared to enter it for the sole purpose of sleeping.
Angel Medina illegally
working on his chin-ups

I was supposed to be making the students pay $10 before they use the gym, but after I tried to explain the rules the first few times I decided I'd just let Joelle deal with it when she gets back. Truthfully the place is little room with some rusting weights a couple partially working pieces of equipment. It's really not worth paying $2, let alone $10.  Plus and I have to live with these guys and I don't want to be the dick that kicks them out of an empty gym, I don't really care how indignant the rest of the staff get.

I've actually had people come in and be like, "We don't think their supposed to be in here"  I just told them I had sent them to the office to pay their dues and assumed it was all taken care of, you know, since I don't speak Spanish.  They all got kicked out anyways.

Also I have to admit, I feel pretty bad for the bible students here.  I live like this for a month and I'm at my wit's end.  And I have internet access, connections with staff (which I'll get to later) who can take me off campus every once in a while, and an office in the gym with a fan where I can just sit and lock the door if I need to. These poor fuckers are stuck here with literally nothing to do all weekend except sing 'kum ba yah' or sit in their over-heated, fly-ridden dorm room all day.  I'm not exaggerating.  This place is hell incarnate if you don't have a way off campus or some-kind of staff privilege.  I try to tell myself that somehow its part of the training since they are preparing themselves to go into ministry where you're basically a slave until God decides to bless you with enough success to become your own leader; but the whole thing just makes me uneasy.  It's little wonder the supernatural plays such a crucial role in this whole system when people faced with realities like these as alternatives.  I really just don't want to think about it too much.  For the time being I've decided that if I don't have something more fulfilling to give people, why deprive them of their purpose?  People are drawn to Rancho for a reason, for most of them it's the best option.  I'm not willing to step up and offer something better so what good am I doing with my criticism?

Anyway, enough with feeling bummed out.  One of the perks of my new job is the all the windfall exercise I get.  I work out like 5 hours a day and I feel fucking amazing.  I wish I could take this job with me everywhere I go because I know I'm not going to have the discipline to exercise on my own while I'm on the road.

After Joelle left, everyone wants to be friends with me all of a sudden.  I'm not sure if they feel bad for me or they just didn't want Joelle to think they're moving in on her brother or maybe just didn't have any excuse to talk to me until I became their personal trainer.  Whatever the case, I am now feeling very much a part of the gang.

Miguel, meditating on the distance
that he embodies so well.
Today after church(Sept 7th?) Miguel befriended me out of the blue.  I'd met him my first day here when Joelle was trying to get him to build her a porch. He's the Mechanic/Handyman at Rancho and grew up here since he was a kid. I had an instant liking for him because like me he's just a little too cool for school (no really, I feel bad for him; kinda in a similar way to how I'm always feeling sorry for myself, if that makes any sense).  Also everyone insists on calling him 'Pato' ('duck' in Spanish) instead of 'Miguel'.  I guess the story is that when he was little he'd follow Jimmy (the head leader at Rancho) around campus like a duckling ('Patito'). Whatever the case I don't feel like the name really compliments him very well and I can relate to being called something other than a name you've chosen for yourself.  Miguel came out to the movies with us in Tijuana when I first got here. We watched Now You See Me with Spanish subtitles.  I don't know, it was kind of awkward some reason, ask Joelle. Since then Miguel and I had exchanged greetings in passing but never really entered into a conversation. Today I was sitting outside the church after service waiting for lunch because the dorm was too hot and crowded.  He sat down and just started talking. Asking me questions about myself and my travel plans and what not.  Honestly I was thrown off guard.  My friend Jaime, who has known him all her life, will attest that such behavior is slightly outside the scope of his usual aloof persona.   I kept waiting for some kind of point to be brought up or for some aim to be revealed, but no it seems he was genuinely interested in bonding.  He even opted to ride with me to the airport and see me off.  Truthfully I can't really remember the last time I felt so honored and even though I'm still a tad bit suspicious (something about an old dog I guess) I've been cursing myself ever since for not giving things a go back at the beginning of the month when there were still differences to be made.

Keeping the gym open for everyone.
(Note: NOT Jaime)
By far the most significant relationship I've fostered here has been with Jaime (Name Changed) , Co-director of Hospitality at Ranch. After our first fitness session she lingered a bit to chat and being in a rare socializing mood I was doing my best to keep the conversation rolling but I noticed that she didn't seem to be in any kind of hurry.  She was my last appointment for the day so there wasn't anything to interrupt us except a gradually imposed awareness of the time (and dinner, which I completely forgot about.  The conversation was a fairly natural evolution of self-expression and mutual appreciation for one-another's experience.

Jaimy spent a a significant portion of her childhood at Rancho and had recently been 'adopted' by Rancho's main leaders (I use quotations because the adoption occurred after her 18th birthday [She's now 24] and isn't legally binding, but in this culture they take 'spiritual adoption' rather seriously and familial terminology is strictly adhered to [often to the utter confusion of outsiders] and her new 'parents' still exercise a remarkable level of influence in Jaime's life).  She's communicated a desire to leave Rancho and attend BSSM (Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry) but is experiencing resistance from her 'parents'.

When we finally found our way out of the gym we were immediately solicited in campus wide game of hide-and-seek.  Apparently one of the Rancho kids had run 'away' and the onduty staff were running around with flashlights calling for him.  I was told it happens fairly often with one of the boys, but its not a big deal because he's afraid of the dark and never wanders far.  An hour later we found him in a tree.

I refused Jaime's offer to come eat left-overs at her parent's house because I thought it might be awkward going over there so late, but she must have realized I missed dinner that night because when I returned from my bucket bath later that night, there was a big plate of food sitting on my bed.

The next week Jaime was my best friend and we spent nearly all our free time hanging out or texting. She brought me the best Fish Tacos of my life for my lunch break, showed me the best restaurants in Tecate, and took me out with her friends for the weekend.  And just as I was beginning to feel at home, it was time to leave.  And that's how I got my first real taste of what the rest of my trip has been so far.

I tell myself I don't really have anything to write about here but even as I'm writing this there are bible students casting demons out of eachother right in front of me.  Teens with an overload of hormones, the need to feel significant, and a warped world view.  I shutter as I remember my own exorcisms back in my hardcore religious days.  Terribly awkward and forced things, too much emotional angst and no intellectual paradigm to give it a constructive meaningful form.  The screaming and spitting and frothing and puking, or trying at least trying to and all the while not trying to and uncertain if your putting on a show for yourself but you have to try it because really nothing else makes sense of how you feel in that moment.  That kid is really going to regret chucking his cell phone like that in the morning..

Get you're shit together, Google!

I fucking hate writing on my android phone because there is no ctr+z function. Somehow I just sent a 3- page reflection into cyber oblivion. Fuck you universe, you adolescent trolling prick.

Ok, another rule.

I've never been one for black and white world views, moral absolutes, or zero tolerance stipulations, but today I've discovered a transgression for which I've lost any capacity for sympathy.

Under no circumstance will I ever again tolerate the use of a computer or other internet powered device within the confines of my sleeping quarters.

 I do not care if I'm in middle of a hurricane and want to know the latest weather alerts, I will not expose my eyes to another second of compulsive LED radiation.  The sanctity of the bedroom must be preserved.

Hello, my name is Jack Alderson and I am an internet addict.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My new post and a quarter rule.

Some new friends in Merida
Yeah, it's been a while.  I haven't made a post since Rancho and even then I have a post backlogged.  There's no way around it, I've been slacking.  At first I had something of an excuse.  Times were crazy, everything was moving fast, I didn't hardly have a chance to catch my breath let alone put together a thoughtful update. At least that's what I told myself.

 For the last week or so though I've really just been staying up all night redditing, sleeping for 10-12 hours through-out the day, running out to grab my only meal of the day before all the restaurants close, and then repeating the whole process over again.

I saw this picture in a restaurant the
other night and liked it.

I know.  It's despicable.

I'm out here in paradise and I'm living exactly like I did when I was in the States.  When I think about it I go into a depression that just reinforces the vicious cycle.

Alright, I'm exaggerating a tad.  I have been doing a bit of work and I have been getting out and doing things, but the overall proportions are abysmal.  And that's why I'm instating a new rule:  Every day I need to publish one and a quarter posts.  It's totally reasonable for me to dedicate at least 4 hours per day on my blog.  And in those 4 hours it's completely reasonable that I publish 1 post briefly outlining my day or rambling about some inconsequential idea that has been occupying my thoughts and leave an hour or so to working on a more thorough detailed story or idea or developing my websites or spending time out taking pictures of things.

 Now this doesn't necessarily mean that every 4th day I will produce and extra post, but rather that after publishing my daily post I will proceed to put forth at least a quarter of that effort towards a larger project that will impact my professional goals.

Anyway, I should hopefully have my final thoughts from Rancho published by tonight or tomorrow.  Thanks to everyone who's still reading this and please keep me honest if you notice I'm slacking off again.