Friday, September 25, 2009


I was agitated; the Atavan hadn’t kicked in. I prayed my family would forgive my stupidities. I missed the sky. I slept too deep and decided to drive down to the Baja to see Duncan Blitz.

I picked up a 1-week Mexican insurance floater, packed the cooler and an extra pair of jeans, and drove. In Tijuana I filled the cooler with Tecate, Corona and Negra Modelo, bought a couple of tiny tacos de carne asade from a street vendor, noticed the Prius was neither stolen nor smashed, got in and drove. In Rosarito I stopped for camarones a la plancha and a cold beer. I skipped Ensenada, and took the highway through Maneadero, past the spot where I hit the dog. That was thirty years ago and I still feel bad about that dog, but terrible about Hal, who I won’t see again till the afterlife, if.

After the turnoff to Punta Banda I stopped at a roadside stand for 2 jars of olives, a dozen tamales of pork with red chile (an olive buried inside) and a half dozen sweet tamales of corn (cinnamon and a raisin inside). Behind the table the heavyset girl with the glasses and the business smarts had given way to a new heavyset girl with glasses. Probably her granddaughter.

I cranked up a Norteno station on the AM radio, and popped open a cold one for the 20-minute drive to the cove. Punta Banda was still undeveloped, so it was easy to spot the VW next to Duncan’s cabin.

“Hey!” from the opening door. “I was just listening to the game; it’s seventh inning siesta,” he said. I brought in the cooler, and my spare jeans. The cabin was tidy and neat.

The Dodgers lost, improbably, to the Nationals, who won with a sac fly to right in the bottom of the ninth. We decided to check out “La Bufadora,” the blowhole that snorts a tower spray of water from between the rocks. I bought a chocolate con churros but resisted ashtrays, tshirts, painted guitars, ceramic Porky Pigs and Wall-Es at the souvenir stand, and thought about getting my stubby hair braided.

I was still thinking about hair braiding when we decided to walk back from La Buf, to Gordo’s. We sat on the patio, sipping margaritas, and watched the sparkling sea. “Toss a bit of me in the bay, when I’m hay, will you, Dunc?” “Sure,” said Duncan Blitz, looking out at the clear blue swell.

Dinner at Gordo's:

margaritas, frozen, salted rim
guacamole with fresh salsa
dos coronas, with lime
fish tacos, rice, beans, salad
otra cerveza, por favor

dessert: tequila, with salt and lemon

Friday, September 18, 2009


His line plopped in the sea, and Duncan Blitz reeled it in. Nothing. Another toss, whirr-zizzz, he reeled it through the sparkly blue-gray chop. Nada. Tres Equis in the can, XXX, you don’t see it in the US much. Phhht! Duncan tugged on the Mexican light beer, still cold. He checked the tiny hook, good for small-mouthed fish, cast across the little cove, and reeled. Duncan Blitz was having a very good day.

At home he woke feeling some degree of lousy. But here in the Baja, Duncan felt fine. He could pull up his drawstrings and stand on the patio, to sip a coffee, practice tai chi, or squint at the bay, waiting for a whale to surface, or not.

No Signal, said his cellphone. 4:35PM said his watch. Peace said his brain.

Something hit on the line, and Duncan set the hook. He cranked the spinner, feeling the live shimmer and tug. When he had it near the surface, Duncan lifted the tip of his rod and saw his fish. A nice fat little bass. He had it for dinner with rice and beans, corn tortillas and fresh chopped salsa, with a can of tecate, still cold.

I was dancin’ with my darlin', sang Duncan, working his way through the tune on the accordion he inherited from his mother. Yes I lost my little darlin’ the night they were playin’, the beautiful Tennessee Waltz,

The beautiful Tennessee Waltz.

Clouds rolled over the starry sky, the breeze shifted off shore, and Duncan Blitz had the feeling that tomorrow was going to be a very good day.


Breakfast: café con leche, maria cake cookies, huevos con chorizo, rice and beans

Snack: local green olives, cerveza modelo

Lunch: pork tamales (red chile, olive inside), sweet tamales (cinnamon, raisin inside)

Dinner: chicken roasted on the wood fire, beans, tortillas de harina, sweet corn, fresh tomatoes, chopped cilantro, chopped onions, cerveza Bohemia

Snack: nescafe