Cruise to Mexico: Part 7

Posted by Job O Brother, December 6, 2010 11:37am | Post a Comment

Day 5 (Part 2)

Thursday. September 16, 2010


As the boyfriend, his father, Fred, the sweltering heat and I walked home along the quaint, plank-board sidewalks along the coast of Puerto Vallarta, I was all the time keeping a look-out for a keen thank you gift for Smithy, who’s house-sitting for us had caused her such difficulty after the devious plotting of the demon spawn we call “our kitties.”

You’d think that a tourist trap like Puerto Vallarta would be ideal shopping, but I couldn’t imagine Smithy exactly swooning over a miniature beaded palm tree statue or a Hard Rock Café tank-top.

Then, at last, I saw just the sort of boutique that catered to the refined taste of my dear,lady friend: a tequila specialty shop. Hypnotized by the variety of tans, camels, and caramel colors that shone through the many-angled bottles, I floated in and got real thirsty. The vendor – who’s name I never got, so I’ll call Graggenhauserfrauschembaur – practically materialized from out of my shadow, eager to exchange some of his wares for the far-less delicious bills I kept in my wallet.

“This,” I thought to myself, “Is gonna be a great relationship.”

It was. At Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s insistence we sat at a tiny portable bar and were lined up shots after shots of tequila tasters. It was like being a college freshman girl at her first date rape. Graggenhauserfrauschembaur’s salesmanship was bar-none; how brilliant to get your customers drunk! And the tequila was, truly, lekker. My personal favorites were a coconut-crème tequila and a tamarind liqueur that made me wanna be an alcoholic again for the first time. I purchased some booze for Smithy, and some for myself. I bid Graggenhauserfrauschembaur a bittersweet farewell, and he scolded the boyfriend and I for coming from Los Angeles and not being able to speak Spanish.

He was the father I always wanted. Sniff…!

Post-tequila tasting, walking back to the ship seemed an insurmountable goal, so we three men melted into a taxi and rode the rest of the way.

The boyfriend and I washed and readied for dinner as my music played. Limited, as I am on vacation, to an iPod with a mere 160 gigabytes of space, I have to be very selective in what playlists I keep on tap. Probably the most important one for cruises is one I titled “Cocktail Mix.” It’s a blend of kitschy lounge, exotica, be-bop and west coast jazz, pop vocals and assorted tunes one would associate with sipping martinis on your penthouse patio overlooking Central Park. For instance:

The boyfriend’s big discovery as a listener was the novelty song “Delicious!” by Phyllis Diller and Jim Backus – always a favorite of mine when I’m DJing the clubs (which has never happened). Unfortunately, I've swept the World Wide Web (or, "Internet", for short) and was unable to find the song for you. It appears on most Dr. Demento compilations, though, which you'll find in Amoeba Music's comedy section.

Promised a meal, I was tricked into attending a comedy/juggling act in the main theatre. Yes, that’s a stand-up comedian who integrates juggling into his number. As you can imagine, this means most of his material is centered around… ehm… juggling. Just how many funny jokes can there be about said craft? Well, about as many as you’d think, if you’d think “not many.” The entertainer in question was, I must say, a quick wit, and the constant technical failures that plagued his set proved to be the strongest bits in his show, as it allowed for his more cynical barbs to shine forth. I knew that cruise ship audiences were expected to be easily offended, uncultured, boobs – what the French would call, les stupid f**king Americans – so I did feel a certain compassion for any entertainer working the job.

Until the next act – the comedy headliner – who had no gimmick like juggling to hide behind and was awful just by his little, ol’ self. Plucked out of a Hollywood movie that needed a bit scene featuring a bombing stand-up routine, this guy was so the stereotype of bad it almost transcended stand-up and became performance art.

“Did he really just do a routine about women and men and leaving the toilet seat up?” I was agog.

Dinner was once again delightful, mostly thanks to our fantastic waiter, Ionut, who regaled us with boyhood stories of ditching elementary school in Romania with his buddies to hike into the woods and fry slabs of beef on hot stones. Delicioase! It certainly sounded better than the pâté de canard I’d been served, which was reminiscent of Oscar Meyer hotdogs, whipped into a delicate, congealed slice.

The Omen.

We returned to our cabin to find another towel-creature on our bed, left by the crafty maids. It looked like a turtle. Or a swan. Or a bulldog with a peacock's head. For whatever reason, and due to any one of millions of neurosis I have, the appearance of these towel-creatures always struck me as creepy and ominous. Like they were left my some kind of spa mafia, with each animal having a sinister meaning; like Tony Soprano had taken a class in terrycloth origami and now had it out for me.

It looked like one towel, but it was actually two. Not knowing this, I reached to pick it up by its head which ripped right off. I think I screamed. The boyfriend and I both agreed it was an act of passive-aggressiveness on the part of the cleaning staff. From next door, his parents’ cabin, we heard a commotion. They had made the same unsettling discovery.

That night I dreamt that I was crashing a pool party at Chelsea Handler’s house. Before anyone could figure out I wasn’t supposed to be there, I flew away. I was certain my ability to fly would get me good representation.

Relevant Tags

Gerry Mulligan (2), Ben Webster (3), Yma Sumac (5), Cats (31), Comedy (62), Amoeba Music (73), Be-bop (2), Pop Vocals (19), Lounge (12), Exotica (15), Jazz (150), Ipod (21), Mexico (22), Cruise (8), Gays (71), Smithy (1), Tequila (3), Chelsea Handler (1), Booze (8), Puerto Vallarta (2), Phyllis Diller (3), Jim Backus (1), Dr. Demento (2), Jackie Gleason (8), Jo Stafford (3), Ionut Tenie (2), Romania (2)