My Trip to Zihua - Day 6 (long)

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Posted by Travis in Seattle from ( on martes, marzo 11, 2003 at 16:51:27 :

Day 6 – Monday, 2/17

Today’s tranquility-shattering incident is of the medical variety, but at least this “disaster de la dia” has the courtesy not to happen until late in the afternoon.

After pulling my all-nighter with Senor Juan, I get up with everybody else on two hours sleep. Plans for the day are discussed. Chad and Kim would like to at least “see” Ixtapa since they’ve never been to a Mexican resort. Perfect, methinks. I’ve “been there, done that” and don’t have much interest in re-visiting Ixtapa on two days sleep, much less two hours. Allen shrewdly recognizes my post-bender condition and decides that he’ll spend the day with Chad and Kim. Fine, excellent, okie and dokey. Everybody have a great time. I’ll spend my day back here in the recovery unit, convalescing on Madera.

Remembering the size of the surf from whenever it was I took my not-so-long-ago mid-night swim, I pull Allen aside just before they leave and strongly suggest that, while in Ixtapa, they stay out of the ocean. Let me repeat, I strongly suggest. (I know that sounds shrewish on my part, but I grew up on the beach in California and Allen grew up in Oklahoma. While I tend to think I know more about everything, I definitely know more about the ocean than Allen. And Ixtapa can be dangerous.)

And I’ve wasted my breath.

My day alone is spent as much as possible underwater at Madera, which I find good for the head. Sr. Juan and I cross paths a few times in the late afternoon and he’s all laughs. But I can tell, even though he professes to “never sleep”, he’s not operating on all cylinders today either. (Picture the classic image of a Mexican man, seated in chair, sombrero on, head down, stealing a siesta. I catch Juan in this exact position…just replace the sombrero with a baseball cap.)

Anyway, after spending a perfect-for-me “do nothing” day on Madera, I return to the bungalow and see that everyone’s back. Chad and Kim are on the patio, Allen’s not around. They say they’ve enjoyed their day in Ixtapa. Oh, but there was one thing….

Chad and Allen were “black flag” swimming late in the day. Everything was calm….then BOOM BOOM BOOM. Big wave. Back-breaking kinda wave, etc. Chad says he’s fine and that Allen got it worse, but that he seems okay too. After a few minutes, and still not seeing Allen emerge from the room, I begin to wonder…

Allen is flat on his back on the bed, unmoving. I can’t get much information from him. Tylenol? Already did. Professional Massage? Maybe. Better drugs from Farmapronto? Indecisive. Doctor? Don’t know. That’s all I can get. Still, it’s gaining on 5:00 p.m. and he’s not in a good way at all so I better make something happen. I arrange for Carlos to contact a doctor who will make a house call. Carlos lets me know that the doctor will arrive in about 15 minutes, but speaks very little English. I quickly grab the Spanish/English dictionary from the front desk, and start to rehearse. I’m trying to compose, in my head, two essential sentences. (“My friend hurt his back swimming in Ixtapa” and, if necessary, “Do you recommend any pain killers or muscle relaxers?”)

In a bit of a rushed panic and, again, on two hours sleep, I’m spastically flipping through the Spanish/English dictionary, writing down words on a notepad. I’ve never used one of these things before and I know I’m not getting it right. I finally realize I’m not even writing down the Spanish words I need, I’m writing down the “English pronunciations”. What an idiot. I could guess that “prescr1ption” is “prescripcion” and not “preskripseeown” or whatever. Anyway, I finally cobble together the two thoughts just as the doctor arrives.

The doctor does what looks like a thorough exam for what I’m guessing are spinal or shock issues. Eyes. Reflexes, etc. After our Spanglish conversation in which I’d managed to get out something like, “Ixtapa, Playa Palmar, Wave gigante, Boom Boom Boom, mi amigo tienes dolor en la espalda,” the Doctor says, “Problemo es poquito.” Everyone’s relieved. Since I know the pain will be worse tomorrow, I manage a “Quisiera recomienda usted prescripcion por muscular relax…..”. So he writes out two prescr1ptions. Now I’m off to Farmapronto (again!). To my pleasant surprise, the prescr1ption is filled quickly. When I get back to the bungalow our group decides the drugs are something like Demoral-lite. Whatever. Anyway, unlike me, Allen is a big fan of both doctors and pills so it was the right thing to do. Besides, it could have been serious. Dr. Exam: $500 pesos. Meds: $300 pesos. Peace of Mind: Priceless.

Allen’s valium/crack/whatever kicks in and he says he’s feeling good enough to go out to dinner. I decide tonight is the perfect time to try Casa Vieja since it’s only a few blocks away. We get there. The place is busy. After standing for a bit in the entrance, and noticing the waiter/host/Jack-of-All is in the back multi-tasking, I spot an empty table and, out of concern for Allen’s back, usher our party to it and we sit down. I know I’ve breached etiquette.

The waiter arrives with a scowl on his face. Too bad. Get over it. Dinner is ultimately great. So good in fact, I hoped to return for another meal, but it never happened.

The conversation at dinner is mostly pleasant, but at one point things head south. We discuss whether or not we will do a day of fishing. (None of us have ever been before, and pre-trip, we’d made a “loose plan” to try it out.) Given the last few days, the idea of first having to arrange it and then having to drag my ass out of bed at 6 a.m. sounds about as attractive to me as root canal. There’s also Allen’s back. During the conversation, I give it a “We’ll see…” that I’m hoping has a degree of “Don’t push me” to it. I guess it didn’t. Kim actually delivers a directive. I hear: “Travis, You WILL go fishing.”

Now, I don’t have the type of personality that takes “directives” very well, particularly on vacation. And I’ve bitten my tongue so many times the last few days that I fear it’s swelling up. I can’t let this pass. I let it be known, in no uncertain terms, that for the rest of our vacation I don’t EVER want to hear the phrase “Travis you WILL…..” followed by anything again.

I’m sure this exchange is bigger in my head than it was at the time, but that’s what I remember. Fortunately, things improve greatly the next day and for the rest of our vacation. The friendship even survives.

And, yes, I WILL go fishing.

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