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Archive for the ‘Cuba’ Category

in this case , referring to tattoos…so very very ‘late 1900’s’ kinda stuff….why folks still get ’em is a mystery….’tit’? take that anyway you want…just trying to keep you  abreast of  things, ok?

yeah, I went to Dishwater Saturday night for Nelson’s final performance…Piano Mike’s last event was last night (Sunday) and both of them leave us this week..a big hole in the Antigua music scene, which gets smaller every year…where the hell is Adan, the great Cuban pianist?  speaking of Cuba, Denise the superb server at Ocelot, leaves  us Wednesday and goes back to  medical school in Havana…how cool is that? I’ve never known any  medical students from Cuba and she’s fabulous…I’m  mention Havana more but with all this NSA stuff, I’m not..

Dishaulded has a new tenant in the front space…looks like some kinda performance art, here and there…looks….nah, go see for yourself: I recommend some kinda medication  first.

What was Caffe Opera  on 6th Avenida has been rented and they’re  repainting the interior. What was Restaurant Panchoy on 6th Ave sur is  still under renovation, as is what was Riki’s on  4th Ave…..whew..Bob Chocolate! got the semi-full story on his chocolate process (his brand, IxCacao, is my favorite, btw)….Joe M and HBT on the patio  for happy hour…yeah, we’re cooking up plans for   ‘field research’ of the nasty/naughty kind…hey…this is in the interest of science, ok? 

not sure why, but the new Reilly’s La Esquina had two guards at the  door on Saturday night…I chose the first door(on the left)and was told that it was the exit door….I’m dressed better than 99% of the town and I can’t just walk in? nope….screw it…Travel Menu let me in and took my  $$$…again, the interior of the new place is killer….Steve Wintershaw outdid himself…ok….i opened the  door by using the word in the title…here’s an old friend from ‘Vegas

brianna

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often flows into the River of No Return, which empties into the Sea of Dreams…some have commented on the style (sic) herein: it’s just me or another side…those who read my travel pieces or mineral/mining articles probably wonder also…so? there’s no money involved here, via hits/ads or anything else.

The seasons? what, here? I love the fact that something is flowering all the year…lately it’s the purple jacarandas and the poinsettias. From whence I used to live, winter meant no leaves and bare branches..spring sprung eventually, followed by the cycle of summer and the slow death of fall foliage.

Another ‘only in Antigua’ moment: the road improvements coming into town?…what was a 2 hour delay a few weeks ago is now three hours…and just in time for Christmas $hopping, eh? there’s two versions of lame blame but the fact is that ‘they’re’ now ripping up the newly laid cobblestone paving…a giant WTF?

another deli bites the dust…Metiz, 4th avenida, south of the Cathedral? called it a day and threw in the sponge cake…they were doomed per the location, even with the best cheesecake in town…’heard of a new gelato joint on 3rd calle, west of Antigua Tobacco, next to the Ivori Drugstone…Jessica’s Gelato, said to be better than….that place on 4th avenida…you tell me…and that rascal, Neil Craig? has another girlfriend that’s even better looking than the last…bastard..no, Mr Bastard…good for him, I say.

When is Braulio’s…the remnant of The Lounge, which was the remnant of Pangea, gonna close their door?

goodbye, old friend…’sad to see you go but it was time…after 6 or 7 years, a lot of traveling and some great adventures, it was time to part..from Cuba to Carmel, Costa Rica to Xela and you were always there for me…yeah, you got a bit bent outa shape but that’s because I sat on you the wrong way…my ol Motorola Raz’r went bye-bye today, to one of the yard crew here at the finca…gotta new ‘semi-smart’ phone…in the sense that I’m not activating any of the smart features…maybe later, when I figure out the manual (in espanol, of course)

the long awaited trip to Mixco Viejo is ‘on’ for this week…the 20th/21st for the end of the 13th Baktun…some are referring to it as the Mayan Rapture…a flash of light and suddenly every Pollo Compero outlet is filled with  hungry Mayans…we’ll know later this week, one way or the other…me? I hoping for Santa’s helper to make an appearance…McAfee? minus his girlfriend? probably trolling South Beach, right about now…his ’15 minutes of fame’ are up and thankfully so..

its beginniing to look a lot like Christmas

its beginniing to look a lot like Christmas

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the rain…drizzle drizzle…kept me in(and probably just as well, you say)..however the Bacardi Anejo and espresso kinda make up for it.

 

Walter Fischer and his partners, who picked up Juan Carlos’ defunct Antigua Bus Tour, have repainted the bus(his says they’re adding another 3) and…so on and so on..the bus is being seen driven around town, which is a start.

And you thought that times are hard? my favorite newspaper vendor is selling off her personal jewelry…lotta silver, some gold

 

So? the 2nd or 3rd Festival de Maiz (Corn Fest) that I’ve been to…I ran into an ex-INGUAT official who didn’t know anything about it…I asked an Antigua-born guide about it..zip, nada..for people who are in the tourism business, one would assume, etc.

news from our wandering troubador, Nelson Lunding..he’s way up on the northern california coast, in places that few of us have ever been to, much less heard of..#1..point Arena? #2 Gualala?..I know ’em both..big deal, right? WTF in either case..too far south to pick up any of the Emerald Triangle aka dope biz from Humboldt..who knows?

the ‘Perfessor aka Mike Donley, checking in from the Pacific northwest…says he’s ‘sold’ his boat’…o please, God…the two happiest days for a boat owner are the day they buy it and the day they sell it..s’posed to be back in A-Town around the end of October and a good thing…at least two ‘professional women’ have confused the two of us…as being the one and same…since my hands are clean, my conscience clear, it’s gotta be him..

final thoughts on a rainy Friday night and a conversation with a pub owner re: nightlife..the Three Aces in Hyderabad, Athens/Mykonos, the Bulldog/Amsterdam, El Gato Tueto/Havana, Lips/San Salvador, Hotel Del Rey/San Jose, Club Exotic/Reykejvik, The Library, ‘Vegas, (fuggedabout Crazyhorse II), Patpong Street, Bangkok, Copa de Oro, Juarez and for local color, Club Exceso in Xela..Antigua well never catch up or come back to what it might once have been: get over it. The Beige Patrol runs it. 

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wordpress, you idiots..you keep making ‘improvements’…stick with a tried/true method…newer isn’t always better…take me, for example..older and worse, some say.

it was a musical evening…Ron Fortin on sax (and great) on the Ocelot patio, Adan the cuban pianist with a bongo player doing side riffs at Los Arcos…5ta norte doing a great evening…I bailed before the steve james gig at Ocelot, walking the beat…Carla B, smiling and effervescent as always, holding down the bar at Fusion…Marcel of El Cazadore Italiano doing his welcome as folks came in…Como Como? jammed for a private party…some kinda engagement/wedding thing..der Henrik taking time out and hanging at Travel Menu…congrats for taking the bold leap of opening a bar in Zone One…which seems to be doing just fine…unlike Sangre, which appears to have pulled the plug on 2 or 3 years of no biz..

that church on the corner of 6th avenida and 4th calle..? what the hell is it called? the Convent of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence? jammed for an outdoor free concert of four great musicians and one lady singing scat (and good) why doens’t the city or the council put up signs on the churches? something tasteful in neon…solar powered, of course…Las palmas doing the big groups..

the high point of my day was defrosting the half sized refrigerator that barely holds 4 trays of ice cubes..ok, five if i jam ’em in..hey, if nothing else it’s an easy grab from the mini-table…the friggin’ boat load of books is two weeks out(and a week overdue)…so? the local printer is a week behind…so? so what? what can i do? nuthin’…get over it, have another shot of pavlov..ok..that i can do(and have)..thank you, one and all for the great feedback/compliments…it ain’t literate nor of any depth…it’s Antigua for Dummies…short and sweet like some women i’m fond of.

again, thanks to Nick Z of La ReUnion for a marvelous outing..no, not that kind of ‘outing’…a day in paradise, swinging for the far away greens on a course in heaven…thanks to John K for the superb/fresh cigars from Havana…i’m blessed with the greatest of friends…here, there and far away..may the blue bird of paradise fly up your nose and in the meantime, enjoy the weather…it suddently went perfect..are we blessed to live here or what? answer is A.. 

and yet another restaurant opens..4th calle, where Saboy Cubano and the Havana Cigar Shop was….looks ok from the street, lighting and all..open for breakfast, etc..the newly opened American Diner where the DeBronce store was on 4th ave sur…dead..good thing the employees have the big screen tv to keep them occupied…what did the staff in a lot of establishmens do before computers, a monitor and/or a tv to watch? its a fringe benefit, obviously…

watching the diffferent crowds at Lava and Ocelot…the younger folks hang at Lava and the…uh, more seasoned folks are downstairs..is it the stairs? Lava definitely doing ‘biz, unlike IxNot or Braulios…hey, these are just my ramdumb observations…i’ve got ice cubes and life is gooder. Enjoy yourselves..

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thank you, Nicky Z, for making the day perfect…La ReUnion! choppers flying in/out, the place crawling with people and more players on the golf course than i’ve ever seen…John Kim, old pal from Havana days, now living in sweet San Salvador…brought the in the latest shipment of superb cigars and a type of Montecristo I’ve never smoked…superb day..E Larry Shaw joined us and if you’re playing golf with him, ask for strokes…for a guy who hasn’t played in “two years or so’ he’s incredible…the back nine? jesus…thanks to copious amounts of adult sports beverages and some decent meds, i may be able to walk in the morning…

Ocelot’s Happy Crew/Crowd…eyes on a couple of gringas in the patio, exchanging…no, not vows…lotta tongues…not our usual scene in this o so placid/politically correct city…Claudia #1, the incandescent one…hanging at Ixcot…yeah, with Manny the  Travel Agent, he of the weird sweaters and strange expressions…

thanks, Jon M for telling me that the sea shipment will be ‘two weeks late”…it’s ALREADY Late…whew..this shipping/printing/distribution stuff is making me lose my hair…what’s left of it…and what’s left is turning gray…double whammy…thanks, mother nature aka stress..Frener Printers has promised..yeah, right..to have last monday’s version out tomorrow…so? hey..it’s Chinatown…thanks to John K,I didn’t think about this stuff all day…that golf course is killer…the caddies were superb and the hamburgers? the best…the staff even brought me aspirin when we finished the first nine…topnotch service..the best golf course i’ve ever seen/played..Nicky Z…you very very lucky bastard to be working there..

Sangre? ‘been closed for almost a week now..door padlocked….asked one of the previous ‘principals’ but he had no clues to share…but then again, he never talks about anything, except the proper way to barbecue (and not ‘grilling’) thank you, again..one and all, for the very kind words about my writing..i’m humbled and blessed..and my back is F$#@ killing me…hasta manana..

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if there ever was a classic ‘Monday’ this might have been it:  a day when nuthin’ went right or as advertised, hoped for or considered…a case in point: the printer, overdue for the first local versions of the 2nd Edition of Our Man….oops…’well, maybe by Wednesday…’..and this was planned for today…hey, it’s Chinatown, Jake…as it turned out, this worked in my favor…

Voyageur Travels,  long my fave resource for bus trips to hell, Managua and other backwater garden spots? lost their two prime/primo and best agents who moved up the block and opened as Maya Kingdom Travels..well, they liked the ‘ booklette’ and with their new info that stuff got uploaded, perverted/converted to the Amazon.com site and thence to Frener Printing where…maybe, just maybe, the local edition will be out by Thursday…and yes, the delectable Ms M is still on board…this new wave of publishing is ‘brave new world’ stuff…no more lead letters, clanking presses..hit the ‘send’ button and away it goes..instant updates!

ah, the new restaurant in what was the De Bronce space on  4th avenida, across from Alex’  Helados Exoticos? the sign is up…Comida Americana…an American Diner…nope, haven’t read the menu but one wonders…there’s a Burger King, McD’s and Lava across the street for killer’burgers…what niche are they looking to fill? tuna melts, BLT’s and a grilled cheese ‘san? speaking of menus, i picked up the latest from J aka Bull Durham…gotta order some of his fresh pork ribs…the pork chops have always been perfecto/sublime..he’s gotta great connection with a farm in Tecpan…order early in the week and they get here on Thursday..51-79-6892 or drop by the shop, La Rosa de Cristal after 10am or so..

‘heard via an unusual grape vine that X…aka Xaviera Hollander was looking for me..if you were around for the debacle that describes her appearances here in February of ’10 then you’ll understand why i’m ducking this..i arranged 5 or 6 venues for her to speak and sell her books…nuthin’ but trouble, aggravation and insults…but i did, in lieu of thanks, get a autographed copy of ’69 Ways to Please Your Lover’…or something like that..if only, etc..I know, hold your tongue…this printing/publishing biz is taking a minor toll…the sea shipment is overdue, the 13 or 14 outlets in town are running low on the ‘bookette’ and the previously praised to the skies printer is having ‘technical difficulties’…ack..pass the vodka..see you around town, tomorrow..the upcoming bright spot is that my old pal from Havana days is coming to town this week and La ReUnion/golf is scheduled..knowing John, he’ll be packing some fresh Cuban smokes..Ole!

 

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referring to the rains tonight, afternoon, cha cha…the umbrella was useless, the streams in the calles/avenidas deep enough to surf and so on…They pulled the rugs out from under Abassi, the Indian restaurant on 4th calle…the rug merchants gone, the retaurant moved up by El Caminante on 1st Avenida.  I sense some difficult times ahead for retailers, with some unusual closures noted…Da Vinci, lights out on a Tuesday evening(alas, Claudia’s 1,2 & 3)..Las Palmas closed? La Esquina, lights out still? Sobremesa on 4th dark? wtf? yeah, the rains dampened any spirits or ideas about going out, unless absolutely necessary(I’m drenched)..long chat with JEH about tourism and the future of same here…neither of us at all optimistic…Clinton doesn’t show up anymore, Paris and Mel only here for some kinda ‘save the kids’ or working off some ‘community service time’ and the big question…why would any ‘high roller’s, aka the ones who book the hotels at $300-$500 a night plus transport, air fare and so on…choose to come here? the food? the sights? the atmosphere? JEH has his perspective, I have mine…Sausalito, San Francisco, Carmel, Vegas, Hawaii…30 years of living in ‘tourist’ towns…I like it here but Idon’t see the draw…or the attempt to sweeten the pot(hello, INGUAT)Honduras has a better tourist bureau, El Salvador’s kicks serious butt, Costa Rica is a known quantity and even that Commie paradise known as Nicaragua is stealing business…and i’m not even mentioning Cuba…and as screwed up as they are, even ‘they’ are sucking in the tourist $$$’s…maybe it’s time to roll over and let the narco $$$ flow…we know that gambling is illegal in the City but casinos are there…open a few casinos in Antigua, let the ‘escort’ business thrive and open/change a few hotels along the model of the infamous Del Rey in San Jose, Costa Rica…allow some light prostitution, light gambling and light drugs..Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulez! let the International Gaming Technolgy group owned lock, stock and barrel by Sig Rogich of Vegas come in…Reagan’s Ambassador to Iceland..the 80’s..they’re in South America, Central America and all over…sell out to  the hucksters,the pimps and the narcos…$$$ talks and bull shit walks…Guatemala is walking..no, limping..legalize blow, let the drug subs land in Puerto Quetzal, refuel and off load a few tons  of Bolivian ‘marching powder’ and see how soon tourism picks up…it could be a ‘white Christmas’ ….beef up the cops as does Vegas and the boys from Metro…they don’t take shit from anyone..do some kinda ‘zone’ like Amsterdam..hash, blow, weed and hookers..the only thing missing from this equation is hash…with a phone call, the other three are ‘here’…get over it..you want some phone numbers?

welcome to Guatemala! pass the straw..

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