Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘smoking’

The Tobacco Police are in the streets tonight…some 333 agents are circulating, looking for warm ashtrays and bad breath. Will they be in uniform and if so…looking like what? or are they undercover?….more likely. ‘Up against the wall…spread ’em…assume the position!’  No ifs, ands or butts. The country can’t find its ass with both hands, the politicians regularly assault the public pubis and no one gets more than a slap on the wrist. How is it that murderers, thieves, politicians and rapists(is there a difference?)are never caught, apprehended, arrested, charged and sent up for a hundred years? And the government can assign 333 butt-police to stamp out the evilness of that Honduran herb that mysteriously is sold over the counter everywhere?  Tobacco, damn it…not the other herb. I will sleep better tonight, knowing that my rights are being protected, my health and well-being is at the top of the government’s list and that there are enforcement agents acting on my behalf at this very moment, crushing the dirty swine and social deviants that comprise this filthy group of malcontents and crypto-narcoleptic-social democrats. Semper Tyrannis.

Which leads to a great local newspaper, AntiguaNetNews.net…everything a local paper should be… and breaking the story about some local counterfeiters…’busted with the plates and printer cartridges, two well-nourished Salvadorean girls were led away in chains. One of them has a husband who was arrested on the same charge last year…’arrested, tried and convicted: sentenced to a whopping 90 days and released, his debt to society paid. Insanity rules and the clowns run the circus…sometimes I forget that.   Hey, 100 quetzal notes are worth about $12.50 right now…if you print up 20 lbs worth($1,000,000 in 100’s) we’re talking $100K plus…hmm..if you pass ten a day…forget about it.

This is a lame end to the week, of which it has been tulmultous(good)…the wheels turn and they haven’t come off(always a good thing). The beach next week for a couple of days…the pace is killing me…’really glad I wasn’t in Roatan for the ‘quake. Alas, no seamy/seedy photos…maybe, just one?

I'm not that kind of nurse

I'm not that kind of nurse

 Leah, at Hector’s, wasn’t feeling well and left early…The Hector Show kicked in…’did’t miss a beat and liked it, orchestrating every move and introduction without missing a beat. It is truly neat to see a professional at work…fine, the quiche wasn’t heated all the way thru and it was yesterdays….who cares? Projects are being wrapped, stuff is being printed and life oozes forweird.

 

Read Full Post »

Die, Triscuits!  at $8USD a box, these imported snack foods are heavily(60%)taxed by Guatemalan Customs….por que? are they protecting us from ourselves, while we’re not smoking in public nor riding tandem on a motorscooter while talking on a cell-phone?

Saved from a death worse than fate

Saved from a death worse than fate

The rocky path of science and the thirst for knowledge was momentarily thrown off course last night, while doing research in the field. While road-testing other batches of John Rexer’s Ilegal Mezcal at La Esquina(for quality control), the luscious Lou was reading and making up new cocktails… a decent mojito and then some kind of cream/rum concoction, followed by blackberry liqueur( and I also refused the Kahlua/Amaretto shot)…the mezcal worked with the cream/rum thing, btw…

Another laboratory

Another laboratory

and another stop by the newly re-opened Cafe 2000…this feels like someone’s wet dream of “I wanna have my own sports bar.”…and a restaurant and 4 big plasma screens with obscure games playing and my own remote switch(Elvis once said that a .22 pistol makes a great remote control but you can only use it once.)…too many wait-staff, a kitchen that is wasted on breakfast, lunch and dinner for non-existent clients. When will people learn that a full service kitchen is a waste of time, money and food in a sports bar? The money is in the liquor(it doesn’t spoil, you don’t have to worry about prepping it nor do you have to wash dishes)…hey…not my problem, just making observations….get yourself some micro-waveable pizzas or work out a deal with a pizza joint around the corner…McD’s makes deliveries…go with your clientele’s tastes(or lack thereof)…

Butt-Man was kind of on patrol last night, making rounds to see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice(can you still smoke here?)…not an exhaustive survey but La Esquina and Da Vinci are thumbing their noses at the Tobacco Police…if you’re not wearing a badge, Claudia will buzz you in(I wish)

The smokin' Claudia

The smokin' Claudia

Hector was at the helm last night and in attendence his lady friend from NYC, recently imported…they make a great couple..the sweet Keri Payton also in attendence and Leah’s on top of things….later tonight: wine tasting at a location yet to be revealed.

Would you like red or red?

Would you like red or red?

Read Full Post »

“in my youth I was always taught that you should  take a woman by the waist and a bottle by the neck.”  W. Somerset Maugham

7:15 Sunday morning…Crack-a-Boom!…the nearby sounds of those hellacious aerial mortar-shells that ascend to a few hundred feet and explode in puffs of white smoke are going off nearby…a good thing I just happened to be up/semi-awake instead of peacefully slumbering and letting my liver process last night’s vodka(hey…it was scientific research).

Leo of El Reino de Jade working!

Leo of El Reino de Jade working!

 Leo…that sharply dressed guy in the doorway on 5ta Norte…swinging a mop earlier! His recent vacations in Honduras must have had some kind of weird effect.

And the results are somewhat tabulated: the price of a Stolichnaya on the rocks(con hielo) around town  ranges from 25q to 45q…45q! The Santo Domingo or Welten?  nope….Beppe’s La Antigua Vineria, go figure…is it the ambience or Lucia’s new meds? If Paolo were still there I could reason with him and I suppose I’ll have a word with the Don at some point. This really isn’t ‘yellow journalism’ , is it?

and the never-ending search for truth, justice and the Guatemalan Way continues, seeking answers to the burning question…the enforcement and reasoning behind the recent advent of the no-smoking measure. This is not about my or your wish to light up in a bar or restaurant but rather the  encroachment and erosion of civil liberties, where ever we may be. Don’t gag me with your cheap perfume or aftershave and I won’t blow smoke in your direction. There may be just one person in town who has nailed the concept and that revolves around religion: Frank of NimPo’t, invoking Maximon(page 17, La Cuadra, March-April issue)and the fact that smoking IS a religious act,  and protected under the Guatemalan Constitution.

There appears to be some trepidation amongst some bar/restaurant owners about the dreaded law, specifically the possibility of fines, lawyers, closures and other penalties yet to be determined. I ‘get’ that, especially those who might be considered ripe for a wrist slap. On the other hand, a casual walk through the burg at night reveals a few establishments where tables of tourists are lighting up(no names here) and a few places that have secondary semi-secret bolt-holes for their clients to suck on their Marlboros. Is this a case of turning a blind eye to older established/connected/juiced owners? as in selective enforcement?  I haven’t heard of any actual ‘busts’ or fines being levied but the level of fear is palpable….ooh…Big Brother is watching.

Back to Frank/Maximon…what would happen if outposts of that religion were established here, shrines to the devoted were consecrated and various bars/restaurants became sub-churches? Visualize this: you walk in to any bar and make obeisance to the saint in the corner, toss down a few quetzals, the bartender spits rum on you and you’re good to go. Maybe you get a wrist band or a stamp on your hand, indicating that you’re one with god or the big M. In Hoc Signo Vinces!

Read Full Post »

*might want to read the disclaimer…

hectorNo, not gorilla marketing: George Carlin once asked the question that if we’re descended from apes and monkeys, why are there still apes and monkeys? Hector of that superb, always packed, little’hole in the wall’ on Calle One, west of 5ta Norte, has implemented a new marketing strategy…emailing customers whenever a special dish or item is on the menu…yesterday it was fresh fish, a 12 lb snook and several corvinas…limited amounts, specially prepared and first come, first served.

Poor devils…

hookahs...no customers...no smokee

hookahs...no customers...no smokee

And around the corner, on 5ta Norte, another victim/casualty of the tobacco wars, Gaia….(less than gay these days)…despite a beautiful Mediterranean interior, a great location and a proliferation of hookahs(one on every table)…yes, I said hookah’s, not hookers but that’s not a bad backup plan because with the anti-smoking prohibition in place,what the hell do you do with a hookah except dust it? (the other suggestion has a few other options)…per the bartender, there may be a moratorium on May 15th…one would hope that they(and they other impacted bars)can stand another month of  disaffected clients. Reilly’s, a few doors down,  was packed, jammed, stuffed to the doorway, and obviously flounting the law. One could imagine a scene from Casablanca, with the Nazi Smoke Police busting them….’gambling(smoking?)I’m shocked!’

The Don eats his own food...Margarita & Lucia share

The Don eats his own food...Margarita & Lucia share

At the other end of 5th avenida, way south and out of the usual tourist loop is a quiet family owned operation offering the freshest fish, pasta and a superb thin-crust pizza…La Vineria Antigua, with Beppe D’Angella at the helm(Paolo left a few months ago…que malo)with Carmen at the bar and his mother, Lucia of the flaming red hair. Margarita(one of the twin blondes, a whole other story)his squeeze, can be found helping Lucia with her meds nightly. For a quiet hideaway, this rustic barrel-vaulted bistro, the ceiling festooned with photos of customer’s past, is hard to beat. A great assortment of wine and if you ask nicely, he might offer a shot of his home-made limoncello.

Carmen of the smiling face

Carmen of the smiling face

The only complaint: as noted, there is a cocktail on the bar…Stolichnaya con hielo but at 45 q? every other bar in town serves up the same drink for 25q…are the portions larger? No…is it the ambience? No…note to self…complain/explain to Don Beppe at a later date.

Read Full Post »

*flip thru it…

Ash Wednesday/Miercoles in the anti-smoking section: let’s consider the logic of the recently imposed anti-smoking ordinance. Most Guatemaltecoscan’t afford the price of a pack of cigarettes and of those that could afford same, only a small percentage smoke. As observed over the last week on the streets of Antigua, the majority of puffers are tourists and of those, specifically the younger hostel/student crowd, appear to be the major offenders. At the larger crowds, such as the processions, very few if any smokers were or have been seen. Therefore….drum roll, please…who are the intended targets of this ordinance? back-packers, students and foreign tourists? it would seem so, at least on the face of observation. Where is the logic of this? Walk by the Gato Negro hostel on 6th Ave or pop into Cafe No Se…observe the upper level of El Shaman after dark: students and a few locals who can afford the price of a cuba libre or two. This is not a large segment of the population and and hardly worthy of any kind of laws. If the powers that be want to impose health and safety regulations on the populace, observe the air pollution that covers the Panchoy Valley…pop a smokestack emission device on Volcan Fuego, demand that the cane fields be recycled in a more healthy fashion, insist that the chicken buses be retrofitted with exhaust controls and do something about the omnipresent dust that covers Antigua(and gets sucked into our lungs). If they are really serious, increase the tobacco tax, put a levy on ashtrays and matches/BIC’s, give the Tourist Police authority to confiscate the Marlboros and clean out the riff-raff once and for all…perhaps an occasional public flogging in Central Park? ah, the absurdity of it all. In the interest of scholarly research, it should be mentioned that a few in-depth expeditions into the dark underbelly of Guatemala City have been conducted, specifically a strip club or two…now, there’s some serious smoking going on(and not just on the stage)and it would appear that a health and safety issue might be present: if they’re going to bust people, then those are the places to start…clean out those dens of vice! handcuff those pole-dancers…strip search the strippers? hmm..I’d like to volunteer for that duty. Film at eleven!

The best maitre ‘d in Antigua? details to follow…’need to light up first.

Read Full Post »

Let’s call this the ‘Wounding of the Golden Goose’..with the new anti-smoking law in place, which is totally silly given Guatemala’s absurd and dismal record of consumer issues, it would appear that it’s aimed at a small segment of the population and to what aim? In Antigua, for example, a fair amount of the international tourist influx are smokers. A certain amount of the continual inbound hordes of language students add to that mix. This is not a rant about fresh air nor second hand smoke. This is simply a ‘freedom of behavior’ observation mixed with the inevitable economic impact on local businesses. Human nature tells us that people voluntarily choose to go to bars and consume intoxicating beverages. They likewise choose to indulge in risky behavior. I don’t think the Thought Police get this.  When bars and restaurants that cater to these kinds of individuals are restricted by ill considered legislation, the result is economic suicide or at the very least, a reduction of cash flow…people lose their jobs, suppliers lose their accounts and the government has less tax revenue. Think about this. If you went to your favorite hamburger place and they told you that you couldn’t have cheese on the Whopper because it was bad for you(and it may well be)…what would you do or say? Is cheese a right? is it an expression of your right for …’happiness’? Maybe I’m allergic to your latest fragrance from Duty Free or…it just makes me gag…do I demand that you wash yourself off, leave the area or turn yourself into the Scent Scouts? Maybe I could just move my chair a bit and get over it…

Secondly, the A-List…since the passage of the recently enacted anti-smoking laws in this fair country, several local bars and restaurants have sank to their knees, buckled under and generally debased themselves. The good news is that there a yet a few clandestine places of puffery(smoking, in other words). 

1. Reilly’s

2.Da Vinci

3.Tapas y tintos

4. Cafe No Se

5.Antigua Vineria

6.La Esquina

7. Kafka

Research! Send in your personal favorites and places to hide out and be bad..  The ‘A List?’….A  is for ashtray.

I’d heard of the gravesite of ‘the last Honduran gunfighter’ from a usually reliable source, and how could one not wonder or ask themselves the question…’what the ….?  Supposedly located in Antigua’s main cemetery, “turn right at the church, look along the wall past the arch and about halfway up”.  I went on Saturday. I went on Sunday. I went on Monday with ‘the usually reliable source.’   Nope…’empty crypt where the LHG was supposed to be…hmm. The conclusion was drawn by the URS that the rent had come due and they gave him the shoe. Like a hotel, when the rent is due, it’s due and you gotta leave or be escorted. So, the LHG was recycled in the poor part of the cemetery and ….wait, there’s more: the LHG died on New Year’s Eve, in the late nineteen hundreds, while sitting outside a bar on the square in Antigua. It took his cronies about an hour to figure out that he was dead, rather than passed out(the latter being more temporary in nature). The Last Honduran Gunfighter,  a dead-beat.

streets-002

 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts