In Los Cabos, we arrived at the hotel right at dusk as the groundskeepers were lighting the candles and tiki torches that illuminated the paths through the garden. The place was beautiful.  The architecture is traditional Mexican: terracotta floors, whitewashed walls, colorful ceramic tiles, red-tiled roofs, and an idyllic garden, full of fountains, banana trees, bougainvilleas, birds of paradise and swaying palm trees. As soon as we arrived, a young woman met us at the door with tropical drinks, and as we checked in, the bellman gave us the usual tourist lowdown: “If you look out on the water, you will see the whales swim by. They jump up and splash, using their pectoral fins to make noise, calling the other whales in their pod.” Of course, I assumed he was a lying bastard, like most people who work in the tourist industry. I told my daughter, “They probably give all of the tourists the same line of bull.”

I really didn’t care what was going on in the ocean. I brought myself a thick biography on Timothy Leary and my only plan was to sit on the beach, soak up the sun, and read. My goal was to forget that fiendish bastard patient that I had left back in Illinois: Chicken Man. It was he who had put me through so much anxiety over the last several months, calling me on the phone, leaving messages on my answering machine, and sending me email photos of chickens, turkeys and aquatic fowl. Maybe I had misdiagnosed him from the get go. I figured he was an obsessive-compulsive, the kind of person that vacillates endlessly. For almost a year, he rambled on and on about not being able to make a commitment, about not being able to make a decision, and the chief symptom of his pathetic existence was the goddamn chicken. Maybe he was more like Pickle Man? Month after month of a perverse description of putting his penis into the pickle cutter, never telling me that the pickle cutter was not a machine, it wasn’t a razor sharp guillotine poised to turn him into John Wayne Bobbit, a man forever separated from his manhood. Nope. It was a female coworker, who probably was probably in on the scheme to drive the shrink crazy. That is what it was: they were both perverts, the kind of person who tells a story full of lurid and fleshy details, inviting the shrink in all of us to watch, and then just when you think there is something to it, they hit you with the punch line.

Then, they leave you for dead, like road kill on an abandoned highway. I badly needed solace.

The rooms were spacious. The verandas that looked out onto the bay from rocky shoreline, and the bathroom had a walk-in-shower and an overflow bathtub. Upon arrival, I could tell that the service was going to be overwhelming. The hotel offers a twenty-four-hour-a-day butler who will unpack your luggage, press your slacks, bring you expensive snacks, and keep your glass of tequila full. The maids offer an aromatherapy turndown menu in which they will spray your sheets with your selection of herbal essences. There were hammocks on the beach, a Jacuzzi overlooking the surf, and two infinity swimming pools, which made the water look like it extended out toward the horizon.

Right after we got settled into the hotel, my youngest daughter told us she was feeling ill.  She hadn’t gotten sick from drinking the water in Mexico; she had been sick before we left Chicago. We mistakenly thought that she would get better as we traveled. Unfortunately, she was going to need antibiotics. Anywhere else in the world, we would have to make an appointment with a doctor, but this is not the case in Mexico. We explained our situation to the doorman at the hotel and he ordered us a taxi. We told the driver what we needed, and a couple of phone calls later we were at a pharmacy in downtown San José. The pharmacist looked like he had just been paroled from San Quentin. Under his white coat, he had tattoos on his hands, up his arms, and all over his neck and chest. Nonetheless, he was very polite and we were on our way to a hassle free and long-lasting, dealer-client relationship. He had everything we would ever need: penicillin, ampicillin, amoxicillin, and tetracycline. We also had our choice of zoloft, pexeva, zyban, viagra, cialis, levitra, crestor, lipitor, zocor, pravachol, lescol, and mevacor. Although I didn’t see Oxycontin on his menu, I am pretty sure he could get it. No prescription, no credit, no questions, no problem. The joint was cash only, and our pharmacist, like so many in the United States, was a licensed dope dealer.

Within an hour we were back at the hotel, getting dressed for dinner. The girls were going to have dinner in their room, while my wife and I were going to have a romantic dinner for two. There were two specials on the menu: the first was an ensemble of yellow-fin tuna sashimi and salmon roll sushi. The second dish was wood-fired roasted chicken, basted with rosemary butter and lime. The waiter recommended the chicken. The new chef, –he added–, was a recent arrival to Los Cabos. He hailed from Leon, a city in Southern France that was the center of classic cooking. He added, “Back in Europe, among his colleagues at the Ecole de Cuisine, he is known as ‘Monsieur Poulet’…”

Involuntarily, I winced, turned my knees inward, and leaned forward to protect my crotch. My wife took one look at me and said, “Chicken? No thanks.  I think we will have sushi this evening.”

Cross-posted at “My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy”

About the Author

Jimmy Gabacho

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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