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Tequila Sunset

by Takeo De Meter

We were doing a job for the Brech-, Abführ- und Stopfmittel Fabrik AG, a world-famous German client of the Swiss engineering company that employed us. And since our work contract was ruled by German law, this also implied that, at a given moment, we were obliged to take 8 weeks vacation in one go as to compensate for overtime, overseas work conditions etc. I would have preferred some extra money but there was no way of escaping this. So Hideki, my honorable colleague, best friend, total pain in the ass AND owner of a locally purchased ratty 2 1/4 LWB SII, and me found ourselves loading up his truck on a rainy Saturday morning. Hideki-san, the prototype of the Japanese Hollywood rendition of a short, jet black-haired, myopious jap nerd (which he, in fact, was) had ever seen a Mexican movie back home, dubbed in Japanese (lol) except for some musical parts by a Mariachi accompanying very sexy looking Mex gals who were dancing. Since the movie must have been made in the 60ies, I can imagine just HOW sexy they must have looked like. Anyhow, it must have stirred something in the spirits of this pupil of Toukyou Daigakku, making him absolutely wild with desire for spending a „holiday“ in Mexico. Since he did not speak any Spanish but I do, and he thought Mexicans would not be too keen on trying to understand his perfect Engrish, he had insisted on accompanying him. He also thought that I would like Mexican girls. He had also added that the drive would not be all THAT far (his fear of flying was legendary). Ok, all is relative, but there was NO WAY I would even think of attempting to drive from Ecuador to Mexico.

So what we loaded into his truck was nothing more than both our backpacks and we would leave the truck in the garage of our site maintenance unit, conveniently located a few hundred yards from the chopper pad. Since this was a large development site, the garage was located some 10 miles from where our „offices“ were.
28 (!) hours later we touched down in Mexico and it took Hideki the whole 2 hours of taxi drive to our hotel to start looking human again, i.e. to regain his nice yellow complexion and to evaporate most of the alcohol he had needed to survive the flight. I was already looking kinda yellow and that is not my natural color either.

Looooooooooooong shower, scrubscrub washwashwash shavescrapeshave etc. Go to hotel lobby shop and buy new fresh shirts, pants, watch etc. Begin to look human again, sortof. Get evening meal, go to bed with bottle of scotch and sleep, sleep and sleep some more. Must have been 24 hrs or so.
So a day and a half later we meet again at a breakfast table and Hideki is all over the place with excitement, totally exhilarated that he has made it to his dream destination and presents me with 5 or 6 sheets of paper on which he has made an elaborate travel plan. He pushes the papers under my nose and asks me what I think. I answer that by now he should know that I cannot read Kanji. I was raised by a Japanese girl and can read Hiragana but this does not make me a full-pledged citizen from the Land of the Slanted Hangover. So he gets into a lengthy explanation of what he wants to do now: a 7-week tour of the country in a rented car so that he can get an overview of the compatibility of local ethnic groups that may suit his taste and where from he might condescend to choose a female member to become his new life companion instead of the bad cook he had in Japan..

I asked the taxi driver to bring us to a used car place, which he did. Ocasiones de Santa Ana or something. I was impressed: at least 15 acres filled with the most unprepossessing collection of junk I have ever seen, most of it stacked 3 tiers. Oldest must have been built around 1925, youngest say 1968. Trucks, vans, cars, tractors and the like. Large shed in the middle of the yard, corrugated roof and all. Mean-looking dogs too. We were greeted by a man in his fifties, about 5 feet tall and about as wide and who stank of sweat, tobacco and cheap booze. Nice. I asked Hideki if this was the place he wanted to be. I reminded him that we could easily afford any NEW Ford Bronco or the like and not even lose a lot if we sold it after the trip. Hideki seemed to understand what I was saying but the junkyard owner who sensed that we were not exactly thrilled by what we saw told us that he had a couple of really nice cars kept inside, for special customers only, he added. So we followed him into the large shed. I still don‘t know why we followed him at all.

„That is my car !‘ exclaimed Hideki, pointing at a ragtop LWB SII loaded with what looked like 2 tons of donkey manure. The junkyard owner explained that it was his own and that his son had just brought it in to top up the oil before he would drive her home so he could go spread the shit in his garden. The Gods must have been in a real pranky mood that day because eight hundred dollars later we were helping that guy shoveling the stuff out of the truck near his home after which we went to park it in the railway marshaling yard where we found enough water to hose and brush and wipe the fertilizer smell away. So much for wearing clean clothes again for the first time after 6 solid months in the jungle. When that Solihull contraption was kinda cleaned out, we made it back to our hotel where we showered, changed into some fresh clothes and settled our bills. We threw our stuff in the back of the truck and drove off. We stopped by some sort of a LARGE supermarket and bought all kinds of supplies, including a small tent, 2 large CO2 fire extinguishers for cooling drinks under way, about 50 cans of Coke®, some canned food and a carton of cheap Jamaican rum. It was noon when we left the shop and we headed South, towards Acapulco, following the main road.

The truck mostly had looked old and very dirty, papers said it was built 1967 so that was not so bad 12 years later. It was almost identical to Hideki‘s SII back in Ecuador. Engine sounded ok, gearbox didn‘t whine more than any other and even the lights were working. We had taken the top off and were sipping coke out of the can, topped up with rum. Nice. An occasional WOOSH of CO2 kept the drinks cool. I was pleased with the ride on tarmac, for once it did not feel as if my kidneys were going to be shaken into my boots and since Hideki had also bought a thick pillow to sit on, he could also actually SEE where he was going. Bit short reach for the pedals but these were hardly needed on this long stretch of road. What even pleased me more is that you can‘t converse in a Landy, short of shouting yourself silly. I hate having to blab away in a car. Personally I would have preferred a new Ford Bronco with an airco but what the heck. Had to spend these two lost months anyway and I did not feel like going home to Europe. Could as well try to make the best of it and try to have some fun where we were now. I had seen pictures of beaches and babes in Acapulco and maybe Hideki‘s idea was not so bad after all. But I had some doubts as to the effectiveness of a Series II as a tart trap, though, even in Mexico. By nightfall, we pulled into a small town and found a sortof decent hotel with indoor plumbing and all. Rooms were cheap, then, like 5 dollars or so. Room also started to stink of donkey shit after I had brought my backpack in. Should have used some soap when washing that truck. Can‘t be much of a babe magnet, either, smelling like that in the evening heat. Decided to go look for a shop, first thing in the morning.

After a breakfast that consisted of about a litre of black coffee and some sweet pastries we went shopping and loaded a bucket + gallon of scented dishwashing liquid + another gallon of sodium hypochlorite solution + a collection of rags and brushes into the S II and drove off, back on our way south.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Click here for Part Two Part Three

Takeo.