Tag Archives: vacation

Becoming a Manny

26 Mar

Watching a man receive a pedicure through a window evokes many feelings. Mostly I want to yell something like, “Come on man, are you serious!” Then the lighter side of my manhood and my liberal upbringing tries to come to his defense. He may have extraordinarily disgusting feet that require small teams of Korean women to hack at his little piggies like deranged butchers. Maybe he has beautiful feet and enjoys wearing open-toed sandals. This has to be some kind of absurd mandate from a wife or girlfriend. He can’t be single and think that sprucing up his feet will get him laid.
“Oh they’re beautiful!” An old woman with that unmistakable ‘give granny a kiss’ intonation gestures toward me.
“What”? I reply, still fixated on the man’s toes.
“Your kids, they’re so handsome!” she continues. I forget momentarily that I am standing next to two young boys.
“Oh, they’re not mine. I’m not the father,” I say with the conviction of a two-time guest on the Maury DNA test results show.
“Then what are you”? says the old woman.
“I’m their older caretaker man friend.” The old woman looks very concerned. She politely nods, takes out her cell phone and either calls child protective services or Dateline: How to Catch a Predator. I don’t comprehend the creepiness of my statement until the five year old asks me what an older caretaker man friend is. “Well buddy, it’s a vaguely pedophilic term that I use to explain my job rather than tell people I’m a male nanny. Using my twisted logic, it’s better to sound like a pervert than come across as slightly effeminate.” The kid looks at me blankly, and then like the champion conversationalist five year olds are, he smoothly changes the topic. “Why is that man getting his toes painted? Isn’t that for girls”? The man looks through the glass and smiles at us. I shake my head slowly. “I really don’t know boys. Apparently not.”

8 Things You Will Encounter During Bus Travel in South America

13 Mar

False. No one is this happy before taking a bus.

1) Reggaeton Recliner– Let me preface this by saying if you are over six feet tall you ‘re fucked. South America is best enjoyed at around 5’9” There will always be a guy who sits down in the seat in front of you and immediately without hesitation or regard for knee caps and menisci will recline as far as he can go. He then usually puts on absurdly loud Reggaeton, Salsa, or Cumbia and pretends not to feel taps on his shoulders.

2) Narcoleptic Recliner– This is a variation of number one, but equally as annoying. This person arrives on the bus and apparently hasn’t slept in months because they immediately recline their seat, fall asleep and begin snoring within seconds. Now maybe this person has just finished back-to-back marathons and has asthma and is narcoleptic and I am too harsh in my judgment. Or maybe they are inconsiderate slobs. Is it even possible to sleep for 16 hours straight without coming down from an acid trip? Do every one a favor and take a quick nap before the bus, snore it up all you want, and then just sit there and stare straight forward like every one else.

3) Segal– Are you a fan of Steven Segal? No? Then you’re fucked. Be prepared to watch at least one and more likely 900 Segal movies. From his memorable role as Jonothan Cold in “Black Dawn” to his striking performance as Harlan Banks in “Today You Die,” Segal sizzles on the small, blurry, and often cracked monitor. Groggy bus passenger audiences sit captive watching his ponytail flail about as he nonchalantly karate chops helpless goons from Rio to Bogota. One time a Sarah Michelle Gellar movie came on, and a man in the front of the bus punched the driver for treason. Segal is king.

4) Balls Cold– If you own Arctic commando fatigues, you are in luck. If you have ever trained to survive sub-zero temperatures then you will be well suited for bus travel in South America. Apparently there are no such things as knobs to control temperature on buses here. The bus temp always hovers around the more reasonable ‘balls cold,’ to ‘cryogenics cavern cold.’ Just pray the trip is under 20 hours, if not, you will be dealing with respiratory illness and or frostbite. According to NOAA, (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) 24 people die in the U.S. every year from issues related to the cold. Last year in South America, 7,000 people died from cold buses and lack of blood circulation due to insufficient legroom. That is a made up fact, but seriously bring a hoody.

5) Anytime Minutes– Someone in your near vicinity will either dial or receive close to 500 cell phone calls. They will have an obnoxiously loud ring tone and will wait until the last possible ring to pick up. The conversations always have something to do with how slow the bus is going and what time they may or may not arrive. Look, we are all on the same terrible bus ride, text your mom or loved one when you are close. We’ll get there shortly barring any horrific accident involving high speeds and sketchy roads… oh wait.

6) Move Bitch Get Out the Way!– One of the most popular practical jokes in South America is to take a big clumsy bus with bad suspension, drive it 100 miles per hour in pouring rain over steep, curvy mountain roads while passing cars on blind corners. Don’t worry, all drivers in South America have watched Tokyo Drift at least three times, you’re in good hands. Sure, it’s pretty frightening for the entire duration of the trip, but once you arrive at your destination you exchange clammy high fives and nervous laughter with the driver. It’s really just a great joke.

7) Gnarly Food Decisions– Bring food and water like you are preparing for a long winter full of earthquakes. While some bus companies provide a luke warm, unidentifiable entrée, the majority will only stop once at the finest dimly lit roadside shack. If you have never tried a cold doughy ball full of raw chicken and old cheese, this is your chance. If you are a brave and self-proclaimed “foodie” then by all means go ahead, but be prepared to visit a farmacia or bano within the next several hours. Oh yea, and good luck with the bathroom. Some buses don’t even have one; others do but never have toilet paper, and some inexplicably read, “For urinating only.” My advice is a big bag of Doritos, yogurt and water.

8) Elbow Battler– If you are traveling solo, chances are someone is going to sit next to you. The best you can hope for is a small girl that doesn’t say anything or move the whole trip. This never happens. You will most likely receive some heavily scented man with a Napoleon complex who swears he needs just as much room as someone twice his size. Dude, I swear I’m not trying to be a dick, I just need a little more leg and shoulder room than you, its just how I’m built. Please stop battling me for elbow position and using every bump in the road as an opportunity to encroach on my already tiny seat.

That's more like it.

Hard Hollers at the Taco Truck

8 Mar


I have the excellent fortune of living in the presence of taco trucks. L.A. is cheese full of these mobile smile bringers. I have never heard anyone say, “Ah shit, there’s a taco truck here.” It’s always more like, “Ohhhhhhh shit!” Taco trucks bring two important things to street corners; burritos and drunk girls. This is one of the most underrated places to meet a girl in your city.

Drunk, Hungry and Horny
During the day the taco truck is a peaceful glimpse into local food culture where day laborers and business folk alike bond over cheap, tasty eats. When night falls, however, the truck is inundated with loud drunks testing out their 9th grade Spanish and spilling Jarritos on their shoes. I realize what I just described sounds awful to most people, but if you are tolerant and swift enough to dodge some wayward toronja, you have the potential to bond with a member of the opposite sex over the three most important characteristics of a 2am creature of the night: being drunk, being hungry and being horny. If you were to check a box of needs and emotions after leaving a bar or club, one if not all three would pop up. The comradery two hungry and horny drunks share while waiting in a line for food is unparalleled. The same girl who was not giving you attention at the bar, will suddenly open up to you like you’re Barbara Walters and her career hangs in the balance.
“What are you going to get?”
“A burrito.” She replies.
“Nice.”
It really is that simple. After that its no holds barred. Ask her favorite color, her thoughts on the Iraq war, her preferred fuck ficky. It doesn’t even have to make sense because you are both experiencing the same emotions and both striving toward the same goal.

Strategy and a Little Bit of Suerte
Let me put it in economic terms. A normal night out at a bar might include cover charges, several drinks, and hours of pursuing girls who may or may not be interested in you. Not to mention taking the risk of drunk driving or having to take an expensive cab ride home. All told it comes to around fifty dollars and a headache the next morning. If you went to your local town fair and there was a tent with a sign that read, ‘$50 to stare at women and then get a headache,’ you would burn that tent to the ground and write a formal complaint to town fair management.
Here is what I suggest: split a fifth or a 30 rack with a couple close friends and play Madden or Call of Duty from 9pm to 1:30 am. Take a bus to your local bar/taco truck area (you can walk, skate or bike too but mind the shit eating in bushes). Arrive at the taco truck just as the bars let out. Find a cute drunk girl who keeps whining, “All I want is a quesadilla! Oh my god.” Slide in line and start up a convo. Remember it starts out about burritos, but then go ahead and get crazy. She’ll be into it. You’re in taco truck world now. Suerte.