Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Living a Summer Dream

I've been in La Paz now for four days.  Apparently, John Steinbeck passed through here on his trip to discover himself.  La Paz used to be the site for pearl divers.  Then the Spaniards found out and extincted the pearl beds.  So, when Steinbeck came to La Paz, no pearl divers existed.  Nonetheless, I'm fairly certain (though I have to look this up) that he wrote The Pearl by being inspired by La Paz.  The great irony is that I read The Pearl in my Russia trip and not this one.

Since, I've been in La Paz, I've done two things: boxing and scuba diving.  You couldn't get two more distinct sports.  The prior is hard, arduous, for the poor, and mainly done by Mexicans, at least here.  The latter is easy, leisurely (for the most part), for the rich, and mainly done by white foreigners. 

The Ceviche Man took me to boxing.  I bought Ceviche, which is raw fish cooked in lime juice, from him, and we started talking.  And I told him the Mexicans taught me to box in Los Angeles.  He said he boxed for recreation too, and that he would take me if I'd meet him the day after at 5:30pm.  True to both our promises, I went to the La Paz boxing gym with the Ceviche Man and his son.  His son's so cute at the age of six, and he took a real liking to me.  The kid and me really connected after boxing, as the three of us ate shaved ice with mango syrup and sweet milk after.

The gym was run by a black Cuban.  I have to admit their gym is a better facility than mine at home.  It also has more boxers.  It's larger, with six black punching bags that run through the middle.  They even have two rings in there!  Of course, the weight room is hence much smaller. 

They noticed quite quickly I was a left handed boxer.  Southpaw in Spanish, I found out is "del sur."  From the South.  Pretty cool translation.  Although the coaches mainly focused on what they needed to do, one coach took to me right away and trained me to block better.  That was nice.  =)  They all seem to notice, with the exception of the pro boxers there that my technique and punches have been well drilled, better than their beginners.  I can owe that to my boxing club at home.  In general, the street people actually do call me Pacquiao.  I suppose this is better than what I used to be called when traveling: Jackie Chan.

Today, I took a rather pricey scuba diving boat far into the blue Sea of Cortez.  To me, the sea looked like a liquid sapphire, and was as calm as a mother's peace and as a still as a frozen sheet of blue ice.  What took me by surprise, however, is the chilling water.  I thought the water would be warmer in Mexico, but even with a 7mm wetsuit, I started shivering in my scuba dives.  I can't get the photos out of my underwater camera, but I took pictures of multicolored Moray Eels and my favorite: water dogs - sea lions. 

Oh, they were so cool.  They really are like puppies of the ocean.  They came and rubbed up against my hands while I was submerged in water.  They even squealed, and I could feel their hard whiskers against my bare hands.  I petted them over and over again, as they rolled and twirled near me.  They were like the acrobats of the ocean, who were playing with their new human friend.  What dexterity and agility they had!  Dancing and swirling in the water, like it was some kind of playground for them.

Another plus of the trip was I met a Flemish-Spaniard.  (Flemish is another way of saying people from Belgium.)  He used to be the ex-vice president of Toshiba Europe.  We chit chatted about my future, and I have to say he gave me awesome advice and his email address.  We definitely clicked, as he could sense I had another life - one from his world - before I entered my present reality.

On the boat ride back, we ate sandwiches on a white beach.  I would've liked a beer or a mechilada.  But, a sweet pepsi would do. 

When we jetted back, on the sapphire sea, I saw the reddish purple desert mountains meet the blue sea and the blue and white open and infinite sky.  I felt like I was flying on the bluest, summer dream.  And I was sure of it, when I saw baby sting rays jump and fly out of the water and back into it.  At some point, we came across a pod of dolphins that were shooting in and out of the water like torpedoes.  I sat on the sunniest part of the boat, without a shirt and basked in the sun and watched all that was happening around me.  I mean, imagine jetting on the Sea of Cortez, having just finished playing with sea lions, being advised by an ex-president of a great company, passing the bar, and having no worries at the moment in the world.  I don't believe I ever felt freer in life.

I called Mom today.  She asked what I was doing in Mexico.  I told her everything I was doing.  And she said, "You know I'm at work right now.  I just have to say, your life sounds like a dream.  Have fun."

I called my father.  He said, "What are you doing there?  Come back already.  I want to see you."  And I thought, Oh, no.  I'm not coming back now.  You can see me anytime when I'm back.  And by the way, you never even made an effort to see me when I was back in the States.  So, I want you to remember, take advantage of the present when I do come back

But of course I deflected his request more diplomatically.  "Well Father, I am writing.  I'm revising a law review article.  It's quite difficult for me to write, when I'm so distracted by you and others in Los Angeles."

He said, "Well, that sounds good - I guess.  Would you like to go to Korea to see my mother before she passes away?  You'll be a lawyer now, and you should see her as such."

I don't really like Grandma because I don't have a relationship with her.  I've seen her four times in my life, and each time, not for very long.  She's too old archaic in her ways for me.  She's trapped in some way of life that dates to Shamanism and farming in my opinion.  The gap is so wide for the two of us.  I guess the request used to irritate me because I always thought Father should see his own mother, not send me as his delegate.  After all, I did tell him once: she's your mother; not mine!

But I calculated it all, and thought, hmm, I have enough miles to get from Korea to Cambodia.  And I've always wanted to see Cambodia.  "Well, Father," I said, "I think I would like to go to Korea soon."

"That's good."  He said.  "We'll get you a nice suit.  A Korean one."

"No," I said.  "It needs to be Italian or German.'

"What's a matter with you?"

"Hey - do you want me to wear a suit you buy or do you want to buy a suit I never wear?"

"Fine.  Get your Italian suit."

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