everything i ever needed to know i learned by watching seinfeld. most of you who know me know i watch it religiously, but most of you have never caught the fact that half the shit i say is straight from the show.
anyway, there's this episode where jerry wants to break up with a non-laughing girl and go for her roommate. the switch. he and george cook up a scheme whereby jerry is to suggest a certain activity the three of them can do together which would, so the plan goes, disgust the girlfriend while subtly flattering the roommate thus succeeding in the switch. of course, if they're into it. . . . poor jerry just didn't know quite how to handle that. it's a whole other lifestyle. he'd have to grow a moustache. he'd have to get new friends.
later, when george wants to break up with a girl who has just lost all her furniture to her former male roommate, he tries the same scheme. unfortunately for him, it works for him too . . . .
anyway, here is the unedited and 100% accurate trip to puerto rico. see if you can tolerate or ignore another tale of the globetrotting rumdogs crew as i sit here tasting the bacardi no. 8 (not for retail sale in the us), straight, i begin to recall . . . . it's like they say, if you study stoned, you have to take the exam stoned or you'll blank.
never try to get out of my office early on friday. it's when they tally everyone's score and pick a winner. however, offer to buy my boss a lapdance, and he will leave with you - legitimizing the entire escape - and drop you wherever you need to be.
i won't bore you with the airport or the flight. it was all uneventful. i was traveling light and trying to move fast.
had the first cuba libre on the plane and was looking for more in the luis munoz international airport. first, though, i wanted to find bill's gate. remember this if you ever wind up in the puerto rican airport after 8 - there is only one place open and, if you go down to the baggage level, you will not be able to get back up to it.
bill arrived right on time and we headed out into the humid, drizzly night. taxi to the telly. the mariott hotel & casino is jumping. live music in the lounge, and babies everywhere. it was liver than some clubs i've been in and anyone can get in any night.
the cabanna room appeared at first as if it were a nice way to say, "we stuck you in the basement," but that feeling was dispelled when we opened the sliding door and stepped out into the pool complex, complete with hammocks steps from our room.
ring ring. inquisitive looks were exchanged and bill picked up the phone 5 minutes after our arrival. we were meeting with biff, et al., from new york, and points other, and one of the crew was staying in our hotel. we headed out to meet them.
now, i should say that both bill and i were aware of, say, where biff was coming from . . . . he wears speedos. we wear trunks. that's all good. we're all new millennium, mature people. you do what makes you happy, i'll do what makes me happy. anyway, we met up with the crew which turned out to be about 10 and headed for the bar of their choosing.
in his version, bill calls this the "topless" bar. and the male bartenders, and many of the male patrons, were indeed topless. not being our crowd, bill and i bailed and a line was drawn in the sand. we did not see them again except in brief passing.
we went looking for something to dance to and got heavy rain. i, as i have done many times before with many of you, decided the night was done and recommended the hotel lounge. lately, i've been realizing there is nothing like a hotel lounge. expensive, but powerful cocktails. the lounge at the Hudson in new york, the merryweather in new york, four seasons in boston, and everywhere in puerto rico are great places to go, even if you have other places to go to.
we woke up about 10. our last conversation with biff's crew had involved the beach in the morning, but bill and i hit the bacardi factory. free tour, 2 free drinks per person, and i travel with a non-drinker. i have discovered the perfect way to wake up.
my drinking habits tend toward the strong and simple. i don't go in for the fru-fru, shi-shi, flavored alcohols. i like my mixers, definitely, but no grey goose l'orange, please. that being said, bacardi limon and cranberry juice is an incredible drink.
the tour was cool and very informative. the bar at the end explained the origin of many famous rum-based bevies - the cuba libre, the mojito and the daquiri. i, being a connoisseur, noticed the bacardi reserve and no. 8. i consider myself an experienced liquor shopper and i had never seen those. our bartender explained they were not for sale in the us, nor was the bacardi 1857 which was described as a cousin to canadian whisky.
i've never had much use for canadians, so i picked up a bottle of the reserve and, as i sit with my 2nd no. 8 of this story (3rd on editing), think both purchases were well worth it. you're all welcome to try it when you next hit my place, but if you tell me to mix it with coke i will kill you.
after bacardi it was time for the beach and some cuba libres then, for a change of pace, the pool and some cuba libres. the weather was 85, the water was 85, it was tough to hate. the strangest thing was the large groups of men in speedos. there were basically 5 groups of people - (1) families; (2) couples/newlyweds; (3) men in speedos; (4) droves of single women in bikinis; and (5) me & bill. like shooting fish in a barrel.
we had some grub, hit the casino for a couple of cuba libres and a little blackjack and then it was out to club Babylon - the recommendation of several chicas out on the beach, by the pool, and in the casino.
worthy of it's own chapter, it did not really get going until the wee hours of sunday. the line was wack. the dj was wack. the local cockblockers were wack. it was one of the best nights of my life.
for the first 5 hours i danced mostly with bill and downed cuba libre after cuba libre after cuba libre and proceeded to sweat it right out. for the most part, i got pushy and belligerent with the cb's who would gather around every time bill or i started dancing with someone. "where you goin' man?" came out of my mouth to the balls standing around until about 2 when i just started pushing people . . . i mean, bumping into them while i was dancing.
then, while taking a break from the 95 degree dance floor, someone grabbed my ass. i was leaning over the railing on the 2nd floor trying to spy my favorite blonde of the night and look for chillbill out of the corner of my eye. i turned swiftly to my left to see a fine little girl walking down the stairs smiling at me. i turn around and, seeing two caucasians males roughly my age, let out an "oh, shit," with a smile. one of them sticks out his hand and says, with a definite lisp, "hi. my name is alex." i looked at him like he had sars and said, "yeah." so much for that. i still say it was the girl who grabbed my ass.
i found bill coming down the staircase behind me with two blondes from miami whose names i heard 50 times but cannot remember and another cuba libre for me. who says double fisting is inappropriate? here we are, at least 10 drinks into the night and bill has just opened a tab that has to hit at least $40 with $5 drinks and $2 sodas. that's got trouble for me written all over it. well, when you have to carry the weight . . . . i wound up sweating my ass off on the floor, only one button attached on the hawaiian shirt, and plenty left in the tank.
for some reason, right around 3, i started pulling honeys like a player. i found my blonde, asked her name, found out she was there with someone and pulled someone just as blonde minutes later. the dj is finally playing hip-hop only and giving the people shit to work with. at 3:30 we're thinking the club is going down in thirty and i'm thinking last call (turns out they don't shut down unit 5:30 or 6). pound drink number 1 and chill with number 2 back to the floor where all of a sudden someone taps me on my shoulder. . . .
i turn to see this tall, tan fellow and his tall, tan, very, very fine dance partner. he gives me dap, i dap back, and all of a sudden his dancer friend is dancing with me . . . very close. until 4 a.m. sunday i had never actually felt an ass you could crack eggs on. well, she turns back around and starts dancing with money again so i turn back to my less attractive dance partner, bill. a couple of minutes later, tap, tap, tap. . . . more dap is exchanged. she wants to dance again. well, if I have to. . . .
"hey, can i talk to you for a minute?"
the road to hell begins with a smile from a beautiful woman and a simple request from the dude she is with. after making him repeat himself 3 or 4 times and feeling honey, who can't get her little model hands off me, i find myself almost literally on the floor. maturity is an asset. bill rushes over to see what just happened. i held up 3 fingers and he caught on pretty quick. "go for it! i'll find my way back to the telly!"
i needed a minute so i dipped to the bathroom, where i get my best thinking done. i had to ask the local in the stall next to me what he would do. "man, i'm from here and those tourist bitches get freaky. besides, man, you don't have to look at him!"
i'm not sure what positions people do in these things, but i have a better than 180 degree field of vision. it's hard to decide which is worse because, of course, if i cannot see him, it means he's behind me and i may have to body someone in p.r. i thought I'd made myself clear in the opening chapter. then again, i could be the body. probably just paranoia and, to be honest, that's not what crossed my mind. i'd have to grow a moustache. i'd have to get swinger friends. it would take me weeks to grow a moustache, and i have enough problems with a normal sex life and you people. still, and bill can vouch - no bullshit - baby was baby; love was love; whatever. i was boosted unbelievably high by just the invite.
i went to the floor to tell them thanks, but no thanks (and maybe grab a kiss or two from honey first), but they were goners. a drunken message to the boss on his celly at 4:30 (if i had a story, i could avoid paying for the lapdance) and it was back to the hotel for contemplation while watching the sun rise over the ocean. i got a pepsi from the casino. the pit boss comp'ed me. it was my first non-alcoholic beverage in 36 hours.
as always, my final vacation days are short and sweet. asleep at 8, up at 10 and out to the beach/pool. right around 3:30 we decide to hit historic old san juan.
people, i'm in love with new york. i fell in love with amsterdam. i have always hated beaches and tropical climates. but, this place is something special. you can live in a lavender house and be the pimp of all pimps and the mack of all macks.
if you get a chance, stop in and see my man robbie at the jah rastafari store, san juan street # 366
old san juan, p.r. 00902, right after entering old san juan from the east. there's no missing the shop. he's got the spot and can point out the mysterious ways & mannerisms of the touristas and locals. he runs a small store the way you should. you come out from behind the counter and show the people around. while you're there, stop at the puerto rico café around the corner for some incredible grub in what is definitely a family-run establishment. the sangria is unbelievable.
we had little left in the tank after only 2 hours of sleep so, after i added to my as yet unframed collection of maps, we just chilled, strolled around, then headed back to the telly to chill listening to salsa music in the lobby. we had a very entertaining show as i seemed to see the whole world through new eyes. for all you ladies out there, white linen pants without panties are a very, very, very good idea. if yould sweat just a little, too, that's nice.
anyway, without much to go on and 6 dudes trying to pick up on pants and her friend, bill and i just kicked back and chilled with ginger-ale and cosmos. i hate to say it but i was completely out by 11:30 and had a morning flight.
the temperature was 85 degrees, the water was 85 degrees, i was the perfect level of sunburned, and i could see my breath when i got off the plane in boston. it wasn't fair. the $50 cab ride home sucked pretty bad and it got so cold that night that i had to kick the heat on. i, who have always hated the summer, found myself wondering where my 85 was. ah well, i'll always have puerto rico . . . .