Hi people if Reddit. I've known I should post this encounter of mine for you all on this sub for months. I've been slow to, mainly b/c I usually come here to relax and reap the lessons of your tales. I'm a selfish bitch basically haha. My inner nag though, she just couldnt let me shake the feeling that maybe somebody needs to hear my experience for whatever reason. Maybe not, but I believe in giving back what you can when you can. Manners. I know a couple-o-posts I've read on this sub have changed me, educated me to be careful, & invited me in to see the shit that's keeping them up at night. So... here I type in thanks ye authors of letsnotmeet. I tried too keep it from becoming a novel..
I'll start by sharing the fact that a I'm female living in the Pacific NW so you dont picture some Jon lol. I am 30 something years old now; this happend 15+ years ago. I took a would-be summer job south of the US West Coast boarder in Baja Cali. It was a good 10-15 months after HS. I needed a break from my very tight social/family circle of about 30, and if not then, when? FFWD past the exedus and a slow push of paperwork and I am tan and without a care in the sunny state of Baja California Sur Mexico for about a month's time. I had gone down with another chic from my city, Dessy. She had a decade on me age wise, and was in the midst of what could be discribed as being 'the height of her mid-life crisis'. She was accepting of that fact, Im no jury. Seperated from her husband, and father of her two grade-school aged kids, well lets just say she was down there borrowing trouble at every corner. We both had been set-up with a tourism promoting gig with a prime location at the airport in the town over, San Jose del Cabo. RCI prepaid our housing expenses at a hotel about 8 blocks from the pacific ocean in San Lucas which we would have to repay as we earn commission. This was all set up in advance by our beloved mutual friend Joanne. The trip was (expected to be) for a three month period. For her it was just that. I came home 4.5 years later; and only as a direct result of the tragic 9/11. Its ripple effect on tourism left no other option for me - as a non Mexico citizen. Ironic? Perhaps. Thats another story, for a different sub Reddit.
The Santa Fe Hotel was quaint, not a 5 star by any stretch, but it was away from the party scene and it was clean. It offers a kidney pool/hot tub too, which was a bonus! I took full advantage of the pool by jumping in fully clothed after work each and every day. :) Also, there is a little store street side, with all the basics: milk, bread, deodorant ... Modelo etc. It even had a lavandoria (laundromat) with maybe three washers and a couple dryers to wash our clothes. Heres a pic. [Santa Fe Hotel] https://goo.gl/images/K41KuA
BTW I definately dont remember it being nearly as nice as that pic, at least the seating, it has clearly been upgraded from the plastic lawn chairs that were there at the time. And how they caught a photo opp on the only cloudy day they saw all year is impressive. Our needs were beyond met.
Of those first 4-5 weeks in the "Company Housing" my friend and roomate Dessy came home to crash, 3, MAYBE 5 nights in total. I just assumed she was with our mutual friend Jo on most of those nights; they had a history between them dating back to HS after all, and were much, much, closer than I had been to either of them.
That assumption I had on her whereabouts was squashed flat when Jo came looking for Dessy on one afternoon. "Dess?, what the hell?! ..she 's not with you?!" I asked "I haven't seen Dess since I took the both of you to finalize your paperwork at the immigration office a week and a half after you arrived in Cabo!" Jo. Explained. "But... I have heard she hangs out at The Love Shack alot, ..I'll check there." she said carefree, to dissarm my wide eyes no doubt. "Let her know she needs to call me if you do see her drop by, ok?" Asked Jo "Kay" I agreed, skeptically.
People, (..sigh) where she stayed those nights, those weeks, I had no freaking idea. For the most part, I still don't! (I will say though, we haven't seen each other much in the past ten plus years. Not by accident either. When we had crossed paths, I got a glimps of that dress I used to own or my _____ fillintheblank!! Hmmmm I still have her family photos tho?!) If you can tred through these brief connections between us prior to the meeting with human traffic professionals that she arranged, you might understand how the cluessless find danger. Bare with me.
Moving on.... She always showed up to training those first couple weeks, and later on that month she would be there working at the airport. It was in our contract after all. The airport we worked at, the only airport, is 45 min away from the Santa Fe. At times she would show up in the morning to catch the work van in the am with the Villa crew & I, but after the flights were done -poof gone. If she stayed for them all that is. I didnt care really, I didnt know what it was like to be a Mom snd Wife so who am I to judge. She got very defensive and angry when I dutifully probed her about her goings on at night during those first weeks when she did come by The Fe for a change of clothes that afternoon Jo stopped in. Honest. I could have cared less, really! She seemed fine health-wise. Besides, she preferred other Gringos company, and I was there to meet the local people where they were , and they got a kick outta me too lol. However, we often had work obligations, like employment paperwork. The where would be asked.
So, this one peticular Saturday she rolls into The Fe for the sake of her own minimum hygene requirements: shit, shower, & shave. At which time she offers what her day off entailed thus far, and even notes specifically that she had met a very nice couple. Odd, she is pitching me. "I think you would like them!" Dessy Says to me through smiling eyes "I hung out with them yesterday, and again last night.. they are super cool!" She says excited. (...Ok, a pattern? She might be slowing her roll?!) I'm thinking to myself. (Naw... she's probably only chattin' it up about this 'nice friendly couple' because she left in thick dramatics of Novela proportions a few nights prior, and without any dispute she was lookin & being pretty fucking reckless!) Was my inner dialog. Reckless even for her. She stormed out without even changing into fresh clothes. Quick stop cut short of its purpose after an exchange of words between us. Broken record skips to where she complained that I had 'offended her' and 'made her sound like a slut' (her words). What was I supposed to say when I was asked about her whereabouts that would please her? Nothing at all is whats ok thats what. Lol We had a love hate relationship, can you tell? Misfits paired momentarily, and forged only through happenchance through third party bonds each honored by the ither just enough to fudge through our missgivings. Heres the duo lol... she a tall masculine Jamie Lee Curtis likeness with a spot on replicated courtney love personality - to my Ani Defranco no bullshit attitude and look minus the anti men crusade. YES
Anyway, so shes repeating her line about how nice the couple was- "...and they aren't Mexican, they are from Argentina" they came here on thier fishing boat.." She explains (OH, is shes inviting me out?) I started to put the plot together when.. "They want to meet you" Pops outta her mouth.
(Damb. WTF? Why? ...Weird) I'm thinking (A day or three ago we were just in a spat) But Im also kinda relieved so I sucuum to the idea, backing in slowly. It's better to keep the peace. Though I didnt see her often, that doesnt mean she wasnt exhausting to fight with when she was around. On and on she could drag it out with all the 'feelings I gave her' or She '..sees (whatever) emotions I'm emitting' from '(whateva) chakra' blah blah. Yuk. I have three brothers.
(Bitch this is Mexico, Im omitting beans through my ass Chakra haha!)
So anyway, Im trying so hard to be one of the girls at this stage in my life so I bite my tongue alot (that entire year honestly) And I reply "They do?! Well ok, sure when?" Agreeing to go. "In a couple hours" she replies. (Today?) "Ok, where?" I ask. "The little bar a couple blocks down" Dessy explains. (Bar? Near? Hmm where?) Not picturing where she is speaking of I question her further. "On this same street?" To which she confirms "Yeah". Apologizingly I continue "I dont know where you mean?" (Truely, in the 109+ times Ive walked to the beach in the past month; no bar what~so~ever pops up in my mind) She must be mistaken, small town. "You mean, over a block maybe?" I correct, though Dess ends my 10000 Questions with "Nope". Final answer. I agree to let her show me the way in an bit, though still very skeptical its on our street. It cant be far. There was only ONE stoplight in Cabo at that time! Only a few paved blocks beyond the Transpeninsular HWY, all marina side.
We shower, a little makeup is put on the cheeks, I take my hair down for a change, and after a short delay we are off & on our way down the dirt road. Headed south toward the Marina/ocean. When we get a few blocks down Dess, seemingly out of nowhere, stops and announces: "..OoHHhh ..they ..arent ..here yet?" Looking around. (I see only residential in my tunnel vision) hmm (??) "...We ...arent ..there yet either, ..are we?" I chuckle to myself confused. "It's right there -> Dess points to a two story structure 'stuck' between two others - its lost in plain sight. Picture The San Fransico Bay construction style houses. All plastered together. Tight and all but seamlessly; only different, these ones are very very small and duh: Mexico style. So basically you see re-bar rusting at the highest points. The one she is pointing at looks like bottom floor is just one room, but one wall is from the building to its left, and the other is borrowed from the one on the right each its own color. A long bar takes up half the space running from front to back on the right with a tiny opening to get behind it on the far wall which has one shelf with maybe a half dozen bottles. Two/three stools are on the other half of the lower room. That fills the entire bar space. The doorway to enter is on the stool side. Just beyond the stools is a windy circular set of rickety wire stairs leading up to the up to the only other sitting room. It's without the front wall for the most part, gapping hole from about a persons shins to head and te same width. It faces out to us as we stand on the dirt street. No glass window-Hacienda style but with a roof. Painted a drab grey in front, no wonder it was easily missed by me dozens of times over. Easily missed by locals, Im certain of it, solely due to the lifeless grey was painted. A very odd color choice. Thinking back, nothing was accidental about the guise the establishment embodied for its purpose.
Now I clearly see, nope, the couple was in fact not there. I could see the entire establishment from where we stood. Though it was built as what appeared to be an afterthought, it probably used to be a sleek alley recently. Now dubbed a "bar" by the owner with a humble driftwood plank hanging above the entrance. Not unlike a treehouse. No bathroom for its own, though a shared makeshift lou communal between the neighboring structures was tucked behind a clothesline curtain. I doubt water was piped in, but could have been.
We agree to go in and order a couple beers. The downstairs could only fit two, three patrons tops, so we go up to the second floor. There isnt much to it either, one single low to the floor round table, and four leather & wicker bucket seats traditional to Mexico. Thats it, and it filled the entire space. No shit! There's one bartender, who also doubles as the waitstaff. I assume he is also the owner. He offers two beer choices, we point to our selections and without speaking a word he leaves warm unopened bottles of beer one in front of each of us. Not once catching eyes with me. I brushed it off as him being shy and embarrassed possibly too, maybe it was just that. Nah
We get our drinks opened and the couple shows up within a few minutes. Initially they both seem normal as far as appearences go. Picture this: 5'9" or so, olive skin, slender, but not skinny, both of them fit that mold. The pair also shared similar beady eyes, obscured though behind med tinted sunglasses. Like many people we met they had a natural no nonsense hair duo, with no products or perfumes. I doubt deoderant was in there travel packs, either. The woman didnt shave but it wasnt off putting at all. Very heavy accents greeted us. (but from where?) The man was kinda dressed like the crocodile hunter, and the woman who seemed more like a sister than a wife, was also in garb not unlike the Crocs 'Laayydee friend' Tans - khakis - army greens and cargo pockets. Not sure but possibly even workboots or hiking boots, though as I said I cant be sure. As plain and forgetable as the building they had invited us to, so they were -or so they appeared.
My whole body went on high alert within minutes of thier arrival. I know, to look at them as I discribed was not alarming. They also had plane names. I remember them to be something like Pat n Jose or simular. Above all, what I noticed right away, was HOW they spoke. It was... Well it was off. Not the accent, ..well that too - but mainly the fact that their broken English was forced. Let me explain, when you spend any amount of time around people who don't have a common language with you, a time comes when either you need something or visa versa. When ut does humanity finds a way for you to communicate without many/any words. Similar to the game charrades, you use your movements, universal gestures, or draw pictures. Basically anything you can do to fill in the gaps. These two - made gaps- gaps that didn't need to be there, if that makes any ioda of sense.
One partial sentence that burned in my mind from that afternoon was the woman saying " ..In Ingles how do you say!? ..Uuup?!" Bad acting. The conversation, or better said, script they spat (very cunninly) could be chalked up by me, or anyone with any bit of street smarts for that matter, as a ploy to convince (two dumb white girls from the US) that Mexico makes it super hard and expensive to work, so why bother. With them as our friends we could cut our losses (though funny thing is we never complained or discussed our work requirements with them, we just sat down!) Rest assured they pleaded, we should jump for joy as today we just hit a great fortune in meeting them, our worries were now over.
The worries that didnt exist.
They tried diligently to persude us with a confident tone and carefull execution (that was to me clearly rehersed) Skipping town (or in this case country) with themto Angentina was a great opprotunity, and a no brainer. Why? Because we were so lucky to have such GOOD friends in them to be able to do so. (Of course! ..Friends?!) Anyone in their right mind would be gratefull and thrilled to have such a great opprotunity?! Right?!
They dramatically went on, and on, with "We gat lotsa gas in ow boat, we hook you gurls up! Wone even maku cheep in fo gas our boat, we go gas. Imagina, No mas paypur fees (prepaid by our job) and mucho dinero para passaportes day wantchu pay (Really? We pay 100$ every ten years?!) & FM3's, (ok 900$ every six months to work was a bit taxing but also, prepaid by our hotel so again, not like it was out-of-pocket. Besides we chose to be there!) No problemas gettinchu o'er dare eithr wit we boat!" As they reiterate over, and over, the script, what I'm hearing in my head is Bells, Whistles & Sirens LOUD ONES, the spinning red ones like the cops used to place on thier hoods in old flicks like Dukes of Hazzard. Tea kettles steaming. And more than that, I hear a definate question being asked of myself, and by myself I must consider. 'What did we do to get the royal treatment?!')
Jose goes on "... so .. You wone hab tugo tru Customs on mye boat, who like mess wit dem?!" (Easy Peasy huh?!) The Man, this Jose, is about to lose that winning smirk from his olive face as I rebuttle Jose's offer. It's possible yes, that he has mistaken my silence as a surrender to his point. No, actually the fact is now Im in a very, VERY, sarcastic mood -as is my dominant personality in any situation where I am treated like a complete fucking novice.
"OH GOOD?!" Sitting up now "SOoo no Passport?!" I look around the table "Cool! , No Migra! ..No checkpoints, or hell, no record?!" I challenge him, wide eyed. By this time the woman knows Im not falling in line with thier pitch so easily and is speaking fast and a hushed tone behind his shoulder to his opposite and sitting back slightly from my line of sight, clearly in response to his erect arm reaching back over her. He begins humbily apologizing to me explaining that I clearly dont understand what he means. Jose leans over like the 'Good Buddy' he is to correct the situation eye to eye. Why of course, that's the trust infusing stance when in business negotiations right? Now softening his tone dramatically. (No way Jose, Im already onto you) I'm also leaning in, but with a nervous grin. I meet his gaze, I probably appeared as cocky though my heart was racing. Again, I chirp out: "So? My last known whereabouts would still be -Mexico" (check) cocking my head aside, finger up (When in Rome) Wait, -if -I -was like IDK ..sick (pause) ..or hurt!? .. (Pause) o'sumthin, ...anything (like - lost or trapped, possibly fucking DEAD!) My family back home would never...even ...know?! If I lost touch for awhile and they tried to reach me, which Im sure they would, (not really) they'd only be looking -and checking for my whereabouts here. In Mexico. Right?" Silence "I mean .... thats where the trail would lead them. ...but deadend, ..no dice, huh?!" I question " Well, simply because YOUR boats not making a 'special stop' to check us in with Argentina Customs officials, is it? I mean after all you HATE those guys huh?! Pain." I chuckle, again, nervously looking from face to face. Holding myself up arm on leg "..you said right?" I finish my monolog there with a double slap to my thighs as if to not to over step my boundries.
Dess gets a correcting tone asking "Why are you being so rude?" They're seizing the opprotunity of reeling her in, with a glance to each other the moment they realize shes still hooked. Now, swiftly they shift their bodies to face her, and her only. Jose smiling softly like a cartoon villian again, pitching her his transparent lies; weaving a deadly web. Clearly, he is trying to drown me out verbally, I think she notices the change in the air. She must. I down the last swig of my beer & I ask "YOU READY Chica?!" Standing up & already walking toward the windy stairs. But with a - Getty up - Im not leaving alone- ring to my words. Followed up with a wave toward the steps and only exit.
They both look visibly mad, physically pissed I cut them short. Burning eyes through Me and meet me as I glance back over my shoulder. All while they as quickly-as-possible try to finalize and confirm an exact time to meet Dessy and her other girlfriends too, the next AM, Sunday, at thier boat. Gosh, so they can 'at leese tree her to zum ocian fisheen!'
Shit, and wouldn't ya know, this idiot is all 'yups' and 'see ya thens'.
I tell myself (she is not serious. Cant. Nah. Nope. The bells and whistles never churped so f-ing loudly in my life!!) Ive never before, or since, felt so damb close to such saturated evil posed in the human shape and form ever in my entire life. Without a pang of guilt or doubt them two? Man they would sell thier inbred daughters by the hour for a small stack if 25c poker chips at Freddies casino if the chance arose. That is the impression I got.
Dess doesn't delay too long, I hear the sliding push back of her wicker chair beforeI reach the rail. We both descend the steps, and without a parting word from me, we are out the front and only door, and in step begin our walk north. Alias more than before, no better put, part of the same tribe.
At a brisk pace and over 3/4 of the walk back behind us, I proceed to tell her I've got early plans in the mornin with Victor'. Thats when, and I shit you not Redditers, Dess's jaw drops agap, and she snaps her head towards me and with wide eyes in surprise gasps: "You're not going fishing at 11am with us!?"
To which I reply immediately in a deep sure sharp tone "FUCK No!!!!!?" Brows frowed together, I don't bother to meet her eyes "Dess tell me you DIDNT hear a (melodically) little fucking voice in that head of yours saying over, and over (Roboticly) "DANGERDANGERDANGER"!? I then presume to squeel in high pitched sounds of sirons "Weeeeee Ewww Weeeee Ewww - (Mans Voice impression) "Red Alert, I repeat, Red Alert!" Shaking my head I look over now half joking because this shits common sense. But shes blank stares WTF "Are-you-fucking KIDDING ME?" Thowing up my hands, "They PRETENDED -not to-know -English fluently!?" I say with my body as much as my voice in disbelief. Dess's jaw, still agasp. Wow. I look away and proceed to do an impression of the women in her phony accent... 'In Ingles ummm how do you say? ...UupPpp?!"
I wanna throw up.
Still shaking my head, in a haze of equal parts pissed/worried. I knew her radar was broken. Now its clear. Worse, shit it may never have worked properly in the first place, and I seriously worried to myself that that could even possible. Possible? Possible to get through a death luring pitch from those two? Best friends to the Devil, .. no not two lowly bottom dwellers, no way, two well versed slave drivers..?, ... No. Not without a feeling, a deep engrained primal feeling, a physically felt need for self preserverence?
Shock starts to wash over me, but I try to calm down with each disbelieving step, two, three. I turn to Dessy like a mother to her child and I search her eyes for ANY Sign of it all seeping in. A fruitless moment goes by, when finally I retreat and say to her in a delicately kind tone. "Dess, they look at us as 'STUFF' mear 'THINGS' nothing more, not people, surely not thier equals. Each of us is seen as a free commodity at best, and at worst simple minded dumb american girls worth at least a carton of smokes. Well for you a pack of smokes" Joking.
Blank stares and batting eyes is all Dess replies, so I go on: "Dont let them think they can easily exploit you for thier pursposes. Whatever that may be. They will probably in all seriousness make you a sex slave if you get on that boat Dess, or who knows what? ...make your family pay a ransom to get you back, or something worse. If you even have an option to ever come back!" I assure her this is whats up.
After a few more silent moments I put my hand on her shoulder and look at her in the eye searching again. (anyone home?) "You know that right?" My nodding is met by more blank stares.
I surrender. We both retreat to a faster pace.
Later at the Santa Fe I in guilt make one last attempt to try and make her promise me that she would not go meet them at 11am the next morning for "fishing" while Im away.
The next day before I leave, (she stayed in our room for a night, wowzers!) She announces that "...after thinkin' it over..." she was going to trust MY gut, since I had felt so strongly about it and all. "There must be a reason behind a strong feeling like that" she said. "...but I still think they were very nice, and you shouldn't have been so rude..." Unable to meet my glare. (God help us all)
To the poeple reading this, I say this. If not entertained in this recount of mine then Im sorry. I will still leave you with this thought to ponder. Think back to an intense moment in your life. Was there a sense of alarm? If so, did you try talk yourself out-of the legitimacy of that feeling? Maybe even rashionalize/dissmiss it? How did it all turn out?
The internal alarm is a phonomenon I believed, up to this point, we were all given within out makeup for a reason. Well, turns out thats true, except when it isnt given to you. I like to hope there's still a chance it can be reset or recovered for a person. Hopeful its always turned back-on just in-the-knick-of-time to keep one safe. SometimesI see it might not be there churping loudly because it wasnt given to you for warning in times of danger, as I so optimisticly assumed. But just maybe, sometimes its there sounding loudly only because the grace of God had given it to somebody else whom he knew would be there at that precise moment to share it with you.. If youre lucky.
So, la pareja mas loca de Agentina,
I will not meet you on your boat, I will not be tricked nope nope nope. I will not depart here by your scam. I will not fall victom in your foreign land!
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