Baja Mexico: The Journey of Almost No Return – Chapter 20: Down On Squid Roe

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He’s got coke, and he’s got cash, in that safe… and if we leave here without it, we’re idiots.
(image by

Day 05

Cabo San Lucas, BCS

Tuesday, August 30th:

Where the Hop-Heads Flop in the Snow…

After a multi-day saga of ill-advised and unsuccessful attempts to make it happen, we’re finally high on cocaine in Mexico. It’s 8:30 PM, we’re in Cabo San Lucas, and the only thing the night demands of us is that we get out there and rip the town a new one, until the wave of narcotic euphoria we’re riding suddenly breaks and slams us back down to earth.

We spend a little while artificially medicating our appetites out of existence, and then hit the streets.

Got two turntables and a mixer Xone.
(image by

… Down On Squid Roe

It certainly takes extenuating circumstances for guys like me and Chalk to end up in a room like this one. But then Cabo is full of surprises- and also short on better options. Case in point: Sammy Hagar’s meat-head-and-wet-t-shirt-twit-breeding hot spot, Cabo Wabo Cantina.  But I already told you about that place, and how lame it is, so let’s move on.

So here we are at El Squid Roe and Billy Kitchen, a dance club whose target demographic is identical to that of Cabo Wabo; but fuck it- we’re here, the place is bumping, the lighting is even more tripped-out than a Virgin America flight during boarding, and the room is jammed with party chicks. Sure, most of them are probably vapid, sloppy-drunk, aspiring girls-gone-wild starlets; but they nevertheless do contribute to the festive vibe in the room. Of course, where there are young women, there also go douche-bags, and in great numbers.

You are now free to float about the cabin.
(image by pinterest)

Swinging From the Chandeliers

If this is how El Squid Roe goes off on a Tuesday, I don’t even wanna picture what the club must look like on a Saturday. The place is a veritable monkey house of wasted jackasses dancing on tables, railings, and various other profoundly unsafe spots.

Ex-varsity lettermen stumble through the pulsing crowd with retired cheerleaders on their shoulders. Some homecoming queen whacks her head off the ceiling when the dude carrying her fails to notice that she’s leaning over the railing screaming to her friends as he ascends the stairs to the balcony floor.

In the U.S., a place like this would be about a mouse-burp away from being shut down for violation of fire codes, or accidental patron death. But this is Mexico, Jack; this is why it’s here- at least as far as this crowd of clueless white American dumbasses knows.

The annual Daddy Issues Convention never disappoints.
(image property of Cabo Magazine)

American Pie

I keep waiting for the nipples to start flying. I’m reminded of the spring of 2002, when some friends and I went to New York City for the weekend to watch the Red Sox take three out of four from the Yankees. Despite the fact that it was still only April, the Eastern U.S. was mired in a heat wave that would have seemed excessive in July.

If you’ve ever been in Manhattan during a stifling heat wave, then you know that smell- when all of the festering garbage, sweat, urine and other uncountable sources of dormant vileness are suddenly brought back to life, converting the city into a dutch-oven of unspeakable foulness. And forget about taking the subway at times like this; for you’ll find the tunnels to be little more than just long serpentine hallways of fetid stale air. You can tell a train is approaching before you even hear it or see its lights. The giveaway is that sickening, tell-tale belch of rushing hot garbage which suddenly assails your nostrils like a punch in the nose from a brass-knuckled fist, as the approaching train shoves the atmospheric contents of the tunnel out ahead of it.

So after closing out a few bars in the East Village one night, we decided to walk back to our midtown hotel rather than deal with the reek of the underground- not that the overground was smelling all that great.

The smell of acrid smoke and horses’ breath, as I plunge on into certain death.
(image by Newsweek)

Wildly Coyote

Stumbling up First Avenue at two in the morning, Dennehy and I suddenly found ourselves helplessly caught up in the gravitational pull of some bar that was simply going off. Though we desperately needed to not have another drink, control of the trajectory of our goings had been lifted from us, and so we were powerless to do aught but give ourselves over to the whims of the current, like a cartoon character led by his nostrils to a pie cooling on a windowsill. Except this was a different kind of pie.

Inside the bar, it became readily apparent why the place was so en fuegz: drunk, hot babes were standing on the bar striptease dancing while pounding shots and generally just tapping directly into the fantasy receptors of the mind of the American male. Though to be honest, most of them weren’t my types.

Mmm… smells like lady pie.
(image by TV Tropes)

I was thinking that the place totally reminded me of the bar from that movie “Coyote Ugly“, until we realized that this in fact was that bar- or the bar that inspired the movie anyway. As is always the case with real life, however, the girls weren’t quite as flawless as Tyra Banks or Maria Bello. High bar, though, admittedly.

And speaking of bars, there was no getting anywhere near the bar in there, at least not for two dudes. And this proved fortuitous, because it meant that we would be spared the later consequences of what would have otherwise certainly been the catastrophically ill-advised decision to consume more alcohol. So we left, and continued uptown toward our hotel.

Anyway, Coyote Ugly; there you have it. Woo-hoo.

As fucking queer as it is to say, the place really does look like this.
(image property of

I Can’t Dive 55

Anyway whatever, back to Mexico and the present day.

So Chalk and I hang out at Squid Roe for most of the night, seeing how many different colors of alcoholic beverage we can consume, and retiring to the bathroom at regular intervals to powder our noses (and to occasionally use the toilet).

At one point an obscenely drunk woman stumbles and basically falls onto me, though I manage to stay erect. Upright, I mean. This woman is at least twenty years my senior, and has no legitimate business whatsoever hanging out in a place like this, though I do admire her brazen willingness to show herself in public in a twenty-something’s nightlife attire, even if it is ill-advised, which it is. She’s white, American, and obviously working the cougar angle, though her arsenal of moves is in dire need of a revamping.

She apologizes dumbly for the invasion of my personal space, then attempts to retreat, but fumbles that move as well, and nearly falls over again, though this time I catch her, and for my troubles am rewarded with a stiletto heel in my phalanges. A circle of open space begins to form around her, as people start to perceive the menace that her proximity holds; and some of them start giving me dirty looks, as if to say “Control your woman, dude“.

My gallant heroics seem to have endeared me to this woman, because suddenly she starts acting as if this moment of profound sloppiness on her part has somehow engendered a kind of familiarity between us, which it has not. At last she manages to find her footing and stand up straight; and then, apparently as some kind of clumsy olive branch, she asks me to let her make it up to me by letting me buy her a drink.

Okay well another time then perhaps?
(image property of

Now, for the record, let it be said here and now: I like older women- always have. But not like this. Plus I’m spoken for at the moment anyway, by a woman who rarely stumbles and falls into me, though she is welcome to at any time (although I’ll pass on the spiked heel through the top of my foot, thank you very much).

I tell the raggedy cougar that I’m with someone, without going into specifics, and she says “Okay, well I’ll be here. Nice to meet you,” even though we still haven’t actually met. She kisses my cheek as a parting gift as I move off to find Chalk, who has the bag.

I hope for her sake this woman is with friends; because in her current condition she is ripe for the taking advantage of. Though it kinda seems like that might be just what she’s after. At any rate, it’s a sad display, and I’m happy to extricate myself from her vicinity.

That’s Some Good Shit

Sometime around or 3:30 we stumble out of the Squid. How we killed six hours in there I’ll never understand. We spend a short while strolling about the downtown marina area, noting how non-tweaky we feel, which is particularly notable considering we’ve just ripped through an eight-ball together.

We make our way back to the hotel around 4 AM, do the last of the coke, and then go to bed. Counter-intuitive? Yes. Counter-productive? No. Amazingly, we both drop off to sleep in minutes.

That’s some good shit.

(to be continued)



Previous: Chapter 19: Many Times Upon a Time in Mexico (Mexican Roulette)

Next: Chapter 21: Beware: The Under-Toad!


Baja Mexico: The Journey of Almost No Return – Chapter 18: This Must Be Just Like Living in Paradise

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Cabo Wabo

Day 05

Cabo San Lucas, BCS

Tuesday, August 30th:

We bag off of Highway 1 to make a pit stop at the beach near Punta Arena. While sitting on the beach working our way through a joint, we are greeted by a bedraggled yet hyped-up dude who has just come limping across the sand looking as if he had just minutes earlier narrowly survived the bombing of a building. He’s heading straight for us; and on a beach this large and empty, that’s certainly weird, and not a coincidence.

The guy hobbles up and starts yapping at us in Spanish about some drug person or gang that he’s obviously mad at, or afraid of- quite likely both. Gesticulating wildly, he keeps pointing back in the direction he came from, where after a mile or so the lifeless landscape disappears behind some rugged rocky hills of desert. It’s like he’s trying to tell us something. We are adamant that we want nothing to do with this information; and we quickly extricate ourselves from the situation and get back in the car and drive off in haste. If this dude’s being pursued by some kind of cartel henchmen or whatever, we don’t need to be seen exchanging words with him. Fuck that..

It's true what they say: I really do love to go down (south). (image by
For someone who’s spent as much time going down south as I have, I sure don’t recognize any of this scenery. I had been laboring under the impression that the south was mostly forest.
(image by


Almost immediately after turning back onto the paved highway, we pass a sign that says “Tropico de Cancer.” Sick- we just drove to the tropics! I forgot we were gonna do that. I’ve never been in the tropics before; the furthest south I’ve ever been is Grange Hill, Jamaica, and that’s a good five degrees of latitude further north than here; and anyway I did not get there by car.

IMG_7797 - Copy (2)

We penetrate the city limits of Cabo San Lucas sometime in the late afternoon, a time the American populace knows as  “rush hour“- though here we intend to experience it as more of a “chill hour.” We have reached the southern terminus of the Baja Peninsula– and our trip. San Francisco, my home, is 1,500 miles away to the north.

We try to find a beach equal to the tropical dreams we have borne through lifetimes of hype; but for the last twenty miles, from San Jose Del Cabo, it’s been nothing but gated communities, private resorts, and all other manner of exclusive, tourist-friendly municipal infrastructure (read: secured against any advance by members of the local populace). Yes, this is one of those places where America’s fancy-pants, well-monied folk come to relax and stretch out in a place that does nothing to challenge their narrow, limited vision of what a third-world tropical paradise should be.

This must be just like living in paradise... (image by
This must be just like living in paradise…
(image by


We end up settling for a ludicrously-jam-packed afterthought of a swimming hole, peopled by what appears, to us, to be an exclusive clientele of indigent local folk- save for me and Chalk. At this spot, reaching neck-deep water without physically touching another human being requires a considerable effort- involving circuitous routes, defensive maneuvering, and a bit of acrobatics. I guess the locals around here- at least those who don’t own or work for high-brow resorts- don’t really reap the benefits of living in a “tropical paradise.” That said, this throwaway of a beach spot is still far more aesthetically inspiring than 99.97% of what passes for pristine beaches in America.

And at any rate, at least the water is clean- I guess. It’s quite blue, anyway; and I mean natural, plausible blue- not that highly suspicious 2000 Flushes kind of artificial blue. However, as I look around at the throngs of small children frolicking in the waves, I admit to myself that this water temperature may in fact be a product of factors beyond mere latitude and prevailing ocean currents.

Cabo Wabo: A safe space for self-absorbed young people to emphatically reinforce all white-person stereotypes. (image by Wikimedia Commons)
Cabo Wabo: 
A safe space for young, self-absorbed white people to emphatically reinforce all the worst caucasian stereotypes.
(image by Wikimedia Commons)

This Ain’t America, Jack

Remember awhile back when I said I was gonna stop at the Bank of America in Cabo to re-up on cash, so that I could complete the trip without having to be temporarily financed by Chalk?

Yeah well so there’s no fucking Bank of America in Cabo.

This is most unexpected. I’ve been 100% counting on this. Why I didn’t confirm whether or not there was a BofA in Cabo before crossing the border is a question that cannot be answered without exposing me for the bumbling idiot that I am, so I’m not all that inclined to dwell on it further.

Anyway, the upshot is that I can’t get my hands on any of my own money until we cross back into the U.S.- still several days from now. So Chalk cashes in a mutual fund and hands me a wad of effectivo (cash), to live on for a few days. Critical move by Chalk.

Hi, my name is Sammy Hagar. Hold on, now... hear me out. Okay now look, I know you're already thinking it, so let me just put it out there right now to get it out of the way. Okay so like, to a certain extent (and in limited contexts), I can rock out with the best of them; but still somehow, no matter what I do, I just can't seem to crack that top tier. I guess I'm what you might call a "B Rocker." HA!!! And furthermore- 5150 was no 1984- not even close. I recognize that. People think I'm deluded about that, but I'm not. They also think I'm deluded as to the importance- to rock history, that is- of my tenure in Van Halen; but in that case, they're right- I AM. It feels good to share, to tell you the truth. I've been carrying this shit around for years.Man, I feel lighter already. (image by Wikimedia Commons)
Hi, my name is Sammy Hagar. Hold on, now… come on, just hear me out.
Okay so look-, I know you’re already thinking it, so let me just put it out there right now to get it out of the way. As we all know, I can, to a certain extent (and in limited contexts), rock out with the best of them; but still somehow, no matter what I do, I just can’t seem to crack that top tier. I guess I’m what you might call a “B Rocker.” HA!!!
And furthermore- 5150 was no 1984- not even close. I recognize that. People think I’m deluded about that, but I’m not. They also think I’m deluded as to the importance- to rock history, that is- of my tenure in Van Halen. But in that case, they’re right- I am.

It feels good to share, to tell you the truth. I’ve been carrying this shit around for years.
Man, I feel lighter already.
(image by Wikimedia Commons)

Cabo Wabo

As American males of a certain age, it would seem unfitting if we were to breeze through town and not pop our head into the Cabo Wabo Cantina, Sammy Hagar‘s much-hyped nightclub, a magnet for snatch-waxed wet t-shirt bitches, psycho-sexually repressed meatheads in white college baseball caps, and other spring-breaking heroes of coolness.

So we pop our head in there, figuring we should at least get ourselves a drink; but the lameness of the place hits us like a surprise birthday party. It’s basically a poor-man’s Hard Rock Cafe. We’re over it before we’ve even passed out of the sidewalk sunlight  and into the the actual joint.

Fuck this, we’re out.

1,100 miles of “We’ve got to check out Sammy’s bar”, undone in less than ten seconds.

"Let's go get some Italian." (image by
“Whaddya say we go get some Italian? I know this fuckin’ place in the Bronx blah blah blah old-fashioned pull-chain blah blah family restaurant blah blah perfect for us blah blah blah et cetera.”
(image by


As we’re walking out the door of the cantina, a man approaches me with an enthusiastically outstretched hand and a wide smile to match. Despite this, however, there is no outwardly sketchy vibe- though I’m sure it’s in there somewhere. The man speaks flawless English, though he is a Mexican.

He introduces himself as Juan, welcomes us to Cabo, and asks if we “need” anything- anything at all. Apparently, Juan is the man. I glance over at Chalk for a second, but his attention is elsewhere. After a brief moment of contemplation I, with last night- and this morning,- still firmly in mind, decline his offer.

But Juan sees right through me, like Sollozzo reading Sonny Corleone. He knows I’m hot for his deal. He tells me to ask around about him- everybody knows him. I tell him thanks but no thanks- we’re all good for the moment.

For the moment.

I thank Juan and move on. It’s time to find a hotel room, so we can establish a base of operations for the evening’s debauchery, whatever that might entail.


Previous: Chapter 17: Cheltdown #1

Next: Chapter 19: Many Times Upon a Time in Mexico (Mexican Roulette)