The tequila strikes hard and fast in the August heat after just an hour of perspiration from trampling the scorching Malecon. The humidity smothers each breath like those cheap Chinese disposable masks that deposit plastic particulates deep in your lungs.
Bar after bar, palapa roofs and ceiling fans, open to the great pacific ocean with its diving pelicans, but no relief from the summer of normal Mexican weather. The ceiling fans are too high to have any impact and definitely no air conditioning. “Definitely none,” the waiter confirms.
“Sorry amigo, but I have extra cold Pacifico to help with the heat.” The waiter wants me to stay. Maybe to move to a table after standing at the bar. “I bring a bucket with ice.”
Tired of walking and cruising pharmacies for the cheapest options of prescription drugs that can be snagged without a prescription I finally relent and park myself near a mahogany wood railing with the best view of the bay.
The United States is a failed state I keep telling myself on the flight south. A dozen calls to doctors and urgent care clinics for a simple refill of a medication prescribed in Poland, with a letter from a Polish doctor and not a single place in a large American city would oblige, even with travel insurance so they can overcharge the insurance company as many of those clinics do.
It’s not a matter of life and death, and it’s no great emergency, but it is a matter of liberty and common decency. How many scripts of Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine were denied by pharmacies over the past two years? How many doctors refused to even write a prescription for either drug at the request of their regular patients because the FDA told them they must let them die instead?
At almost every pharmacy I see boxes of both drugs available in Mexico, where they just give it to you if you put some pesos on their counter. No need to beg American assholes in white coats for permission to ingest what you want. American bodies now belong to the CDC, NIH, FDA, and the corporate death-accelerator industry. No amount of pesos will change that.
In some ways I’m grateful. I have an excuse to return to Mexico and decide to use it as a two-mission expedition: Stockpile drugs that no pinche American doctors will prescribe on demand, and a scouting operation on potentially relocating before the Polish winter heating bills come due.
The drug mission is as easy as I remember once I find the right prices. After a drunken first afternoon and evening, I arrive at a pharmacy with a hangover on the second morning. In front a display sign reads like a restaurant menu of drugs: VIAGRA – AMOXYCILLIN – IVERMECTIN – TRAMADOL – XANAX – PRILOSEC and twenty others.
Inside the Señora offers me steroids, HGH, benzos, pain killers, and antibiotics. Fear and loathing Mexico style, with no typewriter or mescalin. She pulls a laminated card from beneath the counter with dosages, tablet counts, and prices. I stock up on all the essentials and more for the coming hardships when the Chinese dragon flexes on western pharmaceutical supply chains, endangering the lives of tens of millions of Americans who will no doubt race south for solutions.
Aside from easy access to whatever drugs one wants, Puerto Vallarta has become something new since they locked down the world two years ago, or maybe everything and everywhere has changed forever, and there’s no going back.
The steak house with the bread rolls that melted upon the first touch of the tongue is gone. The daiquiri place with the brothers who played their flamenco guitars so masterfully every Thursday and Saturday afternoon is shuttered too. The waiter comes with my bucket of Pacificos on ice. I ask the waiter what happened to the daiquiri place with the flamenco brothers.
“Gone amigo. They had to close down. Covid.”
“Not covid,” I correct him before extending my new t-shirt from a souvenir shop down the Malecon which reads: Pinche Covid.
“Sí, pinche covid,” he confirms. “Pinche Covid,” he repeats shaking his head.
The other waiters confirm our confirmations with mumblings of pinche covid under their breath as they pace in circles waiting for a second customer.
The Gringos aren’t at this place, but they’re around, easy to spot, like me. The visitors are taking on new shapes, and different forms. They do not saunter with the same confidence.
A hesitation permeates everything, a second-guessing of comfort and safety that never existed in Mexico before. It’s always been a place where Gringos came to forget about second-guessing anything.
The tequila and Pacificos help, but everything has been shuttled into a new timeline that will need labeling. Our calendars will need new markings, just as with our world before 9/11 and after.
BC – Before Covid.
AG – After Gates.
Maybe one day soon we’ll get something beautiful to mark the transition between the two with…
SL – Schwab’s Lynching
The visitors are coming again, but they have morphed into something timid and passive in the two years since they stopped coming in meaningful numbers.
They unlocked their doors one day, when they sensed it might be safe, and peeked around their yards and found the flowers and trees to be prettier and more vibrant not viewed through monochromatic doorbell surveillance cameras.
They finally unlocked their doors again and peeked up at the sky and found it was still blue with clouds and chemtrails. But they’re certain the chemtrails aren’t barium and aluminum because the fact-checkers referred by Google Search said so.
They unlocked their doors and took baby steps across their driveway to see if danger was lurking everywhere as they had been told. Self-imprisonment for two years started out as two weeks because people they believed told them to be afraid and so they complied, got comfortable, and stayed compliant.
When they came out of their homes and were surprised not to see death and chaos as their television had told them they didn’t know what to do. So they went back inside where it was safe. And they stayed there day after day only peeking outside to be absolutely certain that harm was not lurking as invisible harm does.
Slowly they reacclimated to life, at first never venturing too far from the safety of home. Always masked inside their cars or on the streets, they knew that harm still lingered everywhere because that’s what invisible harm does.
A planet of agoraphobes soon ventured further and further from home, becoming more daring, sometimes forgetting to put their mask back over their nose and mouth after each bite of food at a restaurant. They felt alive and daring, tempting fate by not always adhering to the instructions of the experts who told them that harm still lingered everywhere because that’s what invisible harm does.
When they got word the airplane graveyards weren’t permanent and the airplanes would be mobilizing again, they started making plans in their heads. Thoughts of traveling, maybe out of the country, with masks of course, but only after the next booster became available.
After bailing out the airlines with $25 Billion so they could buy back their own stock to increase executive compensation, the people who finally decided to travel again were surprised to see so many cancelations and flight delays, so they went back home and got another booster and called the airlines who said the weather was the issue, but the pilot’s union didn’t have the heart to confirm their lies.