Samanthas’ 7-11

Posted in day to day on December 18, 2011 by jungle

an institution on this small island is coming to an end.

at least in my barrio.

due to a change of legal ownership of the property the business will be moving to the other end of the island.

as a result, since i walk everwhere, i most likely will not be seeing them very much.


since i showed up here more than 15 years ago the 7-11 has been a source of solace and reward for me.

they’ve always had the very best and most extensive selection of U.S. branded candies and snacks of anywhere on the island.

bar none.

whenever i found my self jonesin’ for a Snickers bar (preferably one that wasn’t melted) Samanthas’ was there.

i believe they were the first store on the island to put the most popular chocolate snacks in the cooler.

an ice cold Magnum (vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and almonds) was my refuge from the heat.



Baleadas stuffed with ground beef, pickled onions and cheese.  the perfect supper after a long day of diving.

Pastelitas for lunch with ice-cold chocolate milk (sometimes frozen).  man…

BBQ chicken and pork chops with refried beans, homemade tortillas and a cabbage salad.

Always friendly, always patient with my bad Spanish, always offering to let me pay later when i forgot my money.

i may have to buy a bicycle after all.



Chili Cookoff

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2011 by jungle

It’s time!

Time for the 6th Annual Driftwood Bar & Grill Chili Cookoff!

This year the money collected goes for Christmas toys for the children of Sandy Bay.

I, personally, will be a judge this year because, frankly, I think it’s time to give someone else a chance to win this thing.

There are, I think, at least a couple of people on this island who are resentful of my continued success and, well, I sincerely feel sorry for them so I guess it’s time to share a little bit of the glory.

As usual the rules include the time-honored no beans, no veggies, and no foo-foo garnishes.

The winning chili will consist only of meat, tomatoes, and spices.

Anyone caught including potatoes (you know who you are), lima beans (you should be ashamed of yourself), or okra (i just don’t know what to say about this) will be summarily disqualified by walking the plank off the Driftwood dock and being pelted with chunks of said potatoes, beans and okra.

And being invited back next year (we’re not a vindictive bunch) for more chili fun.

This years cookoff includes people from all over the world and, as such, is truly an international event so the winner can truly call himself a world champion chili chunker.

There will be copious amounts of name calling, beer slamming, chili chugging, cornbread eatin’, moaning, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

All for one of these:

Ladies and gentlemen unwrap your Tums.

Christmas Toys For Children

Posted in Uncategorized on December 7, 2011 by jungle

During the course of No-shaving-vember seven of stout souls suffered embarrassment, ridicule, harrassment,  and itchy beards.

“Hey!  You need to stand a little closer to your razor.”,  “Need a cat?”,  and “That doesn’t cover nearly enough of your face.”, are phrases I don’t need to hear for a while.

There were 12 guys who started this long road and only seven actually stayed the course.

It was a long, long month.

Myself, JJ, Bruce, Dave, Erik the Swede, Scotty and Brooks completed the challenge.

Two have succumbed to PTSD (Post Traumatic Shaving Disorder) and are currently undergoing a regimen of alcohol and Schedule II pharmaceuticals.

Just to be on the safe side the rest of us are, too.

The end of the month long whisker fest was only the beginning of the pain and humiliation, though.

We also were put on display at Tranquila Bar and our beards were sold to the highest bidder.

Then the torture began.

Armed with dull razors and shears that were dangerously low on battery power the winners of the bidding began their work.

Through the howls, screams, moaning and crying could be heard the cheers and maniacal laughter of the crowd.

Now, with patchy beards, gaping cuts and scarred souls, we have to stay like this for at least three more days before we are allowed to shave normally.

With shaving cream this time.

But we managed to raise more than $600 to buy Christmas gifts for the children of this little island.

And that’s a good thing.

it’s my birthday

Posted in Uncategorized on December 4, 2011 by jungle

a day for reflection.  contemplation.  studying the zymurgical arts.

remembering friends and good times.

there will be plenty of time for remembering bad times later on down the road so there’ll be none of that today.

i have truly been blessed by the places i’ve been and the people i’ve met and i’m grateful for all that.

i have a greater appreciation and respect for life in all it’s forms.

especially the bacteria that causes fermentation.

today will include a nice sunset, a few cold beers, and a couple of good friends.

interspersed with all that will be fragments of time called forth in memory of all those beautiful souls whose paths have crossed mine.

you know who you are.

i’ll laugh, chuckle, tell a few lies and probably snort beer through my nose.

and i’ll wonder what the hell the big deal was about having a BMW when a plain old BM is much more satisfying.

i miss you all.



Posted in Uncategorized on December 3, 2011 by jungle

you know, you just haven’t lived until you’ve heard 40 people from 62 different countries sing “the land down under”.

mostly out of key.

it’s a visceral sort of feeling.

i mean…is a vegemite sandwich really that iconic?

(as a fan of marmite i really don’t know just how to take that.)

i was, however, in a strange ‘watching a train wreck’ kind of way, looking forward to the chunder part.

then, a few beers later, the ladies got to that part of the evening where they remembered all those assholes that somehow couldn’t live up to their expectations and, since they weren’t there to berate, decided to open up a big ol’ can of  “i will survive” on the rest of us.

of course the gangstas had to stand up and represent.

i was truly in awe.

as in “awe, shit, why couldn’t i have just gotten a couple of beers and gone home?”

by this time i was beginning to understand why it is always better to ARRIVE at a party drunk and high rather than to go sober and straight and try to catch up.

and then came “the voice”.

you know how, when things seem darkest in your life and you’re almost ready to just give up, you suddenly see a light that shows you the way out of the pit?

that’s what “the voice” is at a karaoke party.

it’s like an angel coming and putting her arm around you to say “lighten up, every little thing’s gonna be alright.”

or was it the back-to-back shots of Jim Beam?


attack of the arachnoids

Posted in day to day on November 29, 2011 by jungle

so i wake up a couple of days ago ready to greet the day as my usual happy go lucky attitude when i notice something amiss.

i jumped out of bed in gleeful anticipation of the new days glory and almost fell on my butt because of the pain in my foot.

now, as both of you who read this blog know, i’m a pretty tough guy.  it’s going to take more than the loss of a toe to take me down.

i says to myself  “self, whoever put that pain in my toe must be a professional because he put it in exactly the right spot in order to maximize the pain and increase the volume of my little girl screams. i wonder who this could be?”

not being very loquacious i shut up at that point and began the arduous process of examining the offending digit.

right there.  at the base of my toe was a glaring hematoma (get it? …  hema-toe-ma?)  anyway…

…this wasn’t your basic blister.

there was a bite mark right in the middle of it.  not a fiddleback or a black widow.

this was a tarantula bite…a curly brown tarantula bite.

those ungrateful bastards!

i’ve welcomed them into my home (ok, they were here first), swept their competition out of the house, left chopped up, spider bite sized (and i know just how big that is now) vienna sausages out for them, and protected them from the ravages of hurricanes, tropical waves, and blue northers and this is how they repay me.

now i know how the american indians feel about thanksgiving.

this is a clear warning shot across the bow of my manifest destiny.

this morning when i woke up i found the head of my favorite gecko on the pillow next to me.



Posted in day to day on November 27, 2011 by jungle

i was riding with a friend on my way to the Driftwood Cafe fantasizing about ice cold salva vidas and hands down the best burger i’d ever had in my life.

it was a sunny day in early november with a nice steady breeze and just enough cloud cover to keep things cool but not enough to hoo-doo your tan.

all things were right in my world and i couldn’t imagine anything messing it up.

then it happened…out of the corner of my eye…something big…hairy…making unintelligible noises…grunts, growls, groans and moans as it tried to pull the golf cart to a stop.

i thought it was the end…my life started to flash before my eyes.

during the intermission i realized i was still breathing and not in too much pain.

by this time we had pulled into the Driftwood parking lot and everything seemed to be ok.

as i pensively sipped my ice cold salva vida i figured maybe it had all been a dream or a short blast of an haluccinatory experience.  some leftover detritus from a former life.

so i forgot about it.

then Brooks (not his real name) came running in all out of breath.

he took a breath, a slug of beer and said to me and Bruce (not his real name), “OK, guys, a group of us decided to shave and re-grow full beards for charity.”

(that voice…)

“We’re not going to shave for a month and, at the end of the month,  for a donation to the cause, we will shave our beards just the way the winning bidders want us to and not shave any other way until the appointed time.”

(that smell…)

“We will all put in an entry fee in order to be a part of this glorious quest and yea verily any who shall shave their beard before the appointed time shall be held accountable. ”

(there aren’t any mountains here, why is he talking like Moses?)

“The proceeds will go towards buying xmas (yes he said xmas) toys for kids on the island.  Can i have another beer?”

and that is why i have this scraggly, scratchy beard.

can i have another beer?



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