I think everyone of us has heard, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.
June 10, 2019 I am second guessing myself as I am exiting the Los Cabos International Airport, nothing in regards to the work to be done but I am already repulsed by how I smell and the discomfort from the dripping sweat nearly everywhere on my body. Originally we had been working on lining something up in May but the exit of my day job and some other factors delayed the process for a few weeks. From what they tell me after the middle of June it’s just hot, humid and close to unbearable… for them.. the locals.
Rene and I reconnect as we roll down to Cabo San Lucas in this shanty but newer work van.
Our first few conversations always take a short period of time to develop. Rene who could pass for the long lost twin brother to Saddam Hussien is Alec’s best friend, his right hand man and when I am in town is put in charge of handling whatever assistance or chauffeuring around I require. Rene is about proficient in English as I am in Spanish and I have more than once imagined how stupid we would look to an outside observer in this broken role reversal of languages, yet, we have helped each other a great deal with learning more about our non-native tongues. But then again the depth of our conversations consist of “ can you pick me up here?”, “let’s go to this hardware store?”, “Did you eat?”, “Look at the dumb fucker right there, fucking idiot..”, “Yeah, she likes you, she's for you dude..”, “Want to drink beer?” …and we understand all of that very well between each other lol.
Now, I am no well rounded and experienced traveller of Mexico but from what I have experienced so far life seems to tick at a different pace down there. Culturally there are many differences and when it comes to business and working, I am having to adapt. It took the first day and a half to get settled, stocked up with supplies and ready to get to work. Once I got started moving though, the overarching pace of the project seemed to set itself dependently upon how their days were structured for work blended with the compartmentalized process of how I was planning to paint what was essentially three walls wrapped into one.
I had at the job site, at all times, two of Alec’s younger guys to help move scaffolding or do any grunt work I needed. Aside from Rene and Alec, everyone else speaks 0% English. These poor guys had nothing to do 90% of the time but watch me paint and listen to me try and tell them stories in broken Spanish, which now that I am thinking about it must have been entertaining as shit. But I learned a lot from these kids and have a new respect for where they come from, their opportunities and the lives they live. Most of all I was super grateful to have them there, their help and their company. Anything I asked of these guys, they came running, got right on it and wanted to make sure everything was right and good.
Overall the days themselves were just work and for those who get excited about stories of exotic locations (such as Cabo) and adventures (like quitting your job, chasing your dreams and going to Cabo to do it), trust me, this was far from glamorous. On day 8 of 9, both Alec and T came by the residence as I call it and we covered some final details regarding the mural. As we worked, Alec snapped a few photos, thankfully, with his good camera. My objective was to paint this mural, I was not focused whatsoever on capturing content. Yet I am happy to have a few really good memories on film.
Again, I think everyone of us has heard, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. But here is what this picture does not say..
This painting shirt I have worn for 8 straight days while painting smells like a rotting corpse. The lining of my stomach is likely worn thin from the amount of hot sauce I have smothered the last 50 tacos in and the whole system is on the verge of failing all together. The continuous wind had made some of the painting nearly impossible at times. The long, hot and creeping hours I spent in the sun, my hands caked with hues and shades of different grey tones. The dust, like the good Lord, omnipresent, with everything that isn't protected subject to a slow and endless sand blasting.. and my eyes of all things feeling eternally barren.
It’s also doesn't show..
the moments I stood on the deck looking out over the town towards the ocean as the sun climbed higher into the sky. The music inside my headphones, the vibrations of joy in my soul and the moments I stopped to appreciate this experience. Me thinking about my family. The overwhelming support I’ve received from so many great people, all of which I never expected. Reflecting on the emotions I carried from years of grunt work, the sacrifice and the shit no one will ever see that brought me to this moment. The tears I had shed in the past and the tears of gratitude I shed as I began to see now how it’s coming together. The incredible interactions with the people of Mexico who are the most authentic and warm welcoming people I have ever met. The wonderful dinners with the amazing Alec and T, the laughs, the wine, the deep sense of connection and purpose that we all have moving forward, together with our new lives.
..and like everything aforementioned, what this picture will never show is the most beautifully impactful and important parts of my experience painting this mural in Mexico.