MEXICAN WOOD SHARK
In my last post I told you I was about to embark on a perilous journey to Mexico for my buddy Miguel’s wedding. Well I’m happy to report that I survived the trip. Not only did I survive it but I had a great time. I’d never been down south before so I was a little worried about the heat (I burn easily), the ocean (I fear sharks and I can’t swim), the food (I mostly survive on Pizza, Kraft Dinner, and PB sandwiches), the locals (I was warned that Cartels run the resorts), and a slew of other things. Fortunately the whole trip went very smoothly and none of those things were an issue.
We arrived on Sunday and spent the first night drinking beers and exploring the large resort. Monday was spent drinking cocktails in the pool. Tuesday was the wedding. It sucked wearing a suit in that heat but the ceremony was lovely and the reception was fantastic. Miguel and his beautiful new bride Ashley hosted a dance party on the beach complete with a light-up glass dance floor, a piñata, a taco stand, a photo booth, over-sized sombreros, and unlimited booze. We ended the night at the resort’s 60’s themed dance club which was a blast. The combination of Beatles tunes, funky retro decor, and afro’ed go-go girls made me feel like an extra in an Austin Powers movie.
Wednesday was more pool drinks and I believe that was the evening we hit up a local town, Playa del Carmen. There were two things I was looking for in town. I wanted a Mexican comic book and I wanted a crappy Mexican bootleg action figure. I was hoping to find a yellow ninja turtle with a Superman logo or a green Spider-Man with a machine gun labelled Spider-Warrior-Soldier. Something like this. Unfortunately I couldn’t find action figures or comic books anywhere. I even asked an English-speaking local where I could maybe find comics and he didn’t even seem to know what I was talking about. Many of the crappy souvenir shops (there were hundreds of them) had poorly painted Marvel statues but they were too big and cumbersome to carry around. The Predator was also very popular there for some reason. I found multiple Predator statues but no action figures. The highlight of my visit to Playa del Carmen was getting my picture taken with a monkey named Obama.
I didn’t want to leave town empty-handed so I settled for buying this wood-carved hammerhead shark. I may fear sharks but I still love them. I love animals in general and am always tempted to buy rubber versions of them when I see them. Here are a few examples of past animal figure purchases: Jellyfish, Grizzly Bear, Frog, Platypus.
The particular souvenir shop I stopped in to make a purchase had a number of neat wooden animal figurines. I just so happened to have this shark in hand when the very aggressive shop owner approached me and told me how his family carved it themselves and that it was a steal at $90. It took about 5 minutes to negotiate him down to a much more reasonable $20. You might think even that seems a little high but this is a very nice piece. The wood is silky smooth with a nice grain pattern. Gills and even a little mouth have been carved into it and the name “Playa del Carmen” has been etched into the belly. Makes for a decent souvenir.
Though I’m not sure where I’m going to display this thing. It doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of my collection. I think I’ll find a home for it in my living room somewhere, away from the action figure filled man-cave. I also ended up purchasing a painted tile featuring Chichen Itza (one of the New 7 Wonders of the World) and a small dip bowl featuring a cute skull motif so maybe I’ll lump them all together for a nice little Mexican display.
I never did find a Mexican action figure but I did find a Mexican comic book at the airport just before heading back home. I rooted through every magazine rack I saw at the airport (there were dozens) and at the last one, right by our gate, I found 2 comics; an issue of WE3 and an issue of 100 Bullets. It seemed odd that those were the books I found because both were published in America several years ago but I was happy to find anything at that point. I opted for the WE3 comic; I was never able to get into 100 Bullets.
The rest of the trip consisted of more drinking in the pool, feeding tropical fish in the ocean, relaxing on the beach, renting a car and driving to the Mayan pyramid at Chichen Itza (one of Vanessa’s bucket-list items), and lastly watching the underwhelming Mayweather/ Pacquiao fight at the resort’s sports bar.
All-in-all it was a great time. The fact that I got to share the experience with Vanessa and so many of my best friends made it that much better. The vacation was a solid 10 out of 10. This shark trinket is kind of hard to rate but as far as wooden sharks go I can’t imagine a better one so I suppose I’ll give it a 10 out of 10 as well. Why not?