Day two in Tampico and I had an interview.
This was at a vastly sprawling American school from ages 4 to 18 that encompassed the type of acreage that a stately home would envelop back in Blighty. After handing over my driving licence to a jovial security guard on the gate I entered a foyer the size of a large church hall and waited patiently for the director.
As we sat in her office sipping mineral water 15 minutes later she twice expressed her surprise at the fact I had come to Tampico, what with all the drug-related shootings and general unpleasantness. I pointed out that I was with my girlfriend to which she noted "you must love her very much to come here now" but then reassured me that in her humble opinion the violence had reached its apex and would calm down in the new year.
She took me on a stroll to the middle school and introduced me to a Californian guy who looked like an assassin from Prison Break. They both enthused about how they'd been looking for an English literature teacher, which while not my forte, might be something I could do. I replied that I was frankly tired of EFL after 15 years and wanted to get my teeth into something more substantial, such as dissecting Shakespeare or Dickens. She then wished me well and said she'd call me some time after Jan 4th when the school reopened.
Police here are a sight more badass than in England and when we drove home we could see a couple of flat bed trucks crammed with mean looking mofos. Each car had a guy sitting in the back holding a pump action shotgun. As I recall one of them was even chomping on a cigar. We then went into the supermarket to find five of them standing around (still toting the shotguns) and glaring at people. They all looked "combat ready" and were attired in black cargo pants, big fuck-off army boots and utility belts with lots of velcro straps and useful looking shit hanging off them
I enthused just how "cool" it was to see badasses in Mexico on the side of law and order. My girlf's family then corrected me that they are corrupt and thuggish and far from being cool they were in fact rather horrid. I pointed out that the police in the UK, from first hand experience, were a bunch of fairies by comparison and I would personally have found the site of armed police on some chavvy council estate to be a reassuring sight.
My girlfriend's family have two slobbering dogs named Bono and Simonetta. The former is a brown dog of non specific lineage who sleeps most of the day and goes berserk if you wake him up. He also has a habit of getting into the swimming pool to retrieve a ball or chewed up old shoe and, as the pool has no water in it, then woofs incessantly until someone fishes him out.
I was teaching English to a friend of my good lady in the back garden when we were interrupted by a cacophony of frenzied barking. I went down to find him looking forlornly at me in the deep end and, despite my attempts to coax him out he was too big and fat and couldn't make it. I eventually climbed in lifted him out which was amusing in the extreme as his paws kept scrabbling for purchase while he huffed and panted as I heaved his carcass onto the yard. Ungrateful mutt then ran off without even a lick of gratitude.
Supermarkets here are dirt cheap and, like those in the USA, stocked with plentiful supplies of everything. I invested in Nescafe's yummy sounding "Winter Blend" with promises of vanilla and caramel only to be met with the same as their usual shit. Still, two huge jars for five quid so mustn't grumble.
There appear to be a proliferation of squidgy, cute babies in Tampico or Mexico in general. Every time I go out the house to anywhere where people gather you can see a multitude of mewling infants between one week and one year old being carried around by doting mothers and fathers. Personally I think it's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and there will soon be a Nappy Takeover.
As a gift for my missus's younger brother I bought him Perfect Dark Zero for the XBox 360. Well...in reality it was for me but I needed an excuse. I'd intended to get him Call of Duty: Black Ops but it was more expensive than the UK so fuck that. We had a jolly time on 2 player local co-operative but my girlf lamented the fact that I take so much pleasure in shooting people in the head (do it through the scope and you see their brains fly out) when it's happening for real up the road. For Christmas he got Assassins Creed: Brotherhood which is even more sadistic. My game got shut down after I offed too many innocent people (the persistent lady beggar I knifed probably did it).
In Tampico, like a lot of Mexican cities, there's a huge problem with drug gangs. I was advised to NOT go jogging as tourists are often kidnapped and held to ransom by horrid folk. Another of their tricks is to ring you up and pretend to have abducted someone you know and demand cash within 15 minutes or they will die. This plan apparently worked well until one of them phoned some stoned hippy chick who recorded the conversation and thought the whole thing was a joke. The nasty man's increasingly frenzied shouts of "NO I'M NOT MIGUEL AND THIS ISN'T A FUCKING JOKE!!!" only made her more convinced it was a wind up and he eventually hung up. The tape made its way on to YouTube where it's had lots of hits and when the wannabee extortionist now phones people he's apparently met with "are you that twat off YouTube?" to which he quickly replies "fuck you" and hangs up.
Drug gangs are prevalent here meaning a noticeable military and police presence on the streets. 6 months ago three teenagers were found hanging outside McDonalds at 3am, the youngest being 14. More recently a window cleaner from the traffic lights near the cinema was machine gunned for pissing off a local dealer and for New Year we didn't venture out due to fear of carnage. The midnight fireworks were audibly accompanied by the sound of small arms fire.
Apparently a lot of teachers are fucking off out of Mexico as they want to teach without the constant pressure of wondering if they'll catch a stray bullet on the way home so I may get work after all.
I went to see Tron Legacy in 3D with the missus but when people next to us started yacking into mobile phones I didn't raise a grievance. While I'm not a coward, getting a cap popped in my arse over not being able to hear Jeff Bridges is not how I want to ascend to Saint Peter. Movie is ace though. Can't understand why they had to spoil things by showing Kevin Flynn circa 1989. The CGI isn't THAT good and he looked like he'd had plastic surgery after a fire.
My bedroom is a haven for mosquitos which is odd for a Brit in December. They seem to ignore the fact I take garlic capsules every day and multi vitamins and nibble on my toes. I scratched them so hard the first week that my feet looked like raw beef and it was immensely satisfying when I finally caught one and squashed it. Was like that bit in Saw 5 when that bloke got crushed between the walls.
I also found a cockroach when I went to use the toilet but had the immense satisfaction of picking it up, dropping it in the bog and then taking a dump on it after a heavy meal containing chilies the night before. I let it wade in my turds for a good 10 minutes before flushing the chain. That'll teach it.
A friend of my girlf is a spiritual person and proclaims to be a white witch. She did a reading for me and said that my negative energy was so strong she felt like vomiting. She then did a past life regression and said that in a previous existence I was a military man who wore a red coat, carried a gun with a blade on the end and wore a tall black hat. She said I commanded many men and they were frightened of me as I was violent and brutal and had killed many people. She said my men betrayed me, tying me up and killing me.
Hmmm...might explain my anger issues.
Then she said during a Tarot card reading that I should ask her questions before I turned 3 cards over. I found out from this that next year I will have children and one day marry. That my first book STAB PROOF SCARECROWS will sell better in the US than the UK and my second book will sell better than that. She added that I will be rich but not 80 million pounds like I dreamt a while back.
I am immensely pissed off to find that Eyal Yanilov, the number 2 for the International Krav Maga Foundation, is coming to visit my old class in Rome in March...and I won't be there. The nearest Krav Maga class is in Monterrey which is 8 hours from here by car so don't think I'll be doing that any time soon.
I recently contacted a retired Very Senior Cop to see if he'd review my book. I worked at his grand-daughter's school in 2000 and after the Christmas fete his daughter Sandra took me and the kid home for coffee and we ended cooking a meal and then sending the kid to bed and drinking 3 bottles of her dad's best red wine. By the time he rolled in with his lady friend at midnight we were both steaming so she couldn't drive me home. Her dad gallantly offered to let me sleep on the sofa but Sandra put her foot down and said she was old enough to have her friends sleep with her. I tried to keep in touch with her after this but her boyfriend 6 months later got the hump so she asked me not to contact her any more and I hadn't spoken to any of them in nearly 11 years.
I found him via a Google search working for a charity and he replied to my e-mail to say he would be delighted to review the book...and Cc'd Sandra into it. The grand-daughter is now 15 and apparently had issues when she went to college. As she was what the Italians call a "strong character" at 5, I can imagine.
Started writing a new book. Now on chapter 3. I have arranged to have my friend's 14 year old daughter Justice read the book who is apparently a ruthless critic and will be only too frank if she thinks what I've written sucks. I am more nervous than a crap X-Factor auditionee facing the perineum (whoever's sitting between Simon Cowell and Cheryle Cole).
A guy who used the same self publisher as me got a one star review of his book on Amazon.co.uk and wrote me a huge e-mail lamenting the unfairness of it and left a follow up comment threatening to have the guy sacked by the police (it was apparently from a serving officer). I advised him to chill and use the Report Libel option on the review page. The reviewer had called the book "a bag of excrement" and I suggested he claim libel on the grounds of "this book is made of paper and not faeces". Seems to have worked but I don't hold out much hope for his future as a writer if he throws a kiddy fit about this type of thing. The fact that he was a cop for 6 years and is married with 2 kids is also worrying with regard to his resilience.
At the top of the street are traffic lights. The guy begging does breakdancing to entertain the red light drivers. Maybe London bums should feel inspired instead of simply sticking their grubby hands through the car window.