HUATULCO: Pacific Ocean Boat Rides, 6 Degrees of Separation & Icy Cold Dos Equis

It was only a few nights ago that I was in a random taco bar in Huatulco, Mexico with my crew. Sometimes flying is like having 2 Dads and some step siblings all crammed together trying to make group decisions. Every now and again you get a group of people that just kind of fit and when you find them – you just need to go with it. 

Our little road family was pretty cute. We banded together for our 48 hours in Mexico – on a mission to experience some things, be out in the sun and remember why working as aircrew can be a super amazing job. 

Huatulco is in the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Oaxaca is found on the Pacific side just where the country does a geographical turn on the map and the continent starts to get more narrow. The only reason I actually know where Oaxaca is located is from my younger years as a Barista. I got a job at a Second Cup when I first moved to Calgary some 20 odd years ago. Second Cup was all about coffee but also learning about coffee kinda stuff and being knowledgeable about random things like growing regions and flavors in the soil. Oaxaca is absolutely a coffee growing region in Mexico and they make fine, fine coffee.  

Anyway, after a gong-show of a flight down to Mexico I was feeling pretty spent. In fact – I actually had to take refuge up in the flight deck for a little 15 min break in the last quarter of the flight. I had a chat with the guys about how I thought I might actually bail on the crew for some alone time. 

HUX beer me
Ice Cold Dos Equis

But as every good crew member knows – those decisions can’t be made till you are in your hotel room, out of your uniform and back in the world of normalcy -As soon as I was changed and breathing in that humid Mexican air I was ready for some Dos Equis. 

 

It was that first night – in a little local taco shop just a half block from the square in La Crucecita that I realized that the 6th degree of separation bullshit was actually a thing. I was telling the crew that I had lived on the East Coast of Canada and that I went to university out there. I wasn’t wearing my x-ring so when I mentioned I went to university in Antigonish the Captain leaned over to check my hand  – what do you know; The Captain on my crew just happened to go to the same University as me.  

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Me – reppin’ my East Coast Lifestyle gear like a motherfucking boss!

Like the typical people from the East Side we went off on a tangent to figure out if we had any commonalities and there you have it- he just so happened to be friends with a professor I held dear to my heart. 

It is crazy to me that everything sort of leads back to that place for me. That place that tried me so much. The place that changed me. The place that took my life in a very different direction. The place where I understood my childhood but hated it all at the same time. The place that I didn’t realize kind of unraveled me until I painstakingly put myself back together some 10 years later.  You get so connected to your own story that it becomes hard to rewrite it. Figuring out a new path, changing your identity, your story – it’s hard work. I have become fixated on trying to figure out who I truly am – understanding, growing. Can I see through that time and that darkness or will I forever be cloaked with that sadness that leaves so much hollowness inside? Are we supposed to spend our entire life searching? I digress.

HUX boatDinner in the Taco bar led to morning plans to spend the following day together. We all met for breakfast and sat in the square in Santa Cruz having Oaxacan coffee and chiliqilies. I opted for a vegetarian version and when those barely cooked eggs showed up on top of  my food I wanted to barf. I guess I am more vegan than I thought. The iced coffee was divine though. After breakfast we headed down to the beach to find a boat for hire. That is when we got linked up with Jamie – our boat guy – for barely $40 CND each we had hired out a private boat named Johanna II  for the day to do some bay hopping, see some secluded beaches, snorkel and of course day drink. 

We headed back to the hotel to grab our gear while Jamie iced our beer and tequila. We set out on a boat on the Pacific Ocean to explore this tiny area in Mexico. Admittedly I felt like the outsider of the group. But even though I was feeling slightly odd after a couple of drinks none of that stuff mattered.  I had a great time drinking tequila and beer and plunging off the side of the boat into the crystal clear waters. I barely thought about the yellow bellied poisonous snakes at all. 

HUX water
Jumping off the side of the boat into a bay after far to much beer and tequila. 

 

My previous experiences with Mexico have been in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. Busy party central districts – Huatulco felt nothing like this. I swear to you Huatulco is where all the old hippies go -It might be because we were in the town of Santa Cruz which is part of the Huatulco region and not at a resort. It might be because Huatulco is pretty underdeveloped; you can see where they have made plenty of attempts but never actually finished construction on something – but this is a super chilled out area full of people just wanting to be in Mexico in a different capacity. You can see there are all sorts of great resort type projects on the go that have just been left abandoned. It is sad to see but at the same time it makes this area significantly less busy, less people around. It actually feels like a more authentic type of Mexico – whatever the hell that means. 

Getting up on morning two we had about three quarters of the day to just be. We headed down for a crew breakfast at Itoo – which if you are in town is a must. Fresh squeezed juices, and a menu of authentic Mexican food kinda written in English if you need that sort of thing. We sat around and chatted and made a collective decision for some beach time. 

The beach that was linked with our hotel on the Bahia de Santa Cruz wasn’t the prettiest I saw in my 48 hours. But for some last minute sunshine and some time for reading it did the trick.  I tapped out early to head back to my room to mentally prepare for my flight home. Maybe it was the full moon energy but things have been feeling off and I am definitely one that needs a lot of alone time. Sometimes to much. But preparing for work takes time, mental preparation and sometimes meditation. 

Landing back in Calgary makes the little bubble pop. Your little group just disperses and you go back to your normal life and normal things and cold weather. It’s like it never happened. It’s a crazy life how you weave through people and connections and experiences and end up exactly where you were – some of you cross paths again but it’s never in the same circumstances, people or places. You can’t relive a moment or time – you just carry on with the good parts. 

Life.  It’s interesting like that. 

Thanks Mexico, Onward.

 

Iceland

Way back in November 2016  I went to Iceland for the Airwaves Festival.  It was a very short trip but full of music, vegan food and rain. Basically, an all around adventure. Just the way I like it.

 

For the most part my music festival experiences have been in a field and not in the downtown of a city. Iceland has been on my radar for years. I finally just had the ability to make it happen. Hard work from two jobs in a crazy oil city made me feel like I earned the fuck outta this trip. Work hard, play harder, right?!

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Nothing makes me feel more at home than chillin’ by the water.  Sea of Greenland!

 

So that’s it Friends, just a little YouTube smash up of some of my Iceland adventures.

Until next time,

XOXO

C

Iceland Airwaves 2016

For as long as I have known I have Icelandic blood I have wanted to visit the Island. I have always been a music junkie with a pretty wide range of taste. The true addiction began when I bought my 3 cd disk changer stereo back in the day. Then I bought my first CD (which if you are wondering was Annie Lennox – the one with Walking on Broken Glass on it) and the collection and obsession started.  Then when I moved to Antigonish and started hearing amazing local bands every weekend (remember the Trews, anybody, when they played for 5 bucks, or Wintersleep) Then onto a hard core passion for the talent that came out of the East Coast. When I started really festivaling – Somewhere on my festival dream list the Airwaves Festival landed a prime slot. After years of begging people to make the trip with me – this year I booked the damn trip and decided to do it alone.  Finally after years and years of pining over wanting to attend – this was the year, the year I made it to Iceland and ran around Reykjavik with blackberry cider in my Hershel backpack like the rest of the bloody hipsters listening to some of the finest, most unique, often Nordic and airy music I have heard in a long ass time.

If you have been to Airwaves you understand that there are so many bands and so many venues it is really hard to keep track of all the amazingness you are hearing. Part of the journey is running all over downtown Reykjavik and exploring all the weird and wonderful bars. The festival brings in such a variety of music – 2 people attending could see completely different bands and it would be like they are at a different festivals.

Anyway – a few of you have ask for some interesting bands/new music from the festival so in no particular order here are a couple that stood out for me:

Gringlombian – These guys were the right mix of folk and indie for me. Pretty young probably are going to be something amazing AND as you might know – I am a sucker for the banjo. So when they brought that out – I was sold.

Of Monsters & Men – these guys don’t really need any introduction. Although surprisingly not as many people knew who they were. I have been a fan since some random hipster introduced me to these guys way back in my China days. They were on my travel through Croatia play list and they totally didn’t disappoint.  The venue was so tiny – I swear there was maybe 100 of us. A dream.

Milkywhale – I loved loved loved these guys. The right mix of electronic and Indie. Super fun show. Lots of dancing by the people that had space – we were literally by the door of the hostel venue they were playing in. Love. Love. Love.

Glowie –  This was a total random show that happened because I wanted us to be in the Nasa venue right early so we could see another show. But she didn’t disappoint. Not my usual go to but still super good. On my playlist now.

Bjork – This was a wonderfully weird show. She literally sang with the philharmonic orchestra behind her. Her take on music has evolved to a weird eclectic place of the years but was worth every extra penny to get to hear Bjork in Iceland. She also ended the show with on of my favorites  – Pluto  <3!

I also really love the show by Reykjavíkurdætur and my friend Mel raved over the úlfur úlfur show.  The one show I wanted to see and missed was FM Belfast – I guess they will be on the list for next year.

So there you have it friends – some new to me, some not so new, maybe some new to you. A lot of Icelandic artists and a whole lot of lovely. This is not a exhaustive list by any means – just some of the shows that I really liked. If you want to find more – download the Airwaves app on your phone – lets you get into all the great show that were at the festival.

Let me know if you take a listen – what you like, what you didn’t … Did you go to the Airwaves – what was your favorite show?