5 of January
I don’t know if you know this, but Playa Del Carmen hosts the world’s largest electronica festival annually. With appearances from artists like Chris Liebling and Grimes, the BPM rakes in electronica enthusiasts willing to pay the 400 US dollar entrance fee from all over.
Since moving to Playa Del Carmen almost six months ago, I’ve been to multiple parties hosted by teens and young adults living here, but I couldn’t say I’ve seen the real party scene of Playa until last night. What I mean by the “real party scene” is La Doce, or twelfth street, the nightlife hangout for tourists and residents. Christy and Andrew, our very good, late-twenties friends with the acclaimed young mascot everyone loves: their toddler son Clayton, bravely volunteered to commandeer a group of teens that hadn’t experienced the ambience of La Doce. That group included two brothers aged nineteen, Andy, and fifteen, Ben, that used to live in Puerto Aventuras, a nineteen year old girl friend of theirs, Aidan, plus me. Andrew picked me up from my house a little after ten thirty and we met up with the rest of the party at Piola, a spot-on Italian pizzeria a couple blocks from my house at Calle 44. I was re-introduced to the boys and their mother (we had met briefly one night in Puerto) and gave kisses all around.
The first club we hit on La Doce was a two story, all-windows job called Tribeca. We got in for free and resolved to check out the scene before moving onto another club. Christy and Andrew pillaged a table in between two heads-down giggling blondes and ordered drinks. A prolific dancer, I sheepishly squeezed through the crowd to the dance floor with Ben on a dare, soon to be joined by Andy and Aidan. We hip-swayed, drink-waved, arms-up took over the floor right below the DJ’s pad, and soon a crowd of Asians joined us. I opened up my body towards two of the girls to come in from the outskirts, but soon they were dancing with peace-out signs by their eyes and puffy lips and lots of cameras and iPhones. I regretted my polite, offhanded move as visions of Instagram danced through my head. At the back of the club was a large bench, built into the wall, and a questionable, knobby-kneed ladder leading up to an open, eight by eight platform. I swiftly pulled myself up to the rostrum- in heels, mind you- followed by Ben and Andy. The boys put their arms up, so free and not in the least self-conscience, so I decided that I liked them, and we led the extravaganza from our vantage point. Aidan soon joined us, her electric blue eyes and innocent, light appearance reminding me of Delilah, my sister. I jumped down from the ladder into Andy’s arms, and the six of us perused the club’s premises. The music was deafeningly loud, so we all were screaming at the top of lungs and shoving ears into each other’s mouths.
Tribeca grew old, and the adults had finished their drinks, so we set off in search of a new club to explore. Christy and Andrew have a friend, Benoit, who owns the Blue Parrot club on the beach and is involved with the BPM, the electronica festival. Andrew and Andy pushed through the crowded street to the club to look for him and see if we could skip the rowdy mob-like lines to get into the expensive club. Five minutes later, the boys materialized from the throngs of crazy night-lifers and with giddy excitement explained they had found Benoit and we could get in. Our group elbowed through the diverse crowd and into the line impatiently waiting to be bid entrance into the Blue Parrot. It was the craziest, mosh-pit-like line I’ve ever waited in. In fact, it was the most people I’ve ever seen squished together in my life. Even through the ropes separating the line from the streetwalkers, men and women were neck to neck, cheek to cheek, elbow to elbow. The scene was so congested, as I tried to slip through the large bodies to find Benoit at the top of the line, I found myself smashed between sweaty, foreign bodies with lots of muscles and tattoos. On each side of me was what Americans would call a workout-guru or football material- they were so ripped and large- but for every other country, bodies like theirs are run-of-the-mill. It’s just America flailing in fatty acids I suppose. A man whose pectorals were so beefed up it gave the appearance that he had no neck fought to move his girth to the front of the line, exclaiming that he goes to the BPM every year and they have to let him in. At that point, a Mexican, security blood-hound began shoving the line backwards, engulfing bodies in his massive arms. A girl next to me screamed that the guards better let her in or she was going to be the first to get trampled. I raised my chin to the night sky after some trouble- I was squeezed excruciatingly tight between Ben and Señor No Neck- and gulped for air. I could feel Ben’s body pressed up against mine, curves molding into each other, and he moved his hands to my waist. A guy wouldn’t stop yelling for Marco, and I closed my eyes, letting my body slump, yet somehow, everybody was packed tighter than sardines and even my neck was held upright by the men jostling for position around me. Ben rested his chin on my head.
Twenty minutes without pure oxygen and nice forearm-to-neck action took its toll, so without any difficulty, Christy, Andrew, Andy, Ben, Aidan, and I backed out of the line to the street. We stood at the fence that separated the line to the Blue Parrot from the rest of the partiers and waited for Benoit. I started to call out to a security guard to see where our owner friend was, but Andy said he had already tried to get the guard’s attention, with no prevail. I looked him square in the eyes and leveled, “Ya, but I’m a girl.” He nodded and I waved down an especially bulky guard.
“Perdon Señor, nosotros somos amigos de Benoit. Donde esta el?” The guard turned to me with a sad look in his eye and responded that Benoit was ocupado. But just as we were about to give up, Benoit made an entrance at the gate, shaking hands with Andrew and calling out to the boys. “Give me two minutes,” he promised in a sultry French accent. Before I knew it, my friends and I were waiting at the lesser known entrance to the club, a graffiti-splattered garage door. Security reached out and pulled Andy into the door. I followed, with Ben behind me and the others close behind him. But, marking my grand arrival to the exclusive club, I tripped in a steep gutter that was so closely adjacent to the door I hadn’t even noticed it and Andy had stepped over it. I plunged downward, into the arms of a smug Brazilian-looking man, while Ben tumbled with a knee into my tailbone. The man set me upright and asked in Spanish if I was ok; Ben had a hand on my back and pushed me away. We made our way to Benoit’s wife, Sarah, who was such an interesting character I have to take the opportunity to describe her to you. Christy walked up and said hello to a slightly chubby woman with her dark, dyed hair piled on her head and a tiny smattering of cleavage peeping from her shirt, I gathered that either was just highly social able or she just knew everyone in my group. As each person appeared from behind the next, Sarah’s shrieking of delight grew louder and higher in pitch. She kissed everyone, stretching worn chicken skin across her cheekbones and exclaiming that everyone looked so grown up. Glasses of champagne were passed around with a fantastic, liberal speed, and soon we moved on from Benoit’s party-seasoned wife to listen to the DJs. Ben and I thrust ourselves through the swayers so I could get closer to the DJs. Andy and Aidan caught up to us, and by now, we were no longer acquaintances. We had our hands on each other’s backs, we scream-whispered into each others’ faces, we laughed and giggled and were united from the hundreds of dancing, drinking fools. As the clock tipped one-thirty, it was unanimous: the party scene was so twenty minutes ago. (Haha, had to express my little bit of California girl sarcasm! Sorry!) Anyways, Christy and Andrew piloted us back through the crowd to bid Sarah goodnight. The woman was exactly where we had left her, lounging between a mountainous, militant black man, a short woman who had an uncanny resemblance to Nicki Minaj, and a quite famous DJ, surrounded by Mexican mammies. Andrew kissed her goodnight, Christy kissed her goodnight, and the boys waved offhandedly at Sarah. But before we could leave, Sarah turned to the woman who looked like Nicki Minaj, and poked her plastic-surgury boob with a pointy finger. Nicki Minaj was dressed in butt-tight shorts and a white tank top cut off right below her breasts. But she decided she wasn’t showing enough skin, I guess, because right between where her boobs were squished together, a couple inches of the shirt was shredded tightly across her cleavage. This gave the impression that not only was this woman an aspiring Nicki Minaj, she also felt like working at the strip club in her free time. Sarah scrunched her nose at Nicki’s breasts and added on that her boobs probably even smelled good. As if to prove her point, Benoit’s exotic wife leaned over and stuck her little nose on the shredded part of the tank top. I turned away and faced the rest of the club, finding Andrew in the exact position. We stood there, watching the scene in complete communion for a minute before Sarah’s goodbyes were over and we left through the garage door again- this time I was explicitly cautious of the gutter.
The night suddenly seemed less exciting as we stepped back out into the cobblestone streets that I had always been desperate to experience. We drove back through the streets to Piola, where our night had began. Andrew and I said goodbye to Ben, Andy, and Aidan, and the two of us got into his client’s car he had borrowed and drove me home. I enjoyed the rides with Andrew, I got to actually talk to him for a little while instead of just standing back and commenting sarcastically on situations like how we have done in the past. I admire Andrew and Christy so much. I really want them to like me for some reason, maybe it’s because there’s something so wonderful about them to me. There’s something familiar about Christy to me, something that feels like home, and I love her.
After ten minutes outside my house, fumbling with the lock to the big white gate, I locked it and went to the actual door to challenge that lock with my key ring. First, I stuck one of the five keys into the top lock, then realized I didn’t have to unlock that one: I only needed to open the one of the door handle. I jiggled the wrong key out of the top lock and tried it on the correct one. No give. I thought that maybe I had accidentally jammed the first lock, so I went back and forth between the two locks, helplessly, stupidly not able to open the door to my house. I grouchily thought about how my lock-picking skills would pay off right now, if I had the proper tool. All that I had on me was my Nokia and an empty purse. After trying about every key five times, I slumped against the threshold and prayed that I wouldn’t have to sleep in the backyard. My inner conscience smirked at me as if to say, “Wow, you ‘re completely immobilized because of a couple hours out.” I was exhausted, and my dogged- tiredness was affecting my key-and-lock skills apparently because I had idiotically stuck the wrong key in the door and screwed up the lock. To my credit, I had barely gotten any sleep that week and the late, eventful night had pushed me over the edge. I was being a lightweight, I know. Anyways, I somehow found the right combination of lock-twisting and let myself in with a sigh of relief. I padded up the stairs, shed all my clothes and jewelry, and fell face-first in only my panties onto the mattress. I was looking forward to that blissful feeling you get after laying down from a long day, but all it did was amplify the bees that were buzzing in my head. ZzzzzZZZZzzzZZZZzzzzzzzZZZZzz. It sounded like a broken refrigerator, running loudly with whirring with that mmzzzmm electrical noise and making the kitchen unbearable. I noticed the goosebumps running up and down my legs like firecrackers, and I curled up with fistfuls of the sheets, my attempt to procure some warmth in vain. I tried to limit my movement, as it sent throbbing, buzzing bees into my temples. I supposed an hour had passed, my body on the verge of an emergency exhaustion shut-down, but it wasn’t coming. I peeped open one eye, and I found the mattress bathed in a pre-dawn duskiness. Then, at some point, I drifted into a clandestine world of the physically dead.
My left eye struggled through sleep-heavy eyelids to a vision of Mum, yelling at me for not calling her when I had let myself a couple hours ago. She was dressed, and I gathered it must be late morning. What day is it? Oh, right. It must be Sunday, I thought as Mum rambled on in a fit of fury. I tuned back in,”….And you said you were gonna call, and Christy and Andrew said they were gonna call, but no one called!”
“I’m sorry Mum..really sorry…” I repeated the phrase a couple times while my head sunk back into the pillow. My long hair tickled my lower back, and I turned over as the room grew quiet. The bees sniggered in a perseverant, pestering manner in my head, and I cursed them out loud, breaking the silence of the afternoon. At twelve-thirty, I convinced myself it was about time I got up and checked out what my family was up to. The house was uncharacteristically sound, and I stumbled upright and downstairs. The kids were watching National Treasure, Kalin slumped on the couch with a fever. Mum and Papa had gone to the hospital for Papa’s worsening bacteria infection in his nose. At first his condition rendered lots of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer jokes from me, but he’s in lots of pain and I shamefully put a stop to that teasing nickname. I’ve spent the day braless in a black sweater and alternately little shorts and sweatpants, which is basically my feel-good outfit. I’ve contracted a small fever which hopefully won’t last for long, I have lots of people I want to be there for and I can’t help a flea with these bees in my brain.