24.3.12

The sun is a perfect yellow and silver circle in the sky, its edges sharp despite the surrounding haze. Going to Rabat. Jamila beyond nice. Felt so good when she put her hand on my thigh or grabbed my arm. I haven’t had the touch of a woman in a long time. Sad to leave her but I must go on. Flying across the Moroccan countryside with sun setting, sheep and cows grazing. The people here are wonderful. They shake your hand promptly when they see you in the street and touch their chest afterward to acknowledge it if it’s a first time.

Our taxi driver was certifiably insane. I’ve been in a few crazy taxis but that took the cake. Raised the bar.

I almost just said I feel like I’m in Africa. I am in Africa.

I Flashed a Pink || R2V6

I thought yesterday’s cup of tea was an anomaly, that I was off caffeine for good. But today, as if in a trance, I found myself putting the kettle on, pulling the teabag out of the box, putting it in the cup, waiting for the familiar gurgle (or ALMOST gurgle since I never let the water boil), and then pouring the steaming hot liquid onto the tea leaves  — and even glancing at my clock to see what time it was so I don’t let it steep too long!

This could easily snowball into my caffeine consumption from before, basically going from grocery store to grocery, cafe to cafe, all day buying caffeinated products.

And I don’t want that to happen.

WE don’t want that to happen.

You’re probably wondering about the title of this post.

“Ha, good one Mark. Nice clickbait,” you may have said.

But no, yesterday at SEATTLE BOULDERING PROJECT POPLAR, I actually flashed a pink. This means that I established on the starting holds and then maneuvered my way up to the boulder to the top, where I delicately placed both hands on the finishing hold, held them for the requisite time, and then delicately climbed back down.

I am not a liar.

Here’s the thing, though: I didn’t get THAT much satisfaction from it. I didn’t put any work into it. I didn’t suss out the beta a bunch beforehand. I didn’t look at the moves. I just got on it and climbed, and it happened to be exactly my style (aka a stemmy problems where you basically don’t need arms) and then a few seconds later found myself at the top. Sure, I was STOKED, I mean obviously — but it didn’t give me the satisfaction that a black I’d been working on for the past half hour before and wasn’t sure if I was gonna get gave me. Because you see the black I actually had to work for, whereas the pink was a proverbial stem in the park/bouldering gym.

Anyway, other than that I don’t have much to report, but I’m going to keep talking for a bit anyway, as I’m wont to do.

What else could I talk about.

It’s sunny here today in Seattle, so that’s nice.

I just shaved my beard and so feel like a spring hen.

After this I think I’m gonna go to Whole Foods and get a matcha bar, and then MAYBE run the Howe stair climb.

I really wish I had some honey for this black tea.

I literally check the status of my Nexus application every day. It’s so dumb. It could be another two months before they process it, and yet I check every day.

Slash am I going to Pembina, North Dakota?

I do actually want to do a bit of traveling this summer. Here are the destinations I’d like to visit, in order of how badly I’d like to visit them:

  1. Alaska — I’m yearning to go back. Haven’t been back in a long time.
  2. Quebec — I’m yearning to go back. And to boulder in Les Laurentides. And talk to monolingual French speakers.
  3. Sweden — I mean, how awesome would it be to spend midsummer in Scandinavia jumping over a fire with some kind of crown of woven sweetgrass braided into your hair?
  4. German/Europe — I kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinda wanna go to Europe. But, like, not that bad. So I probably won’t. Not too high on the list. So freaking far.

And then of course there’s Squamish. I hope to spend a LOT of time in Squamish this year. Like, a decent amount. Like, a little bit. Like, I hope to get up there at least a couple times.

My reading material last night as I lay in bed was the Squamish Bouldering guidebook, by Marc Bourdon. It’s not exactly Dostoyevsky, but it it moves me in the same way and drives me to contemplate life. There are so many quality problems there I want to get on, and I’m convinced in the next couple weeks the weather’s gonna turn and it’s gonna be scorching hot in Leavy and even too hot in Gold Bar and everyone’s gonna flock to Squamish and I’m gonna be there, happy as a damn razor clam, alternating between sleeping in my car/tent and commuting back to my cottage on the border in Blaine. It’s going to be wonderful, and I hope to see you there. We’ll climb V0’s — we’ll climb V2’s! Hell, we may even climb a V5. And by V5 I of course mean V6, since that’s the title of this series (for now!). In fact, I already have figured out the V6 we’re going to climb. It’s called Lounge Act, and it’s in the Easy Chair area. And I better see you there. And you better try it with me. And then afterward we’ll go celebrate with a cup of tea.

– Wetz

Things I Didn’t Do

I can’t sleep. This is not ideal. It’s 11:26pm in Mexico City and I’m sitting in the living room of my Airbnb and I can’t sleep.

I just put on a playlist called “Selva” on YouTube Music. Maybe this will help. Otherwise the plan is just to get into bed soon and read the book Sleeping Bear by Connor Sullivan.

I definitely like Mexico City better than Guadalajara. Like, it’s not even close.

I feel like I just had two or three coffees. Damnit.

I wish I could talk to you about something profound. But I don’t know if I have anything profound. And I don’t really want to just tell you everything I did today.

Well, I guess I could, since that would only take a few seconds. I got my teeth cleaned. Darren and I rode bikes to La Condesa and got lunch at Ojo de Agua. I got a haircut and a shave. I got a chai latte. I started filling out my paperwork for the Chile covid stuff. We got burgers. I worked a bit, namely prepping tasks and seeing which ones are gonna require questions. I had two glasses of wine. I did some pullups. I did some pushups. I did some dips.

But these are the things I DID. What about the things I…..did.

When I woke up I cracked the sliding glass door and watched two morning doves sit on the railing. The looked in at me over their shoulders and I thought they might fly in. The air smelled cool and clean and like Mexico City. I enjoyed lying in bed, happy that I’d been able to get back to sleep after waking up at 7:30am.

I rode the bike standing up, gleefully hopping all the deformities in the pavement.

I stared at myself in the mirror of the barbershop, willing my beard to be gone. And then when it was gone I thought, I like this so much better. Why do I let myself have a beard. And on the way out I said, “Que tengan buena tarde” to all the people in the barbershop.

After watching the morning doves I enjoyed a cup of coffee by myself on the balcony, looking out at the plants and at the world trade center building behind me.

I didn’t shower.

Let’s talk about things I didn’t do.

I didn’t shower.

I didn’t change clothes except for my pants and shirt. I put on my Surf Wyoming shirt.

I didn’t write any booking descriptions.

I didn’t write Clara back.

I didn’t book my ticket to Chile.

I didn’t do my physical therapy. But I did do yoga.

I didn’t meet any new people.

I didn’t smoke any cigarettes.

I didn’t eat breakfast.

I didn’t boulder.

I think it’s about time for me to get into bed. Or at least try. I’ll read my book and hopefully that’ll relax me and I’ll be able to sleep. We’ll see.

I’m not going to publish this I’m gonna wait till tomorrow to see what kind of disaster it is.

GDL #2

I’m at a cafe called Saint Malo drinking chai. It’s hot. The air is hot. Everything is hot. I’m mildly in love with the girl working here though I’m not sure she’s the same girl who was here yesterday, and I was mildly in love with her too. There’s no one here. I’m tucked in a corner on my laptop supposedly doing work for Booking but mostly guzzling my chai and wondering what this get-together will be like tonight. I guess we’re bringing wine. Hopefully I don’t have social anxiety. Will be interesting for Darren since everything will be in Spanish.

Slash.

K might need to get matcha now.

Iced matcha.

Would living in GDL be sick? I…………………………….

I have no idea.

Would it be prison? Would living in Santiago de Chile be several thousand times cooler? I’d so much rather have a girlfriend with a Chilean accent than a Mexican accent. God Chilean Spanish is terrible, but so beautiful when spoken by women. Do you take this man to be your lawfully-wedded husband? Si, po.

No seeeee, po.

I wish I could never be socially anxious ever. That would be amazing.

We’re flying to Mexico City on Sunday afternoon staying in an Airbnb that looks sooooooooooooooo dope. It’s in the Colonia Napoles, and has a huge balcony.  Slash plants. Slash two bedrooms.

I literally just sit around consuming all day.

PV #2

Made it to Puerto Vallarta OK. The flight was good. I had an exit row and was sitting next to two people who wore their masks properly and spoke Spanish. I spent most of the flight either listening to music or watching stuff on Netflix. The flight was just over four hours, so not that bad, and then I just walked to my hotel from the airport, which was only about ten minutes away. In the evening I went to the beach and for some reason had to wait 20 minutes at the entrance of this one private resort to get to the beach. I didn’t really understand what was going on, but didn’t want to waste time looking for another entrance to the beach since almost all of the access was blocked by resorts. Finally a woman explained to me that the security people who let you onto the beach were on dinner break from 6-7pm, and that’s why I was waiting. When I finally got in I went for a quick dip but the water was pretty dirty. Nice sunset, though. There was a cruise ship leaving.

Now I’m at the Comfort Inn getting ready for my flight to Guadalajara. I just had the continental breakfast which was pretty underwhelming. I had papaya, granola, honey and coffee, and when I asked if I could take the coffee cup to my hotel room they said no. Right after that I watched a guy take all his dishes and leave, probably towards his hotel room, while the woman who’d just told no me looked on, frustrated. I’m gonna go to the airport soon to check in and hopefully get some work done. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of plane I have for the flight to GDL. I’m flying on an airline called Aeromar. Then I meet Darren near the American Consulate and we’re gonna have lunch before checking into our Airbnb.

I think I probably will go to Chile after Mexico City. It’s been over three years since I was there. It’s so nice here this morning in Puerto Vallarta. The temperature is perfect. It’s colder here than in Guadalajara! I slept pretty well last night though waking up at 7am this morning felt really early, probably because it was 5am back in Seattle. Puerto Vallarta would not be a terrible place to live.