licensed piotr pawinski

Vacation South of the Border
by Catfish McDaris

After the army I drifted through mountains in Mexico, exploring pyramids, fishing rivers, and lakes. Sharing meals with smiling people. Money didn’t matter. Cozumel was paradise and Isla Mujeres, Europeans sunbathed nude. Fish rubbed with garlic, chili, and oregano were grilled. Cerveza was icy cold and the mescal with lime and salt was smoky. A monkey lived in a tree, eating boiled eggs. Tourist buses stopped the monkey would climb down and snatch off the ladies’ bikinis and grab their purses and throw stuff all over. Laughter turned into tears and tears turned into laughter.

PHOTO: Lighthouse near the beach in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, an island located eight miles east of Cancun in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Piotr Pawinski (2015), used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Isla Mujeres (Spanish for “Island of Women”) is an island where the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea meet, about eight miles off the Yucatán Peninsula coast. The island is approximately 4.3 miles long and 2,130 feet wide. To the east is the Caribbean Sea with a strong surf and rocky coast, and to the west the skyline of Cancún can be seen across the clear waters. In the 2010 census, the namesake town on the island had a population of about 12,500 people.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catfish McDaris’ most infamous chapbook is Prying with Jack Micheline and Charles Bukowski. He’s from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His newest books are Ghosts of the War Elephants and Meat Grinder.

PHOTO: The author in Guadalajara, Mexico (1976).