As I don't have the energy to update blog posts here as well. Thanks. :)
This is a prospective beginning to Two Bullets Left, a book of murder, betrayal, poker, you name it.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico 8:17 pm
Ditmar arranged the game at his place by the sea, in a small neglected corner of Playa del Carmen. Not far from the master planned all-inclusives, several worlds removed. The owner of the property had somehow resisted the hard-cash pitch of luxury developers, believing that, as someone of noble Mayan lineage, his role on the earth was to save remnants of a coastal culture that had erected pyramids and temples throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Preserving coveted land in its natural state is never cheap and Izel was not adverse to extracting money from the property, so long as his ancestors’ hidden shrines were left intact. The end result: Ditmar had his beach house by the sea, rotting planks, peeling paint and all, and Izel his “no questions asked” $3,000 every other week. The motor boats that crept out under cover of night, the rustle of heavy feet and the disruptive whine of motor, were another matter altogether–– Ditmar’s silence on this was implicit.
The players were a “check your identity at the door” bunch––a retired mid-tier government official who still did consulting, an unofficial addendum to pension for years of allowing profits to be laundered unimpeded through a Mexicali construction firm. A souvenir shop entrepreneur who reasonably claimed local residency on that basis and who was actually, so rumor had it, a high-level narco-trafficante. He had worked his way through the ranks and taken bullets so that he could retire on the beach in understated luxury by age 50. There were also a few expats who had been in the community for years, become fixtures. Americanos, Italianos, gutted businessmen with such a mixture of accents that it was not immediately clear from which country––or planet––they came. The lineage did become a bit clearer after watching a few mid-1970s Charles Bronson movies replete with decanters, leather go sets, and fu man chus.
Comfortably able to afford the stakes at hand and trusting that Ditmar would keep everything running in a dependably aboveboard manner, players enjoyed the camaraderie of the weekly game as much as anything. Collusion was not tolerated and the regulars had a finely tuned instinct for when things were not quite right. Naturally, all truces came to a halt when the whales washed in––those temporary Playa residents with money to splurge on the Mayan Riviera and a tolerance for being bled dry. Tonight’s prey were the French importer/exporter with wraparound sunglasses, who smoked Gitanes with nervous fingers, and an Italian fashion magnate with a predilection (so the bartender at El DIablo told him) for boys who exuded a certain machismo.
Ditmar set the whisky in the rolling glass tumbler on the weathered porch and looked out to sea as the fan spun lazy circles––just enough with the aid of coastal breezes to keep the skin cool. Just enough to remind him at moments, caught off guard, that this was indeed paradise. The sound of chips clacking bringing him to the here and now, Ditmar glanced inside at the nervous Frenchman who had been taken down from $80,000 to $30,000 in 30 minutes––the regulars' voices amiable and pleasant, with the surgical precision of trained killers who had accomplished their hit and agreed––by unspoken signal––to give a little back.
From the municipality of Huelquen in the Andean foothills south of Santiago, Vicente has a vision of bringing craft beer to Chile. Something of a beer connoisseur (whose tastes have inexplicably drifted toward the crisp and quenching), I am intrigued.
As Vicente describes it, his father is a well known “hippy” vintner who operates the Antiyal winery and is a purveyor of biodynamic vintages. Antiyal means “son of the sun” in the local Mapuche dialect and has an ethos of growing vines with as little irrigation as possible. Organic composts are used to fertilize and grapes matured holistically. Though the yield is lower, Alvaro Espinoza believes that the resulting wines are imbued with a distinct sense of place––the essence of the Alto Maipo, with its dry climate and alluvial gravel that has washed down over the centuries from the high Andes.
With his family well established in the wine world, I ask Vicente why beer? He explains that Chile does not have any good beers, only conglomerate products such as Heineken and vastly inferior local brews. He feels impelled to create the country’s first true craft beer, taking inspiration from...
(read entire article at EnduranceWriter)
Night train from Raleigh to Miami, through the South. Talking with a chemical engineer John from Oklahoma, by way of New York who has climbed the Seven Sisters, highest peaks on each continent. Sipping wine in the viewing compartment, doing it in style....
- Continue at EnduranceWriter.