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September 1st, 2013

People, you, as I was, are living under the false assumption that the most awesome creature on this planet is the spider. You have been, as I was, living in ignorance of the amblypygi.

Voyage with me as I abandon eloquent prose in favour of enthusiasm. This is an arachnid that decided only weaklings need poison and to set traps, and real heroes beat things with their spiky arm things. So, they shunned web spinners, evolved their puny spider antennae things into nasty bommyknockers, and then, being without feelers, grew one pair of legs to be uber long and feelery. The kind I saw had a long span indeed, around half a metre.

Dave, Nae, Mother and I went into an underground restaurant made from part of the cave system under Playa del Carmen, which is, in itself, awesome sauce, and being that it is a cave system they don't really seal sections, they just occupy and light to a point, leaving tunnels diverging outwards. Coming in from these tunnels are amblypygi, and they just sit on the tunnel face and exude championess.

This discovery came after Dave and I had purchased straw sombreros and brightly coloured ponchos and headed out onto the end of a long and abandoned pier that jutted into the Carribean Sea, so our foolish Mexican stereotyping would not annoy the locals. We need not have worried, as our faux fist fighting dressed as banditos attracted cheers of appreciation from passing speedboats filled with locals.

These last experiences, along with finding the water to be extremely warm for swimming late into the night, salvaged the experience of Playa del Carmen, though I don't know that I'd return.
As I am far behind, I offer an account contemporary to momentus events:

My cunning plan was realised on Sunday 24th of July 2011. This was the first day the stars aligned for it, and the last day Naomi was to spend in Mexico during my contracted time. My plan, secret from Naomi, was to be collected in front of our condominium by our dear friend and
chauffeur-for-the-day Sebastian at the hour of 9.20am, allowing some margin for 'Hora Mexicana', the curse of all things running late. Thus, I hoped for arrival at our destination at 10am, beyond which time the situation would be outside of our control. To make Hora Mexicana laugh, one needs only make a plan, and circumstances delayed our departure until 9.50, and our arrival at our destination of the town of Tlalnepantla de Baz until 10.30, by which time hoards of lollygaggers infested the square, the situation I had aimed to avoid.

I need not have worried – being Mexican, the mob was there for the second draw of the location, the Catholic church, and not the adjacent primary draw, the Aztec pyramid of Santa Cecilia Acatitlan, whose gates open at 10. The only souls who remembered the old gods that day were a film crew, from the Discovery Channel as it turned out, who politely declined Sebastian's request to take a walk for five minutes, but whom left us undisturbed and stayed off of the pyramid.

Thus, we nimbly climbed the steep stairs of the structure, with now-photographer Sebastian close behind. At the top, in front of the temple, I produced the ceramic vessel I had been concealing in my bag, a replica of an Aztec artifact bearing the image of Tlaloc, god of rain, to whom the place was sacred. My good friend David had obtained this the day earlier at the anthropology museum's store, unbeknown to the then-present Naomi  - “I need to use the bathroom... I'll be back after a seemingly unnecessarily-long interval”. I placed the vessel on the Chuc Mool, the very stone that once received sacrificial offerings, went down on one knee, raised up the pot in both hands, and asked for Naomi Laura Dias' hand in marriage.

While the initial response was lost behind choking and tears, I was later assured that the answer was certainly yes, as she did not throw the pot at my head and run away down the stairs. Sound logic. It was also overjoyed to hear her describe my efforts as 'the perfect proposal'.

This lunar cycle

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