Friday, June 08, 2007

June 8, 2007 Bonus Blog
Landed in Salt Lake City at about 9:30, got my rental car, a spritely, black Hyundai SUV with gray interior and Utah plates. Took off, but didn't get far. Spotted a hole in the wall Oaxaca-style Mexican food joint on Redwood Road and pulled a U-ee and went inside. I hadn't eaten a meal in two days (yesterday I had two pieces of toast, two pieces of birthday cake and a bag of peanuts and way too much coffee on my marathon run up to Big Dry Wash and back). The name of the place is a mouthful: Guelaquetza. In pure Mexico style, they had a large, high def TV blasting some inane Mexican morning show where a handsome, young hombre in stone washed jeans and a t-shirt chided contestants who had to run into a pit and bring back stupid looking fur-balls. Every ten words or so, he would yell out "Pancho Villa! Pancho Villa!" So I asked my waitress what the hell he was saying that for? And she told me:

"Because in 1810 Pancho Villa freed all the people."

Sometimes it's nice to know people in other countries are as stupid as we are in ours. She was sweet however and raved about True West (I comped her a copy). The food was okay ($16, I just gave her a twenty and said, Muchas Gracias Muchacha. Y Pancho Villa! Pancho Villa!" They laughed and I was mucho happy-nero). Because I gave my waitress a True West all of the other waitreses came over (1) and I quizzed them on John Wayne. They had no idea who he is, and my limited Spanish couldn't get the deed done: "Muy grande, guapo vaquero. Es muy muerto. Y Es muy movie star in Estados Unudos." They went in the kitchen and asked around. Nada. El Dukester evidently hasn't invaded Oaxaca yet, like the Oacacans have invaded Salt Lake.

Got out on I-15 and had a full blown panic attack. Four lanes, boats, landscapers with trailers, semis, just a high-speed mess. Got off and drove down old highway 89 to Provo, catching all the small towns. Loved that. Really pretty little places. Got lost in Spanish Fork and went in another Mexican food joint, El Rancharito on Main Street and nobody knew how to get to Helper. The waitress, the cook, the manager. No wonder these people have to pay $5,000 to get here. But the sad thing is they don't know where they are when they get here. Felt bad for them, so had the carne asado tacos and an iced tea ($11, plus two dollar tip, cash).

Beautiful country. I asked the shuttle driver (who took me from the airport to the off site Advantage Rental Car compound) if that snow on the mountains was old or recent, and he said, "Naw, we only got 14 inches on Monday, rained down here until yesterday, been real dry." I laughed. It was so Utah.

Went in a map store in American Fork (with all these forks I kept looking for Norsky Fork, but perhaps I didn't drive far enough), and it was full of Mormons. Mucho kids (with rosy cheecks), wives (same), and those teenagers who look too virile for their own good. Of course I'm stereotyping in the worst way, but I would bet a case of Coke they were followers of Joseph Smith. Anyway, they wouldn't wait on me. I wanted to buy a map and they looked depressed, like those women on Big Love (HBO). Anyway, I did meet a rascal Mormon at an AAMCO in American Fork. I pulled in to ask directions and he asked me where I was from and I said Arizona and he said, "I won't hold it against ya," with that twinkle in his eye. Liked him immediately. I told him I wanted to get to Helper but didn't want to take the freeway and he said, "You're my kind of guy! Go out here on State Street and follow it all the way down to Spanish Fork. Make a left. And good luck."

I like guys like that. Spunky, mischevious, lookin' for fun. The kind of guys who took out those Missourians at Mountain Meadows.

I'm in a hotel in Price, Utah. In an hour I'm attending the Bordello Bar Dinner in Helper, hosted by Kitty Tetons (if you know what Tetons tranlates into in French you know how happy this name makes me). Big book signing tomorrow and I present the town with the Town of the Year Award from True West. Looking forward to it.

"In 1910 Bozosco Camapana freed all the people in Kingman, but they didn't like it much and went back to volunteer slavery at Duval."
—A certain Kingman historian who doesn't want his name mentioned

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