Monday, March 19, 2012

¡Semana Culiacana (Cont.)!

After a six-month hiatus, Semana Culiacana, our endless report on our trip to Culiacán, Sinaloa, continues this week. You can catch up on the earlier installments here, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here - but the five-peso summary is that we accompanied a friend and his film crew as they were making a documentary about the drug trade. Yes, we realize this sounds like a bad idea. We all vacation in our own way.

Towards the end of the trip we spent a couple of days with the military unit assigned to fight the narco war in Chapo Guzman’s backyard. The general - whose name [*], though you could easily find it, we will omit because there’s probably a junior officer assigned to Google his name once a day, and we have enough headaches – was a wonderful host, and threw us an absolutely decadent welcoming lunch, attended by his senior staff and his delightfully sassy wife.

At one point during lunch, the correspondent started talking about shoot she just did in a legal brothel in Nevada, where she picked up the rather counterintuitive piece of information that, in the considered opinion of the brothel staff, Chinese men had the biggest penises. Mrs. General, who had just returned with her husband from an official visit to China, squealed with laughter. “Oh my God, why didn’t anyone tell me that when I was there!” clearly implying that the general’s enormous gun was an overcompensation for something.

Say hello to my li'l frien'...


In the entire history of the war on drugs, no group of men have ever looked as uncomfortable as the General’s staff as they tried to decide whether they could laugh or not. We’ve seen show trials where the defendants were more relaxed.

Speaking of shows, it was time to hit the road. We were heading up to the mountains to watch the general and his troops destroy a confiscated marijuana farm – an operation which we have not the slightest doubt was staged entirely for our benefit. Nevertheless, the danger felt real. We’d be traveling a road where, weeks earlier, 11 police officers had been killed in an ambush. When we brought this up in a trying-not-to-reveal-what-massive-fucking-cowards-we-are kind of way, we were assured that, basically, the cops were fuck-ups, and that we’d be traveling with soldiers who knew how to do shit. To say we were rolling heavy would be a massive understatement; we counted about 55 armed and armored troops in our convoy, plus a helicopter escort. An equal number of troops would be waiting for us in the mountains. Anyone that would ambush this would probably then march on Mexico City.



We rode near the back of the convoy, in the general’s armored SUV. Tucked into the pocket of the back seat was a Spanish copy of Malcolm Beith’s biography of Chapo, The Last Narco. “I need to understand my enemy,” he said. It’s no knock on Beith’s excellent book when we say that we’d sort of imagined the head of the Zona Militar in Sinaloa would have other sources of intelligence besides a commercial biography by a gringo journalist.

As we bounced along the streets of Culiacán – stopping, rather surprisingly, at all traffic lights, the driver pointed out how, as soon as we would pass, young men sitting along the side of the road would all reach for their cellphones. “Halcones,” he said. Hawks – lookouts, who were calling their friends in the mountains to let them know what was coming their way. This probably would have worried us, but we were too busy wondering if the safety was engaged on the AR-15 that was pointing right at our knee. Those roads sure were bumpy.



* Note: Since our visit, the general has been transferred - which is perfectly normal and had nothing to do with us.

3 comments:

Conan the Librarian said...

Great stuff, Frank. Would love to hear more about that trip. In particular, how your kneecap fared.

Anonymous said...

"the correspondent started talking about shoot she just did in a legal brother in Nevada, where she picked up the rather counterintuitive piece of information that, in the considered opinion of the brothel staff, Chinese men had the biggest penises."

****************

Yoi have an intuition about Chinese penises?

Burro Hall said...

[rimshot]

It's more that, given what we know about white guys from New England, we would have expected a different answer.