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I took a walk today to the gorge. It is part of the wilderness in this area of Mexico. Standing at the top of a pathway at the top of the gorge, near a small shrine dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and looking down at the steep path deciding whether to descend, three young men and a black dog walked up from behind. In Spanish they asked me what I was doing. In my broken Spanish I replied, “Nothing.” Then the oldest man screamed very loudly “I’m the master of the jungle.” They started down the pathway and told me to follow them.

Carefully I walked down the path behind them trying not to slip on the loose rocks and fall. We made it to the bottom of the gorge and walked upstream along a path that paralleled the river at the bottom of the gorge. We crossed the river upstream from a small lake that was created by a small dam, and then walked back downstream to the lake. Along the way we passed ruins from previous structures, an old stone bridge, some type of old building that had very thick walls, and what looked like a previous stone dam that had long ago collapsed under the weight of the water after a heavy rain. Along the way the three men collected dried branches.

Eventually we came to a spot on the small lake and they told me to get some rocks for the fire. They took the rocks and made a three stone hearth. It reminded me of Ancient Mexico and how the Aztec and Maya used three stone hearths for cooking. Soon they had a good fire and the youngest man started jumping back and forth across the fire.

Next they started smoking marijuana, big fat joints. This made the oldest and youngest men crazy. The oldest man pulled a knife out of his backpack and told me, “I could kill a thousand people with this”, it made me nervous. None of them could talk English and my Spanish is not very good, most of the time I just looked at them and nodded my head in agreement.

I asked the oldest, “What is your dog’s name?” He responded, “Death.” It was a big black dog but it was very friendly.

The fire burned down to hot coals and they pulled some chicken and tortillas out of their back pack. They threw the dog a big piece of raw chicken and it wolfed the whole thing down. They roasted the rest of the chicken over the hot coals and warmed up some tortillas. They shared the roasted chicken and tortillas with the dog and I.

After eating they smoked some more marijuana and talked some more shit, usually making me the brunt of their jokes. They took off their clothes and jumped into the lake. This made the dog happy and he jumped in also. They told me to get in the water but I refused because I didn’t want to get wet. Soon they were back on the bank calling me a pussy because I wouldn’t go in the water. This went on for sometime and they finally gave up on me going in the water.

The oldest man had a large scar on his abdomen and I asked him, “How did you get that scar?” He replied, “From asking too many questions.” This made them all laugh again. He also had tattoos of Jesus, Santa Muerte, and other religious symbols.

The oldest man lied down on the ground after his swim and the ants started to crawl onto him. When I went to brush them off he said, “Leave them alone.”

They started talking about drugs and wondered if I liked cocaine. Soon they wanted to know if I could get them into the United States. Then they told me that they were going to set up camp at the location we were and live there. They took all the money I had so that they could walk back into town later and buy a large cooking pot and some other supplies.

Eventually I decided it was time to leave and departed. They told me to come back next week and visit them.

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