|Posted by DriveGoddess on November 18, 2010 at 12:26 PM|
Machetes.....moonlight......hot countries.......hot tempers.......chicas calientes. Man, I have seen some major damage inflicted with machetes, the weapon of choice in some locales and becoming oh so popular in my city these days - hey, bigger can be better right?
I remember quite clearly that one night at a popular club in steamy San Pedro Sula, a gritty Honduran shit hole not known for being a tourist destination but then again what the hell would I be doing in a touristy area anyway as relaxation to me is finding a sleazy bar replete with the requisite shady characters - wait a minute, that was a time-share presentation? Dayam!
I was out with some friends, local business dudes who loved having la Gringa la Rubia in tow.....guess I was a status symbol of sorts for them.....the drinks were flowing and it was Sabado Chiquito, litte Saturday - FRIDAY NIGHT to you foreigners. The music was great, heavy salsa interspersed with the American hits of the day. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and then I heard it, we all heard it - right over the music - the fighting call of PUTA MADRE TU ERES MUERTO!!!!!
I don't know where the hell the machete came from as we were asked to surrender our weapons at the door but out it came and in one rapid arcing motion it slashed across this one dude's face, blood spurting out in all directions just like scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail when Arthur cuts off the Black Knight's arm only this induced vomiting and screaming rather than raucous laughter.
Transfixed I was and not able to take my eyes off the scene until I felt my arm being grabbed and next thing you know we beat a hasty retreat out to our vehicles. Of course we went to another club only this time a fancy one where only glocks were used when a fight would ensue over women and/or drugs - you know, the high class "chit, Mang".....think Al Pacino in Scarface and you get the picture which is not that far off the mark in some of these places.
The next morning one of my associates met me for the requisite poolside cafe con leche y pan brandishing the local tabloid. I could have seen the lurid headline from twenty feet away so large the typeface was, promising very graphic photos in the centrefold. Of course we looked.
In a photographic style that would have been worthy of a nineteen fifties ambulance-chasing hack there were the black and white photos of the victim before and after he received 120 stitches. He was pretty messed up. His assailant was grinning in his shots as if to say hey Chico besame culo pendejo!
Man, you just can't get quality images like that back here in the land of "Caution some viewers may be shocked at real life images" media.....shit, folks go to theatres and watch Freddy rip apart cute girls but heaven forbid they see an actual dead victim of war or crime displayed on their widescreen or in the Sunday paper.
Growing up in the seventies it was those images from Vietnam and Cambodia that stirred not only my imagination but pointed me in the directions that I followed as a photojournalist, writer and adventurer. Many of those images became became iconclastic and when seen even by individuals half my age who were not influenced as such they can still shock and disturb because the events actually happened.
Yes, it is something I will explore, those often blurry lines between the real and imagined......oh by the way, did I mention that the machete incident was during Semana Santa - EASTER WEEK? No? Oh well, American Thanksgiving is next week so sharpen up those axes and chop a few birds and by all means, have fun!