Sunday, August 24, 2008

Central American Tour 2008

June 19
After rounding everyone up and eating at Matt's mom's house in Fullerton, we were off to our 140 am flight from LAX to Guatemala City.

The line was fucking miserable, and after standing in line for like half an hour they told us our merch bags were too heavy and they were going to charge us an extra $150 to bring them on the plane and on top of that they weren't even guaranteed to get to Guatemala for 2-9 days. So we all scrambled to take as much merch out of the duffel bags and cram shirts into our carry on luggage...after much stress and scrambling we made the weight work being like 3 pounds under the limit and got the merch bags onto the plane with no extra charge. STOKED. After that fiasco Wes and I somehow got Business Class tickets...awesome. I slept for most of the plane ride, if you can call sleeping on airplanes real sleep. We landed at like 7 am and had to go through customs after we got all of our luggage. Luckily the customs agent got annoyed with none of us being able to speak Spanish (even though Kurt does) and let us in without taxing us for anything. After customs we were finally able to go out and saw 2 kids, one wearing a Grave Maker shirt and one wearing a Geeks shirt. It was awesome being able to spot our ride so easily. Diego and Byron proceeded to take us to the city so we could change over our money to Quetzales.

After hanging in the city for a little, we made our way to Diego's (our host) house. He lived about 30 minutes out of the city so it was much more rural. On the way we saw this:

After a bumpy ride, we arrived to Diego's house to be greeted by his mom and sister. we ordered pizza and chicken I think. Diego told us his family had rented us a house across the street so there would be enough room for everybody. The house had no running water or electricity...pretty weird. We all slept on inflatable beds and mine and Kurt's deflated 10 seconds after we layed down on it every night...fuck that ground was uncomfortable.

Oh's a picture of how a bathroom with no running water works. The trash can is filled with water that you fill the bucket with and pour in the toilet to flush

June 20
The next morning some of the dudes went on a run with the Guatemalans, and after that we all met up for them to take us on a guerrilla mission into the jungle. Whenever people go into jungles, it's usually on a tourist guided venture, with paths and everything. Not the case with ours. The jungle was so fucking sketchy with us having to go under barbed wire fences, crossing rivers, and trying to find a path let alone solid ground to walk on. I didn't even know if the Guatemalans knew what they were doing. Oh yeah, there were a shitload of random cows on the way there and some sitting in the middle of the jungle. The 4 hour hike got sketchier the farther we went, there was actually a path when we started that quickly disappeared

When we got back it started pouring rain so we all got soaked. I think most of us took cold ass showers and went to the mall and a Chinese restaurant after this. I'm a food fanboy/connoisseur so I took a lot of food pictures.

Awesome store in the mall:

Chinese food in Guatemala:

June 21
We woke up and went to Antigua to relax for a day before our first show...

Guatemalan Thai food? I wish we ate here

The restaurant we ate at was criminally delicious. I wish I took a picture of the name so I could remember it. Food pictures will have to do I guess

After Antigua it was finally time for our first show. I had no idea what to expect as I'm sure none of us did either

The show started super early and there weren't that many people there...but by the time we went on there were around 60-70 people there. The venue was basically a dilapidated abandoned house. People weren't as into it as I hoped, but we sold a good amount of merch. Oh yeah, and we covered Seein Red by Minor Threat and kids lost their minds. I guess the 80s core is strong in Guatemala. Here's some pictures of the venue:

Our ridiculous amount of merch

The crew after the show

After the show, at least half the people in the above picture including us went to eat at this Italian restaurant called Vesuvius. They had 3 foot long pizzas! so fucking good.

Apparently everyone in Guatemala walks around with a machine gun/rifle so I made it a goal to get a picture with one. Mission accomplished:

3 foot pizzas

We made our way back to Diego's after saying bye to all the new friends we'd made. Playing Guatemala again will rule. The hospitality of Diego's family was through the roof, his mom even made me pancakes when we got back because I have 4 stomachs. His little sister made us this:

June 22
After a quick breakfast, we made our way to the bus station and met up with Aldemaro from El Salvador. He had come up to Guatemala the night before to see our show there, and rode with us on the bus to El Salvador. The dudes at the border had huge guns and I got some pupusas for a dollar, a native food of El Salvador. They're kind of like a salty stuffed pancake with beans and squash and meat. (no meat for me). You put pickled cabbage on top for flavor. Delicious.

After arriving to El Salvador and dropping off all of our shit at Aldemaro's everyone was hungry so we went to get more pupusas since me and Kurt were the only ones who got them on the bus ride.

Check out the pickled cabbage and Aldemaro's sweet nintendo tattoo. Dude is obsessed!

After we ate it started pouring rain so we all got drenched before we could find a bus to take us back to Aldemaro's. After making our way back we got ready for our first show in El Salvador and went to the venue.

The venue was upstairs but it had open sides so it didn't get super hot. I think we ended up playing second to last and the reaction was awesome. The only bummer about this show was that most of the bands were metalcore. But the hardcore kids dug us so much, they asked us to play a show with all hardcore bands at the same venue 2 days later! We gratefully obliged. After the show, we all went to a restaurant that was pretty hot inside. We wanted to sit outside but the locals told us it's too dangerous to sit outside at night...weird. After sitting there for awhile no one ate so we made our way back in 2 taxis. On the ride back our taxi driver told us we were driving through an MS 13 neighborhood and that if anyone walks around there at night they would for sure be killed. Oh and he also mentioned that they sometimes stop taxi drivers at night, kill them, and take all their money. Not awkward at all.

June 23
We woke up and went to the mall where they had KFC, Pizza Hut, and a bunch of random stores.
KFC Delivery bikes?

Pizza Hut is a sit down restaurant in Central America

No smoking, No Dogs, No Guns...?!?

After lunch we met up with some more locals to make our way to the beach. It was about an hour from where we were staying, so it was awesome that they were willing to take us.
Wild horse on the way to the beach

After we got back from the beach we were all hungry again so we went to another Chinese restaurant. Kurt and I wanted to eat Chinese food in every country...awesome.

This plate of chow mein was 3 dollars!

June 24
Kurt, Rory, Matt, and Aldemaro went to the city while me and Tyson hung out at Aldemaro's house. Wes got tattooed on Aldemaro's front porch for a payment of 5 shirts to Dennis, the best dude ever.


Awesome banner in the city

This was the night of our second show in El Salvador

I was a bit skeptical about how this show would was booked 2 days before the day of the show. I was even more skeptical when it started 4 and a half hours late at 930. We ended up going on at around midnight and everyone stayed and came in. We played probably our craziest set ever, crowd wise. Kids were losing it the whole night and when our last song started they did a wall of death and we didn't even ask or motion for it, it was insane. We sold a ridiculous amount of merch. El Salvador has a great hardcore scene.
Wall of Death

Dude jumping over Wes

Us with the locals after the show

After taking a shit ton of pictures with all the locals, we went back to Aldemaro's house for dinner, made by his mom.
Aldemaro's mom's chow mein..with hot sauce

June 25
By the time we finished eating it was about 130 am and we had to be at the bus station to go to Honduras by 5 am. I tried to stay up but I fell asleep at like 4. For some reason, we had a super nice bus with crazy comfortable seats. I love you King Quality Bus Line. Oh yeah, this bus ride is where we started taking pictures of each other asleep making ridiculous faces.
Case in point:

We got picked up by Christian and Roxanne, who took us to the mall to eat. Wes and I ate at Subway, Kurt ate Chinese food, A few dudes ate Wendy's...anyways, after we ate we made our way to our host Johnny and Steph's house
Across the street from their house

We were the first hardcore or punk band to ever play in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and hardcore does not exist there. We played in a bowling alley with a screamo band and a metalcore band. I had no idea how the kids would react when we played. The kids went off when we played, basically just running around and going crazy the whole time. We covered Minor Threat and not one person in the room had heard of them, it was so surreal. We sold at least one shirt for every person who was there, and there were around 40-50 kids there. The treatment we got after our set was unreal. We were taking pictures and signing autographs for like half an hour after we were done. Insane! Did I mention we played in a bowling alley?

After the show some of the locals took us to get a local Honduran delicacy, Baleadas. Baleadas consist of a huge fluffy tortilla with mashed beans spread on it. I got mine with just beans, avocado, and salsa, but you can also get meat, sour cream, and cheese. SO good.

O rly??????????

June 26
We woke up and Roxanne and Christian were nice enough to take us to...somewhere that I don't remember the name of. But it was totally sweet, as you will see with the ensuing pictures.


National Geographic?

We left this beautiful location because Rory, our roadie jumped out of a tree into the above pictured river and landed on a rock, cutting his back and bruising his rib. Crazy. When we arrived at the hospital, Kurt was asleep and a bug flew in his mouth and hung out.

Crazy Honduran traffic

After we left the hospital we got food from Pizza Hut, and went to the local college because our ride, Christian, had class for an hour. We met a girl that wanted to go to the show the night before but she couldn't make it. She was stoked to hang out with us for a little, and we went to the mall with her so Kurt and Tyson could get their hair cut

After the mall we went back to Steph and Johnny's house. Their mom had made us a plate of beans, rice, plantanes, and some of the best avocado I've had in my life. Fucking delicious! Seriously, how good does that avocado look?

June 27
We woke up and headed over to the bus station to go to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 5 syllables.
The hills of Tegucigalpa

We were greeted by Juan and his friends. Juan is such a sweet dude, he lived in LA for 6 months to go to Musician's Institute and his dad was a pro soccer player. His family was loaded and he had a studio in his house! His band Ant1v1ru5 played our show with us and they ruled. Awesome musicians.
Juan's studio in his house

I wish we were in Tegucigalpa for longer than a day so we could have recorded here. We went to the mall and I ate 2 foot longs from Subway. After the mall we headed over to the venue for our show in Tegucigalpa

The 2 other bands on this show were a mix between screamo and nu metal. Hardcore doesn't exist in Tegucigalpa either, but the kids were still awesome. The first 2 bands were both really awesome musicians. The equipment that we played on was really nice too. The kids went crazy when we played, and didn't know Minor Threat here either. After our set was done, the kids were screaming for an encore and we had already played all the songs that we we played one of our songs twice and kids were super stoked on it. So awesome! Honduras has the nicest people ever. Oh yeah, and before we played, Kurt got tattooed because he didn't have a chance to in El Salvador. When he was getting tattooed, we heard a DJ talking about our show that night on the radio in the shop. We called in and the artist told the DJ he was tattooing the guitarist...Weird.

After the show we stayed at Juan's girlfriend's house, Virginia. She was pretty sassy, but cool. Her parents were also loaded so we enjoyed the first hot showers of tour. We got about 4 hours of sleep before having to wake up and go to the bus station to go to Nicaragua.

June 28
We woke up early and were at the bus station by 6 am. After saying bye to our new friends in Tegucigalpa, we got on the bus. The roads were dirt practically the whole way there. Nicaragua was the poorest country we played in, and it was insanely hot during the day.

This was seriously in the middle of nowhere. Coke is taking over the world.

We finally made it to Nicaragua and Jorge met up with us at the bus station. We didn't meet one person who spoke English the whole time we were in Nicaragua. Jorge took us to Violeta's house, where we stayed 2 out of 3 nights in Nicaragua. It was conveniently located almost across the street from the venue we played at. After dropping off all of our stuff, we went to eat. This place looked pretty hole in the wall, but it was delicious.
Beans and rice, with FUCKING DEEP FRIED MASHED POTATOES. I lost my mind at how good this was.

After we ate, we made our way to the venue to play.

This show was interesting. I didn't really pay attention to the first 2 bands, but I remember one of them covering Norma Jean haha. Option played after us, Violeta's band. I think they are the only hardcore band in the whole country. Kids were super stoked on them. Awesome dudes/dudette. We played last and it was fucking packed, kids went off. It must have been 130 degrees in that tiny fucking room by the end of our set. We are all completely soaked by the time we finished playing.
So fucking hot...

June 29
We were rudely awaken by the blistering Nicaraguan heat. Violeta and her family had a pretty nice house, so it was comfortable. Her family are Christian missionaries, so they give drugs for free to the sick and poor I think, so they had stacks of pills in bags in their living room. It was so fucking hot a cold shower sounded good for once. We planned to go to Granada for the day to go to a marketplace, and then to go to a huge lake with over 300 islands in it. Awesome.

These were real.

In the middle of the road...

We finally all made it to the lake

The lake was amazing....PROOF:

Some of the islands were inhabited by people who built their own houses on them. Awesome.

And they fish for food

After our lake expedition we went to Papa John's...I had no idea they had those in Nicaragua. It was pretty on point. We stayed at Luis's house, and we slept in an internet cafe that he has in the front of his house.

June 30
We were planning to go into town today, but Rory wasn't feeling well. He had already gone to the hospital in Honduras so he was already in pretty bad shape. Kurt and Wes accompanied him to the hospital while Tyson, Matt, and I hung out at Luis's house. This day went by so insanely slow, we had literally nothing to do all day. I took some random pictures at Luis's house.

Outhouse in the backyard!

After waited around all day, Kurt and Wes came back to Luis's house in the late afternoon without Rory. It turns out he got bitten by a mosquito and got the Dengue Virus. Google it. It was so bad that the doctors told him he shouldn't continue on to Costa Rica with us. The doctor told him to stay in Nicaragua for 5 days then fly back home. Matt had to call the airlines and arrange a flight back for him, and it was the most frustrating experience for him, it kept disconnecting at crucial parts in the call, and after about 2 hours, a long and expensive cell phone call, and a long time at a phone cafe, everything for his flights were in order. Everyone was kind of tense at this point because of such a crazy thing happening. Our roadie got bitten by a fucking mosquito and got a virus so bad that he had to fly home early because of it. Un fucking real.

After all this tension, we all felt we had to unwind...what better way to do that than go clubbing in Nicaragua..err probably a lot.

Check out Kurt in the background

July 1
This was probably the most miserable day of tour. 11 and a half hour bus ride from Nicaragua to Costa Rica, 3 and a half hours in line for customs...FUCK

This little kid at a bus stop made these out of palm tree leaves super quick in front of us. I gave him a dollar for the flower.

The 3 and a half hour customs line

We finally made it to be the bus station in Costa Rica to be greeted by Alejandro. After going to the grocery store to buy food, we went back to his house and all passed out.

July 2
All we did was go to the mall.

Burger King fried chicken?

At the mall this dude who owned a computer store was watching porn with no shame, this shit faced outward so everyone could see!

July 3
To promote for our show, Alejandro, our host and promoter had set up a TV interview for us...Crazy!!! This was so so weird none of could stop laughing at how ridiculous the whole situation was...a bunch of smelly punks from California being interviewed on Costa Rican TV!

I wish we had a copy of this on video or I could least see it somewhere on the internet, this shit was too funny.

July 4
We went to the mall again today with Carlos because Alejandro had to work. Carlos is so whitewashed it's hilarious, great dude.

DISGUSTING ass Wendy's in Costa Rica

We have pigeons, Costa Rica has Parrots


Stripper cow

July 5
It was finally the day of our first show after sitting around in Costa Rica watching Beerfest too many times.

The was kind of a bummer, it started at 2 pm and there were like 8 bands and they all lagged and we were the ones who ended up getting our set cut short. Also, fuck douchey security that stands on stage when we play. Other than that, the kids were great and the show was pretty cool.

We made it back home to be greeted by this creepy thing that was in our room

July 6
Our second show in Costa Rica. This was in Palmares, about an hour and a half away from San Jose where we were staying and where our first show was.

The Costa Ricans had rented us a bus full of people who would go to the show with us

The show was once again bitter sweet. We had a pretty good reaction and sold a lot of merch, but there was a fight when we played which once again cut our set short. We had to hurry because there was a ska show after ours. We made our way back to Alejandro's and went to sleep.

July 7
Our last day in Costa Rica, we just relaxed, went to the bank to change money, and went to the grocery store to buy a little more food. I spent like 40 bucks the whole time we were in Costa Rica because I just loved off of pasta with soy meat and avocados in it. So good!

Soy meat aisle in Costa Rica

July 8
Alejandro drove us to the airport as we said our last goodbyes. We waited a couple hours for our flight to North Carolina. It took about 4 hours, and once we landed it was the start of a miserable night trying to get comfortable sleeping on the airport floor. Once we got on the plane we all passed out...landing in LA was a good feeling...finally being home after this crazy experience felt nice. Central America, see you next year.