Correspondence Between Soulier Blessé and
the Eyeshot Superintendent
Regarding Tela Dealers From the Bronx
and Other Stuff
On Halloween 2000, Soulier wrote:
"Hi. I just read and enjoyed your travelogue, Love in the Time of Coca-Cola. I clicked on a link to it from the Lonely Planet web page.
I was wondering about the drug dealer you found in Tela, Honduras.
I was there in April 1996, and as a friend and I were walking through town, a guy with an earring stopped us and asked if we were looking for drugs. He had coke and grass. We said sure, but we didn't want to do the deal on the street, so he said he'd take us to his house. If I remember correctly, he
said that his name was Dino, and that he had lived in the Bronx, but, consistent with your dealer, he was kind of fuzzy about the details. His English was pretty good though.
We went to his house - two rooms on the bottom floor of a cinderblock house in a dusty neighborhood - he had a Spanish-English dictionary and a bunch of books about metaphysics and spirituality on his coffee table. He also had a cat. After we'd smoked a joint, he showed us a photograph of a car on a sort of generic city street, and he said that it was his friend's car in the Bronx. He also showed us a diploma from a technical school, but if I remember correctly, the school was in Miami, and the name on it wasn't Dino.
The one other thing I can remember about this guy is that he constantly yelled out to all the girls - gringa and hondurena - about how cute their asses were and how he wanted to fuck them. He said he liked little girls the best. Needless to say, this was far more disturbing than his drug dealing.
Do you think we bought pot from the same guy? I'd imagine that there are a lot of dealers in Tela, considering the large number of backpackers who go through there. We paid about $4 for half an ounce too.
I haven't really thought about this incident for several years, but your story refreshed my memory. Maybe this guy just says that he's from whatever city the person he's dealing to is from. I'm from New Jersey, so maybe he says he's from the Bronx to me, but would say he lived in LA to someone from
To which the Super promptly replied:
"I thank you for two things:
(1) you refreshed my memory absolutely: DINO! $4 for a half. Pretty good when soulfully smoked in toilet paper. Yes. He wore a silly denim jacket with some sort of patch on the back, want to say of elvis . . . combat boots and shorts?
(2) I had no idea that there's a link to LITTOCC on Lonely Planet. That's insane. I sent them the link and a query but never heard back from them.
Do you have a worthwhile travel journal (substantial/semifuckedup thing that rarely mentions what you ate and how much it cost)? If so i'd like to post it.
Also, Van Neeko Clariot's just the pseudonym under which i wrote postcards to friends when i was traveling . . .
Anyway, thanks: we definitely bought dope off the same guy. I'd love to hear more . . .
To which Soulier replied:
Man, that's weird. I'm always finding these strange connections to people. And I do remember coughing after taking my first drag on the joint (yes, it was rolled in toilet paper), and running outside to breathe fresh air, only
to realize the air was a whole lot fresher inside Dino's dank apartment.
The Lonely Planet link is under the "Ticket to Ride" at the bottom of the page. It's under the ekno sign in box and below "Shoot Your Mouth Off." But I don't think that it'll be there for much longer - those links stay up for only a day, and then they're changed to something else.
I'd love to write a travelogue for your web site. I'd rather not write about Honduras, because I was there in high school on a church youth group trip, and mixing orphanages and herb just doesn't seem wholesome.
I am (or was, rather) in the process of writing a story about a trip I took in March to Laos. Highlights included a ride in an old Soviet helicopter that seemed straight out of Apocalypse Now and getting stopped at an Army checkpoint and finding out that virtually everyone on the pickup truck with me was an opium mule.
And the other bizarre thing that happened to me was this: In September 1999, I bought an overpriced copy of "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish," by Douglas Adams at a convenience store on Santorini in Greece so I'd have something to read on the ferry rides. I gave the book away a few weeks later in Luxor, Egypt.
Flash-forward to March, when I was sharing a room in Phongsali, Laos, with this rather strange guy from California. On his bed was the book "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish." I said, "Hey, I read that book this summer. I remember that I wrote on the title page where I bought it and where I gave it away." Sure enough, I looked inside and there were the words "Santorini-Luxor" on the title page. No one else wrote where they gave the book away, but there were stamps from bookshops in Dahab (a popular place to snorkel in the Sinai) and Bangkok. The book had travelled several thousand miles over the course of five months, and ended up in the same guesthouse where I was staying in a remote northern Laotian town. Needless to say, I could hardly speak for about half an hour.
The friend I was travelling with actually had a beer with the California guy over the summer in Syracuse, New York.
On a completely unrelated note, it seems as though the fine people at Eyeshot are into the New York literary and art scene. Have you ever heard of Jimbo Blachly? He's this bizarre Buddhist conceptual artist whose crowning achievement was getting his picture in New York Magazine, wearing a monkey suit and eating bananas, in a display window installation piece at the New Museum. He also happens to be my second cousin.
Days later the Super replied:
I'm just about to put your story and pics up on Eyeshot.
What's the title?
Also, do you mind if at the end, instead of a bio, i write something like "James (Last Name Withheld) bought a 1/2 oz for $4 in Tela Honduras in 1996 from the same guy who sold the Eyeshot Superintendent a similar bag back in 1995" and then have that linked to a page with your initial message and possibly a reply . . .
Once i hear from you i'll get it up (so to speak).
To which Soulier promptly replied:
For the title, I was thinking: "Where the Fish is Fresher: Four Days in Northern Laos"
I'd rather use a pseudonym if you post the bit about the herb. I was thinking "Soulier Blessé" - it means "wounded shoe." It comes from a Rimbaud poem where he plays the elastic of his tatty shoes like a lyre. But it's funny how to an English speaker, it looks a lot like "blessed soul," even though the French word for soul is âme and blessed/sacred is sacre. The effect of the mistranslation is akin to the scene at the beginning of Julius Caesar when the cobbler says that he's a "mender of soles."
Feel free to put the e-mail correspondence up, but please don't have my last name there. You can link to my e-mail address -- I'm not worried about people finding out my last name if they email me -- it's just that I don't want my father to do a search for it and come up with a page where his son
has bought half an ounce of grass. Remember I'm a college student -- I still rely on the 'rents for money.
I'm looking forward to seeing the story on your page. Also, you can post this e-mail too if you want. It's funny even to me how paranoid I am.