Thursday, July 4, 2024

2023-2024 - Tucson - to Portugal - to Dallas - to the Amazon Jungle - and finally to Albuquerque. Hard to believe all that in only one year.

 I used to love Tucson. It is such a beautiful (but hot as hell's hell) nature in paradise. When I first went there it was for a Thanksgiving to Christmas visit in the desert. All of my journeys have started with someone on the other end of the ticket. I moved there in 2008 after coming back from running away to Campinas, Sao Paulo Brazil. I had given up on Dallas and got another invite down to Sao Paulo with a Spanish speaking family who admitted they loved art and they loved the art especially from Bajito Onda. Because of the history and the story behind it and all the lives around the world and the clothing line was just coming out from Changes of NY and Changes kept sending me dozens of press proofs of each of the 6 designs for my approval. I can't lie - I felt very important, lol having all that love poured into my little Bajito Onda and all the art that I had amassed up to that time and it was still coming in from all over the US Prisons, mainly from TDCJ Texas Prison System.

I was so happy because finally at last prisoners from behind the walls and fences and bars locked away for decades due to their crimes, which I made a point to never discuss with them because the prison mail room and observation always reads everything and scopes out the outgoing art for whatever reason. Sometimes that art never makes it out at all. Hmmmmm, wonder why?

So long story short because I have this PTSD / ADHD / ADD and just plain get distracted by everything so after going to Tucson way back when, and learning about 'street music, street dancing, bar music jams, hippies and weed smoking parties called 'potlucks' and fire dances, and just outdoor, fire pit, hang outs with very strange people, I kept trying to fit in but coming from East Dallas, I was never going to fit in with that scene in Tucson the high and hot desert.

Somehow I just kept going to their jams, and clubs they would all play at with sometimes only 3 people in the whole place. They didn't care tho they just loved playing together. 

One day a guy handed me a big drum and he put a strap over my head and hung it on me and told me to sit down and join in the drum circle. Wow! I was embarrassed to death and he couldn't understand why. i said well where i come from you don't just walk up to a group of people and sit down with them and play a drum. 

None of that would happen. I had been going to a therapist, first time in my life ever to do that either, and as someone in Tucson told me several times... Tucson is a Sacred Land, if you allow it to enter your soul you will be changed forever for the best. I thought - well that's weird, but sounds like exactly what I needed. 

Next thing you know I was following a group of them to yoga classes at the Y - had my butt up in the air and doing the Dog pose or something they told me to do and all kinds of stretches and poses and breathing and such. Man, I thought if anybody in Dallas caught wind of me doing Yoga they would laugh me out of town for sure. 

Next thing happened to me was I followed some other hippie sacred quartz and rock collecting happy weed smoking souls to a thing they all went to every week but they never invited me, it was called Global Chant. One week I told a lady called Chrystal Rose (RIP) she was so sweet she used to come see me every week right before she would take off and go to her chanting group which I had no idea what that meant. Everything in Tucson was so strange to me from East Dallas, street life hood goings on. I just kept remembering what they all told me to 'believe sacred things would come to me and change me forever'.

So one day I told Chrystal Rose, not to leave me behind when she went to Global Chant. I said, can you take me with you this time. She said, are you sure you want to go, its a little different than the way I know you are. She was a drummer also, and wherever she went she took her drum she called a djembe, like a fancy African leather topped wooden drum.

The funny thing was the first time I ever saw some of the little drums in an artist woman's house, she was a hippie deluxe, she had like five of these drums sitting around in her living room in a little sacred circle. Everything about Tucson I think was sacred the way everyone treated all their actions and motives. She even had a little altar and big tattoos of Goddess deities of women all around her body. I thought it was excessive, but I was driving a fully wrapped prison art Firebird that in itself looked like a one car parade.

So what did I do when I saw her little drums, I went over and sat on one of them! My God I thought she was going to pass out.  She screamed for me to get up GET UP!! and I was like 'Why?' what's wrong? She said, You can't sit on that! Get Up. 

I jumped up and told her 'I thought they were like little Turkish stools to sit on'. She thought I was making light but i was serious. Damn!

Well she didn't much like me anymore after that so I figured I'd try to make friends another way, and that's when Crystal Rose came around into my life. She was much calmer and realized I didn't know anything about this new world I had moved to. So she helped me.

When she took me to Global Chant, she sat me down in a bench and she went over to the 'drumming area with other djembe drummers'.  She looked like she was leaving earth when she was playing her drum. She looked like an Angel she was feeling it so deeply in her own world.

Of course I was looking at all the people coming in and even sitting around me, they knew I didn't belong there but they were kind and sweet and they smiled at me and welcomed me. I also knew I didn't belong there and I thought, 'Man these people look so funny they have nothing in common with me at all. But they were so sweet and welcoming I couldn't bring myself to judge anyone. One step of the sacredness seemed to be working on me.

I also had been going to therapy at La Frontera social services who also were taking care of me so to speak. I was really a fish out of water and I was used to judging people and being judged by whatever means is handy. I spent like a whole year in therapy every week with an amazing girl getting her PhD named Autumn Wiley. She gave up on me nearly every week, and so did I. I just didn't get therapy, I'd never had so many good things happen to me in my whole life. It was all so new and foreign to me. After a year or so Autumn told me it was out last session, I almost died. I thought, Oh My God, what am I doing to do every Thursday at 11? I'll be so sad, so lost. I was crushed beyond crushed. I never wanted therapy to end and I had gotten so used to going and anticipating each little change for my awakening of my inner feelings and life damage being cleansed, I just never wanted that to end.

Autumn felt the same way she said, 'She threw herself down on the floor I swear to God and she rolled all over the floor, she was crying! She said 'You finally did it' and we have no more sessions left because I graduate next week!  She knew we were coming to an end but she never let me know. She just kept letting me talk myself into a hole each week as she sat there and watched me. She actually said very little. I said a lot as usual, but I never new how to really process pain and feelings in my life. I was always the one who listened to others with tragic lives and they always said I was made of steel. And I said 'No, I'm not' I just don't know how to 'feel anything'. It was true.

So when I saw Autumn rolling around on the floor crying, it really touched me deeply. She said, 'You finally get it' 'You can do it' - She had told me to open my mind to things I used to judge and shut off from me - She said those are the things you need to go do, experience, learn from them, and they will make you whole where you are numb.

She was so right. I became a faithful chanter week after week, chants were not religious, they were just clips of singsongs from other cultures, languages and peoples all over the world. At first they sounded unintelligible, I had no idea what they meant and then I thought, I don't need to know what they mean, I just need to chant along with the other hundred people or so. Om namo guru dev namo, is one that sticks with me to this day and its been ten years I started going. So many more its unbelievable, a whole hour of chanting became another feel good feeling that did waken my numbness and made me feel something beautiful. 

Tucson became a beautiful place in the sun for me. Never a rainy day, always sun. But after seven or so years in the high desert I then called home, things began to change. The hippies became displaced with college students, high rise apartments downtown where we used to drum and chant. We used to walk around downtown on 4th Ave and sit around and visit because we knew so many people. It was a small town in the desert but big enough to have the basic big city things.

Slowly, but fastly the homeless started arriving, stores were broken into and soon closing, crime went up and nothing was done about it. Violence like I tried to leave behind in Dallas started happening all over the place. My sacred-ness feeling was washing away. No more potluck parties, no more drumming, or chanting, or therapy. I was crushed.

Life had been good there, but I became afraid of the dark what if's and said to all around me. I'm leaving. I'm gone. It was wonderful, but I'm gone.

I literally had gotten up to a 4,500 s.f. double warehouse in an industrial park. Had been there for over ten years. Had $150,000 worth of incredible machines, personal items, beautiful treasures and supplies and teaching materials and so many memories, but I had a meltdown and could not take it another second. Threats were coming closer and closer for us to move and let the place and all in it go to whoever the threats were coming from. Drugs were everywhere, fentanyl, meth, tranq, crime and horrible border things going on. I said, 'Its time to strip clean and start again somewhere else', not even knowing where that would be.

I ran back to the only place I'd ever really known, Dallas. What a mistake. I said, after six months, I'm feeling the same pangs of insecurity I felt when I left for Tucson, that fear and haunting emptiness was back in my face again. I could feel it in the people all around me. They felt it but they didn't leave Dallas. 

I felt it and I said, hell no. After 7 months of trying to beat the rat race and the stress of it all once again, I said 'its time to get the hell out of Dallas.

Where did I head for? Brazil again, but this time not to Sao Paulo but to Manaus, the capital of the Amazon Rain Forest. In the middle of the jungle, sounds crazy and I think I was driven crazy by all the stress of my Tucson melting out from under me, and trying to find a place I could call home. Manaus is 2,400 miles from any other city on the planet. It is known as the most isolated city on earth. The barrio that offered me a small bed to lay down and try to shake off all the bad energy the I was feeling was 'the City of God' of the Amazon, like the one in Rio. The same lawlessness, wildness, never a quiet or still moment. Motorbikes, trucks, busses, kids screaming, drunks screaming, mosquitos eating me alive as they do everyone, the fear of getting unlucky and getting dengue fever called by its street name, 'Bone Break Fever' because your bones feel like they are breaking inside of your skin. If you survive it lasts for two weeks of diarrhea and vomiting, high fever and horrible pain rendering immobility. Since there is hardly a bathroom, hardly a shower, hardly a kitchen and hardly a puff from an air conditioner, its a miserable existence for one person to have it let alone multiples in the household, behind the bars protecting the insiders from the invasive outsiders of all kinds trying to invade or worse on an hour by hour attempts. Thank God for the heavier than jail bars and gates to protect us healthy or sick. Oh the heat, and the mosquito repellant covering everything in sight, head to toe, clothes and bedding, arms, legs, feet and even socks trying to keep the bites down which is impossible. 

I thought mosquitos were big ole things.. they aren't. they are tiny little things, and to make them worse, they're transparent. They travel in packs attacking any area of skin they can latch onto.  They call me 'sangue doce' - sweet blood in Portuguese. Now I speak it fluently. Hard to believe three languages now.

They put me up on a bed in the corner of a room with my computer next to me. I slept for two weeks. They fed me what I needed. Just the barrio basics, no vending machines, no 7-11 no Wendy's, or MacDonald's, none of that. I woulda killed for a damn frito I swear but they don't exist in the jungle. It can take six hours just to go to a store there. Insane what we have in USA and all people do is whine about what they don't have. They ought to see what people don't have for once and they would never whine again. I hate that shit. 

Lay there in your sweat, eaten by mosquitos, starving for just anything vaguely familiar, cold showers, centipedes racing up out of the shower drain open hole, bats flying in the open window holes because there are no glass windows, just shutters. And the noises on the roof all night, baby jaguars, snakes and spiders are no joke either. Finally I just gave up trying to be careful and just slept as much as I could. I was exhausted and finally felt like my life had stopped spinning being back in Brazil.

After several months, we decided to try to leave the jungle and come back to the USA. 

Only two solid friends said 'come on, we'll help you get rolling again.' 

Those friends are solid, stand ups and they know that if I and we can just regain our center of life once again after all the times trying, we will do amazing things for Albuquerque, NM.

I have to say I've never even been here exept one time to just drive through and have dinner with one of my friends, known as The Candy Lady of Old Town, she is part of the Breaking Bad Series and makes the blue meth candy for the shows if its needed.

For the past several years I've been making the Shirts, aprons, caps, stickers and signage for Breaking Bad for her to sell in her Store, The Candy Lady.

She's a one of a kind but she has a heart of gold and so does our other friend Roy.

They have really stepped up to the plate and helped us get our footing.

What an incredible town ABQ is and I thought it wasn't going to be so wonderful 

But here we are going to dedicate to working with local causes to help the young people and others alike to build websites and to give back to the Navaho reservation to help 14,000 homes to have electricity, an unbelievable for today's day and age.

So Join me, us friends and please visit our website


Many Blessings Friends,

Del Hendrixson aka Bajito Onda Global.

Albuquerque feels like home!

Really enjoyed 4th of July tonight and all the fireworks!