High Society: All Inclusive, But no Valise

There are no words as sweet to the ear of the traveler, regardless of means, as “all inclusive.”

Last week, I ventured to Mexico to celebrate the ongoing bachelor status of some of the better sort of friends I made at Stanford (and not a few I knew from San Francisco society beforehand).

The catalyst of the affair was that one of our number was dropping out of that state of single grace. Ergo, we meant to show him the beachside pursuit of good cheer — while we could still claim to be on the right side of middle age.

I had the family concierge book an all-inclusive resort near Puerto Vallarta. I needed a controlled environment, lest the party devolve into a welter of half-hearted groping after the prepackaged “local culture” — or, even worse, drowned in endless draughts of watery Mexican beer. I am not the insular type — indeed, many an explanation at the border has refined my Spanish — but I did not want to distract us from what I saw as the all-encompassing purpose of our junket: to get high, and to stay high.

We need not puzzle over who was entrusted with supplying our crew with that sublime weed, the fire of my loins, the muse of my soul: marijuana.

Within these pages, even, one has been able to find advice about air travel, even international travel, while carrying. But when you travel with Duncan Hightower — or so I thought — you may throw caution to the winds with a laugh.

I have The Valise.

The process to design, craft, test, and refine The Valise consumed some major part of my attention for 18 months. The finer details are barely worth mentioning: not the oxblood leather, the hand-tooled brouging, nor the bleached pigskin interiors.

It was the hermetically sealed chambers — not only their individual reliability but their great number — which added time and expense.

As the project manager I hired — a German inventor and aficionado of Swiss Kush, with the rather bracing name of Heraclitus Longundfat — told me: “Ze standard instructions suggest ve carry ze veed on ze plane in ze personal item. But — no. With Ze Valise, ze veed is safe.”

To ensure The Valise was sound, we bribed a degenerate and dissolute TSA airport official to bring in his best sniffer dogs and give each iteration of the fully loaded Valise full scans. By Version Three, The Valise was a veritable olfactory Fort Knox.

Thus, it was with complete confidence that I departed on a Thursday morning for my direct flight, handing over The Valise to an aviation footman for check-in. I knew I would not be able to access its contents until we were safe in the all-inclusive resort, so I supplemented my morning hand-rolled kief-and-indica joint by taking a brownie in a foil pouch. Despite the warnings on the package, I ate this whole standing on the kerb by some cretin who was smoking a cigarette, then ducked back inside the terminal.
I awoke in Puerto Vallarta in what seemed the blink of an eye, and, as expected, my digestion went back to work on the brownie; I was triumphantly, almost stupidly high as I went through Immigration — whereupon, at the scrum of baggage claim, disaster struck.

After watching the conveyor belt in circumnavigation for hours, it was clear: The Valise was gone.

I searched. I pleaded. I argued. I spoke Spanish. The man who awaited me holding a piece of paper that said, “WELCOME TO MEXICO, DANCIN HUGGTOVER,” helped not a whit, and after a time seemed to become impatient with my efforts.

I was determined never to leave the airport, to call in attorneys, to speak with the Embassy. In the end, the chauffeur seduced me with air conditioning. My Burberry-and-Armani ensemble was a swamp, the sweat band of my beloved straw boater far over its capacity. Before I knew it, I was creeping at 40 miles an hour over a Mexican “highway”, staring out at the thick foliage, thinking: I have nothing. Nothing.

At this point, I must admit that my despair was largely personal. But then I remembered the seven fellows waiting for the epic stash I had promised, and it wasn’t even embarrassment that sent me into a deeper Hell of discouragement. Rather, it was knowing that in the absence of the sacrament of the cannabinoids, even this fine group would leave the all-inclusive, find a beachside bar, degenerate quickly into beer, and perhaps at the evening wore on — horror of horrors — begin to dance.

I know what you’re thinking: What are chauffeurs for if not for providing weed? But I knew exactly what he would provide. I learned to disdain “Mexican” before I sprouted nether hair. In high school, how we laughed at anyone who sported a sandwich baggie of commercial.

But as the ride wore on, the base logic of something being better than nothing wore away at me. So I asked the driver. He asked me to repeat myself — I had choked on my pride. When I finally made myself clear, he replied promptly that he didn’t have any, but his brother did.

My misadventures with Salvador and his missing brother could fill another column. Suffice to say that I checked in at the resort seven hours late, empty handed, without extra clothing, without a shred of self respect, and without a jot of marijuana besides the brownie dregs my stomach was fitfully churning away.

A message informed me that the blackguards I call friends had left the resort to go “into town.” After much miserable wandering, long past sunset, I found them in an upstairs cantina, empty bottles of beer with names that ended with vowels lined up on the table like poorly constructed formations of soldiers. Some sizable amount of desiccated limes showed that they had slurped tequila. Three were dancing to a live band of apparent criminals who were playing that Santana song; one, an otherwise dignified gentleman whose mother’s maiden name rhymes with “cursed,” was bare chested.

Dear reader, it does me no good to lie to you. The truth is that I burst into tears.

Photo by Moosealope/Flickr