Blowfly's Tour Diary: Fighting Keylor Navas in Costa Rica and Saving Blowfly's Home
The following is an account of the strangest routed tour in my 10 years with Blowfly through San Jose, Costa Rica to Baltimore, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Long Branch, New Jersey, Seattle, and in Canada, Victoria and Vancouver. While those three segments make sense on their own, you'd pretty much need to be on mushrooms to put them together on purpose. Or be in charge of the Weird World of Blowfly
July 31: My wife and I meet Blowfly at his Burger King of choice on NW 36 Street and 27 Ave. He's in a good mood, eating his pancakes. Tomorrow, we're playing his first ever show in Latin America. As he has lived at the gateway to Latin America for 55 years, this was a hole we're all thrilled to be filling.
Unfortunately, Clarence's mood and mine took a severe turn when the clerk checking us in at curb at American Airlines has taken it upon himself to flag Clarence, an international traveler for many decades, for having an unusable passport. Citing an $10,000 fine he fears Costa Rica will hit the airline with if he lets a dirty rapper pass with a dirty passport for them to do dirty and deport.
We are then passed along to his supervisor. She is a West Indian woman of a certain age who takes one look at Clarence and one look at his slightly beat up passport and condemns us with all the disdain she could muster.
After I demanded to see the guidelines (not from a government agency, but from the airline) that she was referring to, I pointed out that the criteria she flagged, torn pages, did not occur in Clarence's passport. She continues to rage like Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, until we reach the point where any further protest is going to attract the cops. We need a new Passport? Fine, curbside baggage Nazi, we'll get your freaking passport. And we will get on the next plane after we get it. Because like "Convoy" says "Nobody Fucks With Blowfly."
I hail a cab and we embark on our mission. I call Billy the Kid, our guitarist, and tell him to go on the flight without us. Our Haitian cabbie tries to tell us the closest photo place to downtown is the Walgreens across the street from Churchill's. Nice try, buddy. We live here.
After a quick photo, we head to the passport office in the old Omni mall and begin the "begging for passport medley." We get past the security because one of them has heard of Betty Wright. We get past the intake lady because she has some empathy for our story. We then waited four hours to be seen.
Clarence is infamous for having no patience whatsoever. If the angels really do pass out virtues, like they claim in Catholic school, they gave him all the musical talent in the world and totally missed on patience. Within minutes, Clarence is trying to lie down, which would get us kicked out. Miraculously, he behaves himself for the first three hours. He then starts fussing, and right before he might get us kicked out for using his cell phone, we get called.
As luck would have it, we have drawn another tart tongued West Indian lady, but this one has a heart, and after a few minutes concedes a passport to him. This begets another two hour wait. At the 90 minute mark Clarence starts getting loud, and I bear hug him to chill him. If I didn't they'd make sure he never is allowed out of the country again. Finally, the miracle of his shiny new passport arrives.
We rush downstairs. It's 5:30 p.m. My wife drives up at six. The next flight to Costa Rica leaves at 7:40. Traffic on 836 between downtown and the airport is gridlocked. So I drive through every shortcut Allapattah has, and we get to the airport at 6:45. Amazingly, the counter person at American is 100% empathetic to our fate, is horrified at her colleague's behavior, does not charge us $200 each to change our flight and got us on, with the help of a wheelchair and a porter. We boarded the plane five minutes before it took off.