Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hello Mexico

Our far south North American brethren can’t seem to get a break these days. Over the last couple of years they have gotten pummeled by hurricanes, when they finally rebuild and make attempts to once again welcome tourist, they are then faced with a drug war, when the media attention starts to become less informative about the violence ,they have new drama, the Swine Flu. With all the media attention Mexico is getting ,it got me thinking of my last visit.

Mexico has been a vacation destination for me several times. It’s inexpensive, beautiful and in most cases easy to get to. I say "most cases" because up until my last visit, my Mexico travel always seemed like a hop, skip, and jump. I have been for work, and for fun. Direct flights to Cozumel or Cancun usually make for an easy trip. My last trip to Mexico was for work. It was a cover shoot for Hello Magazine with Geri Halliwell. Being a product of the 80's 90's I was excited to get to work with the petite lady once known as Ginger Spice.

This time I was going to a different part of Mexico. Me being geographically challenged I just assumed it would be the usual 4 to 5 hour trip. I could already taste the virgin Pina Colada that always greets you at the door as you check into any Mexican resort. After taking a glance at my travel schedule I realized that the taste of coconut and pineapple would not be quenching my thirst any time soon. I first landed in Houston and had a 5 hour layover there that seemed like forever. Finally at some point late afternoon I touched ground in Puerto Vallarta . I was so happy to finally get off the plane and feel the warm humid air and the smell of salt water.

I collected my luggage and made my way to the airport exit. I did not know exactly where I was going, or what I was supposed to be doing. I just followed the herd that seemed to have the same urgency as I did. I noticed a bright pink card with my name on it waving through a crowd of on lookers. I make my way over to person holding my name and he starts instructing me in Spanish. I looked at him and tilt my head, like a puppy that heard a high pitched sound. I do not understand a word he said. I decided it would be easier to just follow him. He walks over to a little airport cafe and sitting there is the rest of the crew. In this crowd is my very good friend Billy B. He is doing the makeup and is the one who referred me to do the hair on this job.

We board a white van and I'm trilled to be arriving at this exclusive resort that I looked up on Goggle before my departure. Billy has made this trip before and suggest to the driver to stop at Wal-Mart to pick up snacks. I ask how long before we get to this tropical paradise and I'm told it’s a 3 hour drive. Ughhhhhh. It didn't help that we found ourselves in a traffic jam due to the fact that we where following a pickup truck filled with natives dressed in white tank tops and bright orange gym shorts. In front of this truck was a girl dressed in the same theme running with what looked like the Olympic torch. I'm thinking to myself "how the hell are they going to get that to China?" During our long ,long ,long drive Billy is warning us with stories from his last visit. 'The last time I was here I was bitten by a Brown Recluse spider and had to have my ass drained".

We arrive to the resort in total darkness and I'm already itching with the thought of a spider bite. I get into my room and pull down the sheets looking for any critters that might contribute in the possibility of me having to have my ass drained. I notice a fact sheet on one of the tables and there is a picture of some fierce looking animal on it that looks like something between a anteater and a raccoon, it is standing on its hind legs with the caption underneath it that says "Do Not Feed Me" I was OK with that request. I try to sleep with one eye open not knowing what might enter my room or my bed without permission.

I wake up bright and early and head over to Geri's suite that is right across a tiled hallway. We are all half asleep and with Billy's arrival we start the process of turning Geri into a bronze beach goddess. We fight the humidity trying to keep the hair curled and the makeup on her face. It’s not long before she is ready for her close up. Her post Bluebell body was looking amazing as she tried on one swimsuit after another. She finalizes her wardrobe and we begin 2 days of shooting.

Although there where a few bumps in getting to my final destination, the trip itself was amazing. I got to shoot with a the great photographer Richard McClaren, work with one of my best friends Billy B and play in the tresses of one of the nicest pop stars of our time Geri Halliwell. Here are a couple of the pictures from our Mexican excursion. Trust me it was as hot outside as she looks in these pictures.
Geri and her beautiful dauther Bluebell.

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