Got a call to play another festival in San Roque. So i headed out as usual to the cab stand from where the ‘colectivos’ or shared cabs head from Tarapoto to San Roque. Normally i’d find one in ten minutes. Today there was more than the usual number of people heading the same way, so cabs were unavailable for the next two hours. I decided to take a cab to San Antonio instead which is halfway to the destination, maybe swim in the river Cumbaza a bit, and walk the remaining seven km.

I got to San Antonio, stripped off and jumped into the river. Got out, dried off and started my walk towards San Roque, hoping for a pickup truck or colectivos with space to maybe stop for me. Three colectivos raced past, and were already packed beyond the seven people capacity. Of course it’s a five seater car. But seven’s the norm. And sometimes there’s upto nine in a car. Like packing balls into tight jeans. 

After about 2 kilometers of hiking, i heard the blaring of a stereo behind me. The music got louder, till a familiar guitar solo caught my attention. A 1986 toyota corona fishtailed, skid, drifted and screeched to a halt a few meters ahead of me, with Estranged by GnR full blast out the equally old stereo speakers. Three heads popped out the windows. Bloodshot eyes wide open, sweaty faces.



They motioned for me to get in. And i did, without hesitation. 

‘San Roque?’, they asked. They’d heard about the party. About some indian dj playing there. ‘Fuck indian dj man. We play music from car, louder. Muchos louder.’

Yeah, I said.. fuck the indian dj, fucking immigrants i tell ya.

Dude driving was shaped like a potato, white bulging sleeveless vest on. Facial hair yet to break out. Next to him was a muscle-dude, constantly turning back to hand me a bottle of pre-mixed rum and cola. I kept resisting. Next to me at the back was a guy that looked like he just got out of prison for battery. Scars on his face and forearms. Eyes wandering all over the place like he was lost in a strange big city. The driver was speeding way more than anybody should’ve on slippery rainforest roads. One glitch, and you’re hurtling down a cliff 1500m high. Into oblivion. And just as i pictured in my head, the car skid, lost control, fishtailed again and went hurtling towards an edge, but came screeching to a halt a few feet within safety.

‘HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH PUUTA MAADRE (son of a whore)‘, they laughed. My balls were halfway up my intestines.

‘You have twenty soles? We want for gas.’

‘No have’, i said, still sweating off my brow. I could have waited two hours and paid six soles for a colectivo. Fucker was beyond stupid to think i’d give him twenty soles.

‘Aaaah. Mierda (shit).’

The engine was still running, when suddenly a bright spark came across the dude’s face in front of me, next to the driver.

He opened the dashboard, pulled out a bag of fine white powder, smashed the rocks in it with the back of his phone. And pulled out a spoon from the same dashboard. He dug into the bag, scooped up a spoonful, and sent it straight up his nostrils in one quick move. This is the same amount i’d pay between four to five grand back home for. One scoop. And half that scoop he dropped all over his pants and on the seat. And all over his ugly nose and chin. He didn’t care. The bag had maybe fifteen grams. He passed it on to the driver, who followed the same scoop-motion, and the dude at the back. And then the bag finally came to me. I held it for a few seconds. Took a pinch to my gums, and gave it back to the dude in front. I didn’t want to do it. I just needed to know how it tasted. Honest to God. And it tasted real good. Like, REAL good. Pablo-Escobar-good.  

He was offended i hadn’t stuffed my nostrils with it. ‘POR QUE NO (why not)?!?’

‘I no want.’

‘QUE PASA parcero (wtf is up dude)??’, he scowled. 

‘I no need, hermano. Can we go to San Roque now? I have work.’

Estranged moved to You Could be Mine. And the rest of Use Your Illusion 2, till half that bag was done, a few more halts later. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy that album in stereo sound off those old speakers. I was taken back to the days of my my old aiwa cassette player at home. And Sandy blasting the same beats in the bedroom off his kit. The whole skidding and screeching to a halt was well rehearsed and controlled, as i soon realized. I didn’t taste any more of it. That pinch had done enough to my face. Dude in the front kept air-drumming, and the guy next to me was air-guitaring the solos to every track on the album, though it was all a little fail, and out of sync. But i didn’t tell them.  

We finally reached San Roque, and i got off and said thanks and bye to them. I don’t think i’ve ever been that desperate to say bye to a bunch of coke fiends. They stopped to eat at one of the local joints, and i was off to the venue, hoping they wouldn’t come by. But they did, soon as they got their hands on more cola for their rum.

While i was soundchecking, they drove down to the open shed which was the venue, Estranged blasting again. Soon as they appeared, i looked over to my crew, the sober bunch. I could see it in their faces, these dudes weren’t welcome here. I walked out to them, told them straight up cut the loud shit and leave their drugs and alcohol in the car, or get the fuck outta here. They were too shocked to respond. Or they didn’t understand a word i said. Either way, the red toyota disappeared over the horizon within a few minutes, midway through Slash’s solo.

Fucking partypooper indian dj.

If you’ve liked my posts, show me love with hugs and/or donations over at; also pick up free tunes while you’re there.


About johnny b

dj, writer, yoga instructor, traveler, moonwalker, headbanger, mind expander. View all posts by johnny b

3 responses to “Estranged

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