I'd hit the sack at around 9-ish the evening before, planning to sleep till the 3:30 AM alarm I'd set for myself, but instead I caught just enough sleep to be able to stay awake through my final duties tending to Armando and came to around 2:30. Upon realizing that I was just a couple of hours away from my final meeting with Armando, I instantly decided the matter of even attempting to get that final hour of sleep in before 3:30 was a pointless one, cancelled my alarm and just laid awake in bed for that last hour. Quiet as a mouse, careful not to awake anyone in the house, I got ready to take that one last ride. By about 4:30 AM I was on the highway to NYC, gearing up for my final hour with Armando.
With no traffic to speak of the whole way through, I made it back to Brooklyn just in time for Armando's 5:30 AM pickup. After saying adios to his friend who had put him up the last ten days, we packed the luggage into the trunk, Armando hopped in the passenger's seat, and we were off to Newark Airport in record time. It was our last hour together, and Armando made sure to make the most of it: no sooner were we smoothly on our way out of Brooklyn than he grabbed a tape out of his backpack and asked me, "Want to hear some more unreleased stuff?" My answer was definitely affirmative! Popping the tape into the car stereo, we were soon listening to a short compilation of new live tracks taped off recent appearances by Los Dug Dug's on Mexican TV, with a couple of rehearsal extracts interspersed. The new songs all had the classic Dug Dug's power trio sound a lot of us know and love, and with their passionate lyrics (which Armando summarized for me as we listened) and Armando's passionate vocals, they remind me a bit of some of El Tri's better material, though they remain distinctively Dug Dug's. By the end of the tape I was encouraging Armando to get himself into a studio to record these songs as soon as he possibly could!
Listening to the new tracks sure did make the ride go fast, perhaps too fast in fact, as we made it back to Newark Airport from Brooklyn in just over half an hour's time, though it didn't seem that long. Armando told me it was a smooth trip taking his girlfriend back to Kennedy Airport the night before, and as they parted he made sure to throw her his car keys, so that she could fetch his car the next day and drive it to the airport in Mexico City to pick him up once he arrived. He also managed to voice one little complaint about her visit: "Man, all she wanted to do was go shopping! We walked around all day until my feet were killing me!" At Newark, there was another small spell of confusion over where the proper place to drop Armando off was, and there was a lot of traffic going to the upper level of Terminal C, forcing me to drive him to the lower level instead to let him off. There was still the matter of the piece of luggage Continental was still holding onto for him, and we both kept our fingers crossed. Hopefully he was able to get it back without too much of a hassle (though I won't know for sure until I call him back in Mexico later).
We shared a big, big hug and a few backslaps as we parted ways. Armando was off to catch his flight (and hopefully get his piece of luggage back) and I was off to slowly but surely start getting my life back to normal after these past ten crazy but wonderful days. As I drove off, away from Terminal C, out into the misty New Jersey dawn, I realized that this was it, the end of my final meeting with Armando. I won't lie, it brought tears to my eyes. Armando Nava had come to New York, taken me completely by surprise, and put me in another world for awhile, and in the process I gained a very wonderful and unique new friend.
I may have felt like crying at that moment, but through my small tears I realized: Armando Nava was now a trusted friend of mine, we had each other's phone numbers, and we had both promised to keep in touch. The pain of saying goodbye soon lifted and gave way to the realization that this wasn't a goodbye, but rather a "till we meet again." I dried my tears, thanked the stars above for the good fortune that I'd been blessed with, and headed back home, already starting to think about what other wonderful things the gentle hand of fate might bring my way in the future.
(Dear Brazenblog Readers: I hope you've enjoyed The Armando Nava Diaries, and had as much fun reading it as I did reliving it. As a special bonus, here's an in-depth interview I did with Sr. Nava four months prior to his 1998 visit to my home, in which he tells the wondrous history of Los Dug Dug's. It is the only English language interview with Armando currently available online, not to mention another highly treasured moment in my crazy musical life. Enjoy, and thanks as always for reading! Much love, BRAZEN.)