Sunday, July 31, 2011
I went back to work. I am sorry, let me rephrase myself. I WENT BACK TO PINCHE WORK. We began three days before traditional pre-planning begins, which meant we started in the end of July. Let me rephrase myself. HIJO DE LA GRAN PUTA, JULY. JULY. I know it is only a three day difference, but starting before August fucks with my head. It does. We had to go to a retreat. At a 4-H camp in eastern Georgia. Let me rephrase. A 4-H CAMP. EASTERN GEORGIA. This wasn't some fancy thing that made you at least grateful that you got to go to a nice hotel. We are talking bunk beds, cinder block buildings. I struggled.
Two days after returning from Nicaragua, I actually managed to get up on time and head to my car, Google map in hand. I am not so hot at directions outside of the city. I drove. And I drove. I missed a little "highway" and had to turn around and catch it. Finally, I was on the road where I was to make my last right hand turn. I drove. I kept driving. What the fuck?! I started saying out loud. What THE FUCK?! The map was wrong. I was late. It was snowballing. Not five minutes late, not ten minutes late. Pushing thirty. I tried to call the camp, and the last bar on my phone died as the lady told me directions that were completely contrary to my map. I followed them anyway and was stunned when I saw the place. I drove way too fast through the little roads and got to the meeting building and entered. I was forty-five minutes late. Everyone was seated and in full discourse. Way starting the year on a positive note, I thought.
After the initial discomfort, I settled in. I was shocked at how much fun it was to speak to my co-workers and even more, to get drunk with them in the evening. Really drunk. Rampaging, hiking river trails without flashlights, bonding drunk. Screaming drunk.
The retreat was fun. I just hope that the school year will be fun. I will be returning to my Spanish island and oh so much can go wrong. So very much. People that are fantastic at a party are not always fantastic at school. I am crossing my fingers. I want it to go well.
I wish myself well.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
"Hey, I think I'm at your place" I said with exasperation into my phone from the parking lot. Some gross man sat staring and smiling at me with his feet up on a bench beside the building. Idiot. "Where do I come inside? There is like a funeral going on in there." I continued. "Ah yes, there is a visitation," the woman responded calmly, "just walk straight through and to the back".
So I did. I drove back to my house with a little box of ashes instead of the big chirping cage I had driven east with.
Monday, July 25, 2011
The summer is flashing before my eyes, riding in a pick up truck with a multi-tiered gun rack to a bar in Opileka during a tornado, trees bending and skies graying and talk of hanging out in a walk in cooler. Border walls, the Gulf from the Texas side and the biggest tamale I have ever eaten. Feral. A customs form that asked if you had recently experienced nausea, vomiting or "decay", and another border that was wide open...friends, dear friends and lovely students saved in a time capsule that can never be reopened, eggs frying on the sidewalk in Phoenix, running down the splintery path to the Atlantic coast, bike rides, bike rides in southern Georgia to dark little bars with friendly people, a no brakes or gears bike ride through farms and jungles to a mineral water swimming hole on a little island comprised of two volcanoes in the middle of the biggest lake in Central America. Singing at Holly. A river that separated two countries. Revolutionaries. Sonoran hot dogs. Tarantulas. Soccer games. Descending a thousand feet in less that five minutes on a burned up active volcano, flying, running, arms outstretched, feeling like no one could ever reel me in again. Dropping off two pet birds at the vet and only returning with one. Bayous. Friendship bracelets that finally broke off. Crocodiles. Microbrews. Toña beer. A beautiful, wrap around screened in porch with wicker furniture. Staring down the smoking hole of an active volcano. Handing over a huge bag of toiletries to a priest. Plantains. Sunburns. Bug bites. Coconuts. Scabs. Cars. Bikes. Air planes. Boats. Kayaks. Hiking boots.
I had a dream on July 1st that it was July 27th, my day of return to work. I remember thinking in the dream, "this summer has gone really fast".
This summer has gone really fast.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Things became blurry after that. We shopped, ate, hung out and raged a bit. Tijuana seemed different, calmer. I did not see one ski mask wearing soldier or cop in the entire city, let alone military checkpoints or patrolling trucks of men with automatic weapons. It actually felt pretty casual going out drinking, walking around. One memory stands out of the additional three days we passed in Tijuana: Standing on the beach in Rosarito at sunset with Hector and my sister, eating coconuts. It was beautiful.
After five days in Tijuana, we finally headed out. It was difficult to leave. We headed east, through Tecate, the Rumorosa, Mexicali, through the small border towns and down to Puerto Peñasco, spending the night in the same hotel where Alec and I spent a weekend over a year ago. We left the next morning, the stifling Sonoran heat shocking us after the breezy, Tijuana temperatures. We headed southeast, toward some small Sonoran towns that interested us, intending to loop back up to Nogales to re-enter the United States. Until we ran into a customs checkpoint. In the middle of Sonora. Miles from the border. It was odd.
“Do you have the car’s registration?” the agent asked in Spanish, without ever asking for ID, anything to declare, where we were headed or even if we understood him. “No,” I answered, “our tag is current. We have ID and insurance cards….”. “Pull over to Secondary Inspection” he ordered. I have never been asked for the my car’s registration in Mexico, not by Mexican or American Secondary Inspection agents, or the Mexican military in checkpoints in Baja California and Sonora, or in customs on the Sonora / Baja California line. We sat and waited. Finally, he came. “You have to have the car’s registration. Whose car is this?”. “Her husband’s” I answered, referring to my sister. “Does she have her marriage license?” he asked. “Of course not” I answered. “Does she have his ID?”. “No” I answered. He randomly started opening our bags, without even advising us. “How much money do each of you have on you?” he asked. Great. “I have one dollar” I answered, opening my wallet for him to see. “You don’t travel with money!?” he responded. “I need to got to the bank”. I didn’t even mention that an ATM in Tijuana had eaten my bankcard and that money was a little problematic for me at the moment. “You have to go back to Sonoyta and cross back to the American side,” he said brusquely, “if you continue to Caborca, your car will be impounded”.
So, that ended our Mexico experience for summer. Ejected. Kicked out. Of Mexico. Mi querido México. A-hole. After such a nice visit. We back tracked to Sonoyta and ate our last meal and passed our sand covered car, stacked high with shit that we’ve acquired, through the border without even a wait and only a flash of our passports. No Secondary Inspection. It was a miracle.
On the bright side, I thought, I have always wanted to visit Organ Pipe. I love cactus, especially the huge, barrel-like Saguaro cactus that they have in Arizona. It seemed that we were the only car on the road, except for a few million south bound Border Patrol trucks. I pulled off the road to take a couple of pictures. Another migra wagon pulled by, skidded, and made an abrupt U-turn. I pulled out into street as I watched him race back up to us in my rear-view mirror. He was directly on my bumper, but wasn’t indicating in anyway that I was supposed to pull over. What the fuck? Seriously. I kept driving, mainly because I didn’t know what else to do. I started slowing for an upcoming Border Patrol checkpoint. The young agent was pretty conversational. I really didn’t feel like chatting, but did what you are supposed to do to avoid confrontation with men in authority with uniforms and guns. “Did you pull off of the road back there?” he finally asked. “Yeah,” I answered, “it’s a national monument. I wanted to take some pictures”. “An agent called it in” he answered. “No kidding,” I responded “he nearly ran me off the road”, “There’s a lot of smuggling in this area” he retorted. “Well, I hope they do a better job than I did” I responded. He let us go. I was irritated. How many confrontations can you have with The Man in one day?
And we raged toward Phoenix. It was only 118 degrees.