Wednesday, June 08, 2005

It's getting hot in here...

It's been quite hot lately. There's been a lot of hot stuff going on:

No, it is not a reverse angle detail of me on the toilet after a night of tequila and street tacos but the volcano in Colima is looking like it might erupt in a big way. They have evacuated the surrounding area. Sometimes you forget that there are several active volcanoes in central Mexico and one is quite close to Mexico City. Nothing like rivers of bubbling lava and searing pyroclastic flows to remind you. It's common to see Popocat├ępetl smoking away in the distance on a clear day. I guess that's one reason the soil around here is so rich. The land giveth the land taketh away to quote old time speak of some kind. Ah Geez, I just hope no one gets hurt!

Speaking of hot I also went to the US border over the weekend to resolve a, visa issue. It's a long haul to Monterrey (13 hrs on bus), but an interesting ride through some of the country's northern desert-like lands. Here's some a those desert like lands out the bus window.

I like the desert. It's so huge and hot and scary. It's hot in the Monterrey area this time of year. I think it was around 40 degrees or so.

Monterrey is a fairly modern and industrial city near the American border. I think it's the third largest city in Mexico and it felt pretty big city to me. It didn't seem like much of a tourist destination but there are some nice mountains immediately surrounding the city and it didn't seem as bad as the cultural, industrial wasteland that many southerners make it out to be, but I wouldn't totally know either. That's a massive Mexican flag flapping on top of that small mountain in the background. They seem to have many of these all over the country and often on top of hills and mountains.

A friend in Monterrey drove us to the border-town of Laredo Texas which we also visited. Laredo is sort of a poorer Bellingham in the desert. Lots of outlet stores, lots of big-assed t-shirts, big assed stores and, well, big assed people too. There are a lot of big assed things in Texas and I believe many Texans take pride in the "big assed" stereo-type. Texas doughnuts, Texas mickeys, Texas chainsaw massacres... It seems as if somethings bigger than it should be to extreme proportions- then it's Texan. There is a Mexican side and an American side to Laredo so it's a weird and interesting place. It felt a little sleazy to me actually; car dealerships and stereo wholesalers everywhere. Everyone on both sides speaks mainly Spanish, but in the US, everything's in English. I realized that I hadn't heard English for awhile and in the Starbucks lineup to boot. It sounded strange and foreign to hear so many people speaking it along with that Starbucks Jazz sampler kind of muzak that I know so well from Vancouver. I guess that's how it is when you cross borders though.

Then we went to this strip of strip malls and did a little cross-border shopping. By the time we went back to Mexico I was pretty exhausted and the experience of the full bore weekend (bus rides, fluorescent night shopping at Wal Mart etc. on the hot strip) was so tiring that I was actually relieved to get back into Mexico! I was like, "oh, thank god. Back in safe Mexico; taco stands, stray dogs, window-side money changers and squeegee washers- thank god! And of course the difference is that extreme the second you cross over.

... and here it is. This is on the Mexican side looking to the US. Many of the people walking back to Mexico appeared to be getting off work. I guess a lot of people are american "guest workers" or whatever that new-fangled green card legislation calls them.

Also I learnt that there are mosquitos in Mexico City. I've been getting bitten by them nightly. I don't know how they survive here as I don't know of many cities that have mosquitos, but they are here and they are crafty too. They hide like cockroaches when you turn on the lights and then come back when you're in bed. Gotta put in some screens up or something. Well- till next time. Keep bakin in the sunshine if you have it-