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Friday, April 21, 2006

South of the Border

As I write this, I lie on a park bench in a little courtyard in front of a small cathedral. The doors are open in this small cathedral where a few people are inside praying. Outside, I sit in the shade to hide my skin from the sun. Streamers line the sky and this sleepy neighborhood carries on with dogs barking, roosters crowing, and parrots whistling. Yes, folks, I made it down to Mexico...Old Mexico. I'm in some obscure region in the vast city of Guadalajara. A city of 7 to 8 million people but a city that has a small town feel to it.

I arrived over 2 weeks ago. And even my journey across the border was tinged with grace if not an altogether gift. The morning I was to hop on the Greyhound that would take me this long way southwards...I awoke to the phone ringing and my friend Adolph telling me that I would be going to Mexico in a very different way. A friend of his, Diana, who was originally from Mexico, was undergoing a family crisis, so she and her brother were driving down all the way to Central Mexico to be with their family. They heard about me and out of sheer kindness offered me a ride down. This was very interesting for me for Diana is a christian and an art therapist. She uses her own artistic abilities and understanding to help others grow. We had many intriguing conversations on the ride down. I even drew cartoons for her...something which I used to do alot when a boy but ever since I ¨grew up¨ I stopped. And she deciphered intrinsic values, themes, and even problems that I was going through just from my random doodling. Very Interesting. We crossed the border at Laredo, Texas. On the Mexican side, there were many crosses attached to the fence that stretched all over the Rio Grande. These were the folks that probably didn´t swim so well and drowned. Across the Mexican highway we rode on while the desert mountains seemed to come tumbling towards us. The night settled on the entire scene and the last dim features of cacti waned in the calming blanket of dusk.

They dropped me off at a bus station in Matehaula and I was take the bus the rest of the leg of my journey to Guadalajara. I got maybe an hour or two of sleep that night on the bus and then we made it to Mexico´s richest city, Guadalajara where the blazing morning sun dashed in through the buses windows waking the sleeping passengers with obstrusive light and raging heat. I got the bus station in the city and saw the what I thought was the neighborhood of my residence, Zapopan, but was actually a whole town in itself. So I took another city bus for an hour thinking what a challenge it was going to be knock on my old friends door without me stooping to call them and pick me up. Not me. Not Brian Harrison the world traveler. -But how stupid I was. It wasn't long before I gave up and gave in calling the Reyes, to come and pick me up. I was at some plaza of some Basilica, put I was in Zapopan, so I thought surely they've heard of it. Wrong again. I took a taxi to a place that they knew. And it wasn't long before I met up with Erik Reyes.

Like I've written before, Guadalajara is a city of 7 to 8 million. -That's about the size of New York City. And for the next couple weeks this is to be my home.


Blogger Jovan said...

You probably know more Spanish than me by now.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

I also know the difference between real Mexican cuisine and your ¨cheepz¨. But I guess you probably know now as well.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Rizzle said...

You got lost. I'm not surprised. It happened to us quite often in Greece...but I'm sure the transportation and the directions are much better down there than they were in the Mediteranian.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

...Maybe...but there is this mentality with the males down here. The people call it "machismo". It's where the guys will pretend to know anything in order not to appear ignorant. So when asking directions most of the men and even women will never break down and admit that they don't know but will make up a direction even if they don't have a clue. It's very frustrating but humorous at the same time.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Meg said...

From a traveler to a traveler, please pray that I travel safely here in a few weeks, for I will be traveling to Japan for a month. I will be going to hang out with my beloved roomate and her family. I hope you are good, it sounds like you are.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

Meg, how neat. Of course, I'll pray for you. Where are you going to in Japan?

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Meg said...

well, a little of everywhere. we have friends all over. so osaka, my friends home in the country, ancient towns, tokyo and the beach. why are you in Mexico?? wear your sunblock, your a pale man! heh

12:32 AM  
Blogger Brian Harrison said...

pale man, ha! not anymore...I'm half Mexican now. Why am I in Mexico? Why not go to Mexico? I hope you have fun and safe travels.

9:24 AM  

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