January 10th, 2001

Chalkboard

Thinking about Mexico over hot chocolate in San Diego.

Hi Buddies,

Where'd everybody go? I thought my Mexico entry, with it's description of the malodorous sewer gasses and the big glowing Mary beer, would get at least a hit or two. I thought the servers were up and running. Maybe I've just gotten used to using the tilde.

So how's everyone doing?

We're in Old Town San Diego at a Holiday Inn. God, it's nice to be somewhere where I'm not afraid of the water. I'm sitting here thinking about how blessed I am, drinking my second cup of the best hot chocolate I've ever had, eating biscuits with butter and jam, using my laptop, watching my healthy son sleep.

The poverty in Mexico is brutal, a bracing assault on the senses. How can countless tourists drive by that on their way to beach destinations in Baja and not be torn up? How do you ignore something like that; people living on muddy hillsides with no more than salvaged boards and tin, cobbled together for homes? So many people, so much desperation, filthy desperate children, homeless animals, dogs laying dead by the side of the road, everything so totally run down, and everything and everyone pressing up against the border, hoping to get across. It's like being in another world entirely.

I haven't been to Mexico in years. I remember Juarex and Tecate, children begging, following you, pulling on your clothes. I never want to go again. I've been to Mexico City and in the interior where it's quaint and colonial. The last time I went to Tijuana must have been fourteen years ago. It was dirty and depressing. We bought some souvenirs, a purple ring, some glasses, a tiny nativity made out of clay that I still have, although baby Jesus has disappeared so I substitute a miniature snowman made out of beads.

I've never been to Rosarito though. I've heard about it. Stories about friends who drank too much or got bitten by spiders who laid eggs in their heads while they slept on the beach. A friend of a friend who got busted for reporting his car stolen after he stole it himself, drove it across the border and abandoned it somewhere. Another friend who used to do Mescaline and God knows what else, at his parents beach house, where he took a hanger and branded himself with a small letter A. He hadn't known then that the chemicals on the hanger would melt and run off onto his skin giving him a lifelong scar that looked less like an A for anarchy, and more like a smeared sombrero. My ex-husband who left with a car full of friends and didn't think that I would know he was getting drunk and fucking someone else.

It wasn't what I expected, but maybe that's because I'm older and less bent on partying than I used to be. I don't feel like getting so drunk that I have to spend the next day curled up on my side. I have love and sex right here at home. What I don't have though is that beautiful beach with it's fine white sand. I will spend my life in search of a home that is within the sound of the sea. At night or anytime really when I hear the surf crashing on the sand I feel like I'm home somehow, I'm home and I'm safe. I long to sleep with that sound.

Beau and I, we both speak fluent Spanish, so we can converse with people and blend in a little bit. I do love Mexico. I love the weirdly surreal nature of the place. The countless apparitions of Mary. The mysticism, the miracles, the beautiful people, their strength, their faith, their romantic, passionate idealism, their sense of community, their dedication to family.

I spend almost half of my income supporting a Mexican family. My son is half Mexican on his father's side. But the poverty, the hopeless poverty, isn't something I can just drive by with a marguerita in my hand, while I head for the beach.