My trip to Mexico City started much the way I want all my future trips to start: at a Greyhound Bus Station.
To say this was an odd place, would be like saying it isn't fun being fingered and then writing about it so everyone you know constantly brings it up...
...it would be an understatement.
The Downtown San Diego Greyhound Bus Station has linoleum floors that are oddly overly glowing by the bathrooms. The entrance was guarded by a Latino man and a Latina woman, who could not agree if I could bring my suitcase on the bus or not. They also checked my ticket, but not my ID...so this felt like a very secure procedure in which to cross the border. While I waited for my bus to take me to Tijuana so I could then fly to Mexico City, I was accompanied by a young African American man on a poster recommending that if I were a runaway, and wanted to return home, that I could call the runaway hotline. I didn't know such a hotline existed. Education!
In the end, though, the glowing bathroom, fighting ticket checkers, and runaway poster were no match, NO MATCH, for a man I will call The Texan.
The Texan made up in repetition what he lacked in stature. He was on his way to Guadalajara. He wore a gigantic cowboy hat, and had had his suitcase lost a few times by Greyhound, a point he was sure to let everyone in earshot know again and again and again. He also had a "broke" back..which he would tell people as they walked by him or within ten feet of him. It was almost his way of greeting: Yeah. Hi. My back is broke...and Greyhound WILL NOT lose my bags again. I don't know if he couldn't remember that he had told me about his bags and his back four times, but four times he did, and each time I pretended like it was the first time The Texan had told me. It was a relationship. My first bus station relationship. Perhaps, my last. I'll explain.
The bus ride to TJ was interesting because I got to watch TWO...that's right TWO people pick their noses and eat it within the span of five minutes. What I really liked was the difference in technique. Man number one was an index finger guy. He also was very, very thorough. He would work his nostrils around and around in a clockwise motion...and not until he was done would he go for the goods. The woman who sat painstakingly close to my left, she had what I considered a much more unusual technique. She used her ring finger to go at it. I do believe what she lost in dexterity, she did gain in depth. She was really able to get at angles index finger guy just couldn't reach. Why do I know this? Why would I watch? People don't mind talking to you while picking their noses. I found this out during this trip. More education!
This nastiness combined with the smell of diaper and mold and warm cheese made me kind of like The Texan's mantra I could still hear ever-so-faintly from the back of the bus: My back is broke...and Greyhound WILL NOT lose my bags again. It gave me something to focus on.
At the border, I was once again reintroduced to the fact that there will always be jobs for people...they just need to find their niche.
At the border, we were forced to get off the bus, remove our bags from the under carriage (it was finally concluded that I should put my suitcase here by the ticket takers at the bus station), and walk them five feet, FIVE FEET to the right. I'm not kidding. Five fucking feet. At this point, two men took our bags and then put them back under the bus. I didn't get it at first. I thought this was a very strange anti-terrorism measure.
We then got back on the bus...and the two men followed us, asking for tips.
No, I didn't tip them.
Why was I on my way to Mexico City via a Greyhound Bus you may be wondering? Well, I was going to teach a class on Second Language Acquisition, a job I got through USD. They paid for everything...the hotel, the trip...and it just happened to be cheaper to fly via TJ to Mexico City than SD. In retrospect, I'm glad I took the bus to TJ because it REALLY makes me appreciate the fact that I have a car and that I haven't picked my nose and eaten it since sixth grade.
While in downtown Mexico City, I saw some crazy shit. I got to see these crazy guys climb to the top of a forty foot or so pole, and swing down upside down by rope while spinning around and around. They then asked for money. Everyone in Mexico asks for money. This was the one time I felt bad though...I really should have given these guys money for swinging to what could have been their deaths. Karma paid ME back, though.
I happened to be in town the same weekend that these tribes from other parts of the country come to town....or maybe they are there constantly??? I couldn't really understand...either way, the men and women from these tribes line the streets and sing and dance all day. Naked. I bet you didn't know that Indians from these tribes aren't very hairy. I do. Now. I didn't take this pic, by the way...my mind is burned with much worse images. Although not hairy...many of them are extremely well fed.
Lastly, I got to see this woman dressed head to toe in a black and white skeleton outfit. She moved in ultra slow motion while begging for cash. She was very Dia De Los Muertos-y...and very friendly. This three-hundred pound woman enjoyed holding my hands and making kissing sounds and faces at me while begging for money.
I didn't give her money either.
Man...writing this blog makes me feel cheap.
All and all, it was a wonderful trip. I learned many things about culture and language...and backs and noses.
You gotta love education.