I feel like a bit of an under-achiever owing to the fact that I have been in Mexico for over a month, travelled to about 10 cities/towns, driven through countless more, spent well over 60 hours in buses (and counting), and have only posted twice. I guess I have a little ways to go before I become a well known blogger and cultural critic and begin attending blogger conventions. My apologies--I´ll work on posting more regularly. And I have been told to write shorter entires, using visual aids, bullet points, and lists. I guess I forgot the blogs are supposed to be written at the 5th grade reading level, so I´ll work on that as well. ;)
In an attempt to make up for lost time (and also because I am lazy), I offer you carefully/randomly selected highlights (and a few lowlights as well) of my first month in Mexico.
1. Punched in the Face. Mexico City (AKA Districto Federal (or simply DF) or simply México), August 1st. While sitting in the Zócolo--the large central plaza of DF--reading a book, out of the corner of my eye I saw a figure taking a swing at me. I manged to duck and for a split second felt a twinge of pride at my feline reflexes when I got hit in the side of the head with the backswing! Who punches like a pendulum anyways? Apparently this man, who smelled strongly of DF´s streets, punches like a pendulum. But before I jumped to my feet to respond, I realized this man was a bit unbalanced (need I remind you all of my irrational fear of crazy people. And yes, I know crazy is a social construction so spare me, I call it irrational don´t I?), and to hurl a stream of curses at him or physically confront him would have not only proved ineffective but also inappropriate. I got up and situated myself 20 yards away (praying he didn´t follow me) and watched as his next equally surprised victim got slapped in the face.
2. Straight boy friend crushes. Zacatecas City (capital of Zacatecas state). I arrived late in the evening and only had the day to explore this small city that thrives with proud Mexican culture and nightlife before catching a 10 pm overnight bus back to DF. As I awoke at 7:30 am to ensure a full day of exploring, my hostel roommates were just returning for their night, happily intoxicated and giggling like school boys. Both from Spain, they were travelling in Mexico for a couple months after finishing studying abroad in Puebla. I had a good feeling about them--buena onda--so when they asked me to return around 6 pm to wake them, I happily agreed. We wandered the city together in the evening, had a few beers, and had such a good time that I let them convince me to skip my 10 pm bus and stay out all night with them and make the 5:30 am instead. Look for photos when I finally get around the putting them on flickr.
3. Loss. That very morning I left Zacatecas, I took out my journal so the Spanish boys could give me their emails, but I left it on the kitchen counter of the hostel. I was so sad when I realized what I had done once I was en route to DF that I nearly cried.
4. Acting Up with ACT UP Paris. A few of you have asked me what I thought of the International AIDS Conference (first week of August, Mexico City). I meant to write a whole log about it, but now I´m relegating it to "highlight" status. I arrive at the conference hoping to set up opportunities in Argentina and Brazil While I was able to make a few contacts, I spent most of my time organizing and attending protests with other activists from around the world. Because the wonderful and awesome folks at Health GAP put me up in their hotel, I was well connected to the "activist agenda" (and had the privilege of sharing a bed with the lovely Mary Carol Jennings). Sometimes we would have 5 or 6 protests on the schedule in one day. By far my favorite was an ACT UP Paris (who are all rock stars) demonstration in which we formed a search party to find the missing French government representatives--ooooiiiioooo Sarkoooziii? Another favorite was planning and carrying out a take-over of the US Government booth in a matter of hours. Lots of great sex worker activism as well! Until I get my pics of the conference up on flickr, you can check out Cameron´s page: http://flickr.com/photos/clefevre/collections/72157606561490535/
5. We bought a pig. Well we bought a dead pig. Well, we killed a pig and then bought it. OK OK, we killed the pig, then paid the owners some money, and then I think they ate it. On the way to Play Ventura, a small fishing village on the Pacific cost of Guerrero, Mexico (a few hours south of Acapulco), a dog chased a pig out into the road right in front of the Jeep that we rented. It was sad, and I almost cried (poor Charles--he was driving), but the good thing is I think it was as quick as could be.
OK that does it for now. I have a bus to catch. for those of you who are interested, here is my schedule for the next few months: today I head south for a nice trip to San José del Pacífico, where I will spend my birthday. After the big day, I will make one or two stops before arriving in San Cristobal, Chiapas. I plan on spending about two weeks in Chiapas before, hoping, with perseverance and some luck, making it to CENSORED for two weeks. From CENSORED I will fly directly to Buenos Aires, where I´ll be for at least a few months. I once again want to extend an invitation to anyone who wants to visit. Just let me know and, as long as I have room in my bed or on my floor, you have a place to crash. I´m also a great tour guide and crazy-sexy-cool travel buddy.
I hope everyone is doing beautifully wherever you may be, and I do love it when I get updates from folks.
Much love and many besos