Road trip to Mexico -- circa 1977

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Kuro5hin has a story from terryfunk who spent an interesting summer in 1977 driving down to Mexico. He happens to be a great storyteller:
When You're Lost In the Rain, In Juarez and It's Eastertime Too
Being a college student meant being poor. I did sleazy, crazy things, and when I could manage it, I had fun. Scalping student football tickets, working part time, and scrounging, however, wasn't fun.

Then I began smuggling birds from Palenque, Chiapas MX. That was fun.

Yeah, I was stupid--I admit, but it sounded too exciting. The prospect beat shoveling horse stalls at the brood mare ranch where my girlfriend and I lived. My buddy from south Texas had called me one night and proposed a trip to the southern end of Mexico. He explained that we could get rare falcons, Toucans, and green parrots and bring them to the U.S. and make some money. It seemed like a plan; he and I had had adventures before.

So I bought 'The People's Guide to Mexico', read it in one night, and considered myself an expert. I was taking second year Spanish and that's how I justified the trip to everyone. My girlfriend and I spent the next two weeks getting ready for the trip, which was to last no more than a month. We'd come back to the states with a considerable investment, on our way to riches. Yeah right....

On a Thursday night in the middle of June, we packed up the Volkswagen, little realizing how far Eagle Pass, Texas really was. We left the next morning before dawn. It took us all day with no air conditioning and with a head wind thrashing us around to reach Eagle Pass. There we met up with our friend.

Having survived the trip of almost 1000 miles, we encountered our next challenge--Mexican customs. In those days Piedras Negras was no more than a village. But the customs officials were quite savvy. With all the camping gear we had stashed, our first order was to get through customs with something left intact. Who knew that camping gear was contraband in Mexico? Our bolsas were lightened by about $30 each, and we were finally permitted to proceed to the interior.

The first day in this unbelievable country was full of surprises. My second year Castillian Spanish was less than useless. Furthermore, the existence of various dialects of Mexican Spanish had never even occurred to me. By the time I realized that everyone was NOT speaking some kind of Spanish pig Latin, the dialect would change again and then again. I gave up trying to speak perfectly and ended up sounding like some gibbering, retarded Mexican midget with a frontal lobotomy.
And it gets better and better and better... The falcons he brought back wound up in a breeding program to re-introduce them to areas of the SouthWest where they were once native. Also, check out the very lame comments to this story from people who fail to grok the differences between a Mexican adventure now and one from 30 years ago...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on January 6, 2006 11:02 PM.

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