Tuesday, 24 February 2009

21 February 2009

we’d done. And now we were ready for the last 150 miles to the magic border. We leaped into the car and off. I was so exhausted by now I slept all the way to Laredo and didn’t wake up till they were parking the car in front of a lunchroom at two o’clock in the morning. “Ah” sighed Neal “the end of Texas, the end of America, we don’t know no more.” It was tremendously hot: we were all sweating buckets. There was no night dew, not a breath of air, nothing, except billions of moths smashing at bulbs everywhere and the low rank smell of a hot river in the night nearby---the Rio Grande, that begins in cool Rocky Mountain dales and ends up fashioning world-valleys to mingle its heats with the Mississippi muds in the great Gulf. Laredo was a sinister town that morning. All kinds of cabdrivers and border rats wandered around looking for opportunities. There weren’t many, it was too late. It was the bottom and dregs of America where all the heavy villains sink, where disoriented people have to go to be near a specific elsewhere they can slip in unnoticed. Contraband brooded in the heavy syrup air. Cops were redfaced and sullen and sweaty, no swagger. Waitresses were dirty and disgusted. Just beyond you could feel the enormous presence of the whole continent of Mexico and almost smell the billion tortillas frying and smoking in the night. We had no idea what Mexico would really be like. We were at sea level again and when we tried to eat a snack we could hardly swallow it. We left our food on plates: I wrapped it up in napkins for the trip anyway. We felt awful and sad. But everything changed when we crossed the mysterious bridge over the river and our wheels rolled on official Mexican soil tho it wasn’t anything but a carway for border inspection. Just across the street Mexico began. We looked with wonder. To our amazement it looked exactly like Mexico. It was three in the morning and fellows in strawhats and white pants were lounging by the dozen against battered pocky storefronts. “Look…at…those…cats!” whispered Neal. “Oo” he breathed softly, “wait, wait.” The Mexican officials came out grinning and asked please if we would take out our baggage. We did. We couldn’t take our eyes from across the street. We were longing to rush right up there and get lost in those

No comments: