Thursday, 19 March 2009

19 March 2009

An ambulance came balling through. American ambulances dart and weave through traffic with siren blowing; the great worldwide fellaheen Indian ambulances merely come through at eighty miles an hour in the city streets and everybody has to get out of the way, and it does not pause for an instant or any circumstance and flies straight through there. We saw it reeling out of sight.The drivers were Indians. People, even old ladies ran for buses that never stopped. Young Mexico City businessmen made bets and ran by squads for buses and barely jumped them. The busdrivers were barefoot and sat low and squat in T-shirts at the low enormous wheel. Ikons burned over them. The lights in the buses were brown and greenish and dark faces were lined on wooden benches. Downtown Mexico City thousands of hipsters in floppy strawhats and longlapeled jackets over barechests padded along the main drag, some of them selling crucifixes and weed in the alleys, some of them knealing in the beat chapels next to Mexican burlesque shows in sheds. Some alleys were rubble, with open sewers, little doors that led to closet-size bars stuck in dobe walls. You had to jump over a ditch to get your drink. You came out of the bar with your back to the wall and edged back to the street. They served coffee mixed with rum and nutmeg. Mambo blared from everywhere. Hundreds of whores lined themselves along the fronts of dark and narrow streets and their sorrowful eyes gleamed at us in the night. We wandered in a frenzy and a dream. We ate beautiful steaks for 48 cents in strange tiled Mexican cafeterias with marimba musicians and wandering guitars. Nothing stopped; the streets were alive all night. Beggars slept wrapped in advertising posters. Whole families sat on the sidewalk playing little flutes and chuckling in the night. Their bare feet stuck out. On corners old women cut up the boiled heads of cows and served it on newspaper. This was the great and final city that we knew we would find at the end of the road. Neal walked through with his arms hanging zombie-like at his sides, his mouth open, his eyes gleaming, and conducted a ragged and holy tour that lasted till dawn in a field with a boy in a strawhat who laughed and chatted with us and wanted to play catch, for nothing ever ended. We

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