Saturday, June 28, 2008

Between El Paso and San Antonio Mexico

click here for photos of silver city new mexico

click here for photos of el paso mexico

july 27, el paso texas, 5 pm

if i had still been feeling like death warmed over when we stopped at the love's gas and grocery store, on our way from new mexico to texas, their artificial tequila flavoured genuine worm candies would definitely have cheered me up. i mean, what else would a person do, after sucking on an artifical tequila flavoured hard candy with a genuine worm, but decide - yee-haw, i'm gonna eat me a worm!! and a 'genuine' worm at that.

another thing i wonder about new mexico, is how they deal with 'illegal aliens.' is it even possible to persecute migrating mexicans in a place named 'new mexico?'

we're in texas now, the structures and corporate billboards commencing pretty much as soon as we crossed the border. apparently we're going to me meeting up with the california bus here, so we'll be a real caravan starting tomorrow. nita and max are busy navigating the 27 million lane freeway, jim and i are noting that texas has decidedly more letters on their hills than any other state. americans like their letters on the hill, it seems, we've seen all manner of them pretty much everywhere we've been. some of them make sense, like the 'I' on the hill in idaho. others, like the 'W' in new mexico, are more of a mystery. maybe that one was drawn after a few too many of the artifical tequila flavoured genuine worms.

i'm trying to remember the el paso song my step-dad occasionally sings - now less frequently than when i was younger - i heard it often enough to remember a small part of it ....

"out in an old western town called el paso
i fell in love with a mexican girl.
nighttime would find me in rosa's cantina,
music would play and lolita would whirl."

then there's a bunch of stuff about another guy who likes lolita, and they get in a fight, a gun is drawn and perhaps shot, and the guy tries to escape ...

"out of the back door of rosa's i ran,
out where the horses were tied (and my favourite part) ied ied ied ied ....
i jumped on a good one, he looked like a good one,
up on his back and away i did ride."

that's all i can remember of it.

i'm so glad i'm not sick anymore. my computer is getting really hot (yesterday some kind of fan kicked in and scared me!) so i'm going to pack it up for now.

july 28th, leaving el paso texas, 6 am

again, the unitarians fed and housed us. we gathered quite a crowd last night, 30 or so, with lots of good questions about cuba and our journey. they housed us at their resident 'crane house' where some of us tried to sleep (girls on the floor of some rooms, boys on the floor of others) while others were busy printing t-shirts and chatting. i made the mistake of claiming the space under the window of the room facing the street and was compelled, after about an hour, to let them know i could hear their voices on the front porch even through my ear plugs. i'm such a bitch.

we were up just after 4 this morning, sixteen of us manoeuvering around a reasonably sized kitchen - toasting bagels, scrambling eggs, making coffee and tea. margaret and i are still drinking the expectorate herbal mixture we bought from the bear creek herbal shop in silver city - margaret says she feels a lot better than yesterday and i spent a good ten minutes outside this morning, walking up and down the street in the darkness, emptying a pile of crap through my nose into my washable hankie. dogs in the neighbourhood started barking and howling, claiming their space, and john the driver, asleep in the bus on a side street, said he wondered why there was a fog horn blasting in the middle of town. very funny, our john is.

we're a real caravan now, two muraled buses rolling along the highway. we took a wrong turn out of town but quickly recovered with a u-turn right outside 'fort bliss.' fort bliss is where 'team bliss' is housed. hazel commented that the sentry would likely be wondering if the revolution was upon him, these two brightly painted che buses approaching his gates!

yesterday, chatting with the other caravanistas, i learned that they were singing beatles' songs on their bus. they apparently were working on a medly, since none of them could remember any of them in their entirety. i shared my el paso portion, and melanie said she knows the words to 'oklahoma.' i like that song, though the theme of the musical is rather sexist, because it celebrates the earth. we decided to write a song about cuba, using the tune of oklahoma - here's what we've got so far:

cuuuuuuuu ba libra
how we love our bless-ed cuba land
where the people rule
'cause there's free school
and the doctors heal because they can!

i'm waiting for melanie to construct the next verse.

to any of my regular email recipients who might be reading -- i've been trying to forward mail to the various special interest groups - native concerns, poverty issues, anti-war stuff - but it's painfully slow from many places here in the excited states. at home the bulk mail leaves my computer rather quickly but here, for some reason, it literally takes hours. maybe it's part of the great shut-down-the-internets conspiracy, who knows.

a memory from silver city new mexico

the other night, in silver city, i met an interesting woman who used to work for the foreign service. she was so happy to be able to sign our petition to free the cuban five (men who found and reported on anti-cuban terrorist activities from miami, and have been in jails scattered throughout the united states and unable to see their families these past ten years), now that she's not 'serving at the pleasure of the president' any longer. she gave that up, it was just too much, now she works with mentally challenged people and criminals. not much different than working with the bush administration, really.

she told us a funny story about an investigation she was doing in cuba. she was there with a delgation to investigate the way cuba was behaving regarding a treaty they'd signed in relation to 'rafters,' people who take off in boats for miami. (as i understand it, departure from cuba is not restricted in any way, except by poverty .... perhaps that was different in the earlier days of the revolution, i dunno). so this guy complains to sandy, our friend the foreign service agent, that the cuban government had not, in fact, honoured the agreement and he was very upset. this surprised sandy because she had found the cuban government had followed the agreement to the letter of the law, impeccably. sandy asked why the man was disgruntled. he said the cuban government refused to let him have his job back. part of the agreement was that any rafters returned to cuba had to be reinstated in their jobs without reprimand. sandy learned that this man's job was as a fisher, and he'd taken a government boat. sandy explained to him that he was lucky he wasn't in jail! if an american merchant seaman were to steal a merchant ship, she explained, the american government would have his head! but this man expected that the cubans would forgive him and trust him with another boat. sandy laughed. i told her that if anything happens to us at the border, i'll be calling her!!

we had an interesting conversation over dinner. sandy was at the table, also two other middle-aged women. i asked them what's the news on democracy now these days, i'm so out of touch. they asked if i'd heard about the democratic nomination, i said i had and asked if he'd chosen a running mate yet. we talked a bit about that and i suggested dennis kucinich would be a good choice. one woman seemed rather taken aback by this suggestion, then sandy piped up with a story about the time she met dennis. they were overseas somewhere, some foreign service assignment (i forget the details, she may not have said them, there's some information she can't talk about ... though she's thinking about writing a book about the stuff she can say) and dennis was the only guy who had done his research and knew all about the nation they were working with - who was who, what their main concerns were, etc. the other two women seemed surprised, it didn't surprise me because i know about dennis kucinich. ultimately, we all agreed that america may be ready for a woman president, even a black president, but america is not ready for a vegetarian vice president! (laughs all around)