Friday, January 11, 2008

coffee machines, holy bibles & tips

"I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."

Robert Louis Stevenson

I could tell you all the facts and dates and none of the flavour, but I'd rather do it my way. I traveled to Mexico for travel's sake. It could have been anywhere else but, this time, it was Mexico because I was also visiting a friend.

Mexico is a contradiction in terms just like many other countries. Considering its GDP Mexico is the 14th World Economy, although until 2005 it had been the 9th one, however, welfare distribution is so unequal in the country that there are towns with Human Development Indexes similar to those in Germany and some others with HDI close to Burundi's; furthermore, Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, lives in Mexico and at the same time, in Mexico there is the poorest town in Latin America.

So that's where I went. I did not know it at the time, of course. I made up my mind about this trip just a few days before New Year's Eve and it was thought and done. On January the 11th I was at Barajas airport with my tiny backpack and my passport. This was the first time I was crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The first time I was going to America. For those who haven't flown to the USA, I'll tell you: You need have an address, if not, they won't let you in the country. My little hippie way of traveling doesn't fit with the USA immigration law in force, so this was the cause of my first discussion with a ground hostess at Madrid's airport. I don't have an address, I don't know where I'll stay while in the USA, I'll figure it out when I get there *if I ever do get there*.... Well these are the type of statements which are not necessary, just say "Holiday Inn"; it'll be a much quicker check-in . That's what I did when I finally gave in.

I flew to Phoenix, Arizona's capital city. Phoenix is one typical USA city: there are no people on the streets, only cars. So this is why. This is where all that fuss about Iraq came from. This is why, you invaded a country. To provide really cheap petrol for all these fat North Americans, so they'll never have to walk anywhere else.

Sara, my friend, was waiting for me at the airport and so did Arita, a Mexican friend of hers who's been living in Phoenix for seven years, and Aglae, Arita's sister who works with Sara in Mexico. It was a fine welcome.

We went, by car, to get something to eat but it was difficult because it was already ten in the evening. When we finally did find a place to eat I discovered why since I got into the country I had been finding boxes close to the cash desks. To put the waiters' tips into them, tips which are compulsory in the USA. (Traveling is learning, isn't it?) Obviously, I had failed to comply with the non-written law on tips in the USA.

Crossing so many time zones wears one out, so after eating we finally found ourselves a cheap motel and went to sleep. Motels in the USA have two peculiarities: they all have a Holy Bible beside your bed (just for you to read in case of being a little bit lost I guess...) and they all have coffee machines, so you can help yourself any time.

1 comment:

PUNTIYO said...