Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Del Olor de Elotes, O, En Que La Vida Me Transforma.

The post will be in English for all you English-speaking imaginary readers.

In the spring of my senior year of high school, I went on a mission trip to Chihuahua, Mexico. Before I continue, allow me to say that this was no kind of proselytizing mission; my companions and I went merely to help fellow members of the same denomination. The matter of my distaste for evangelicals is best saved for another (or several other) post(s). Chihuahua City (Ciudad de Chihuahua), where we stayed and from whence we traveled daily to the mountain mining town of Aquiles Serdan (Santa Eulalia), was a bustling Place of Interest.

The stores within a mere three blocks of our downtown hotel ranged from street vendors of every kind to flea markets hawking fake Pumas to Pizza Huts and Subways; each socio-economic class (i.e., the very rich and the very poor) had its own set of shopping places. For the Rich, a wide, tree-lined walking mall edged with store after store of expensive, Americanized goods; it was a task to find a shirt with Spanish instead of English writing. The Poor made but small forays into this area: small herds of tiny Indian girls and a legless man begged, a woman sold small bags of pumpkin seeds, and an ancient guitarist strummed tunelessly for coinage. The Rich cared little. As I watched, a well-dressed woman snatched a handful of seeds from the destitute street vendor. She could easily have paid the few pesos asked, but she unabashedly took from the other woman's livelihood. I've rarely been more disgusted.

My favorite place within the Ciudad was, and is, the dirty, scum-covered area inhabited by swarming masses of buyers and sellers and lookers-on. Colors, smells, and sounds filled the air, and the sidewalks and streets are crowded with people moving in every direction.

Those in automobiles for once have to bow to the whim of those on foot.
If you don't want to be near people who are of a different class than you, you should to stay out.
Want something high class, flashy? Good luck.
If you're hungry for something other than Elotes, you can go somewhere else.

There is no avoiding your fellow man here. I find that some people hate that.

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