Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pacing in La Paz: Mexico 1990

I'd taken the bus down from Tijuana, from Baja Norte into Baja Sur and stopped in La Paz--the capitol of Baja. The ride had been interesting, going along the sea and then crossing through a strange bouldered desert, then the Gulf of California, then back into a flat desert full of cacti and vultures and odd towns, then into La Paz.
after a bit of walking, I found a nice moderate place on a side street. It wasn't far from the main town, not far from the beach. I was hungry and tired. I was uncertain of myself. I was alone in Mexico.
What should I do?
I knew I should go out and explore. Get some food, see what was what, meet some other humans. But I didn't want to. I don't know if I was strung out or scared or just--as I said--uncertain, but all I really wanted to do was stay in my room and pace.
Just walk around in circles and get ahold of myself.
Oh, I chided myself. Here I was in my first solo destination in Mexico and all I wanted to do was hole up and be strange. I felt bad, I argued with my desire. Yet, ultimately, I gave in. I decided that, if it's what I wanted to do, then I'd do it, Mexico or not.
So, I did that. I paced my little room, thought my thoughts, decompressed and aclimated the way my brain and emotion was telling me to aclimate.
And . . . it worked.
It wasn't too long before my confidence and sense of adventure returned. I did go out. I went to a meal along the beach where two or three waiters kept bringing me all these little bowls of condiments or side dishes and I didn't know what I was supposed to do with them (EAT THEM!) and then, after, I wandered the town looking at the houses and the seaside and stopping in a bar where the TV was on and some locals were discussing the politics of the TV. "Tu eres un politico?" I asked, not sure what the hell I was really saying and the guy looked ta me, smiled, and said no. I don't know what he thought, if he thought I knew what they'd been saying (which I didn't) or if I was just some idiot interrupting their day. But at least I'd stuck my neck out and said something.
So, maybe the pacing about wasn't so bad. Maybe I had to walk out the confines of my cell before tasting the freedom outside.

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