I was sitting in the shade looking at a dragonfly perched on the hood of my truck like a tiny hood ornament, thinking about how flies can stay in the vicinity even after a stiff breeze comes by. Do they fly against the wind to keep in place? Do they hide behind something until it passes? Are they blown away and just replaced by flies from upwind?
These are the profound thoughts I was having when I noted a small roar off in the distance. I’ve heard it before, and it was getting louder and closer. It was the roar of wind blowing through the brush and trees of my desert vicinity. As the roar became increasingly louder I could see the trees in the distance bending. The roar of the wind was fluctuating as it approached, like a wave approaching the beach. It was just about to break upon me.
As the wind hit I closed my eyes, but the sand and jetsam stung my bare skin like tiny needles. I was then thinking I should have ducked into the shelter, but soon enough it passed. A stool had blown over, and a wooden pallet, but most everything stayed in place, having been situated according to previous blasts across the land.
I looked over at my dragonfly hood-ornament, still in place. The flies would be back soon.
I thought about including this post in my Journey Through Latin America, but after spending some time in Texas I realized it really is not very Latino. They have alot of Latinos there , and some great Tex-Mex food, but it really is a place of its own. After a week with my parents in Victoria, Texas I scooted up to Reedville to stay over with my cousin Luke and his beautiful wife and darling daughter. I took full advantage of the huge crop of pecans they had all over their yard before heading out towards Austin. As I left Reedville I spotted this Longhorn grazing nearby.
Austin, Texas has grown phenomenally since I lived there in the 80’s and early 90’s. They seem to have raised a skyscraper for each of the 17 years since I left. It is a fabulous place, with posh restaurants and a funky neo-retro look to all the latest architecture. They have a great statue of my old buddy Stevie Ray on the shores of Ladybird Lake.
Despite the urgings of my friends to stay in Austin and re-make my life there, I felt the Sonoran Desert calling me. I had a long drive from Austin to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico where I stayed with my cousin Jeff. I enjoyed meeting his kids and viewing his leatherworking shop, but soon I was back on the road to Arizona. I stopped at my favorite rest area near Texas Canyon, AZ where the landscape is otherworldly.
By mid-afternoon I was in Tucson, and I breathed deep the air of the Sonoran Desert. Stepping out of my car into the yard of my friend Ann Marie, the smell of creosote bush and other subtle fragrances wafted welcomely through my nostrils. The next day I couldn’t wait to drive a little further west towards the Coyote Wilderness Area where I hope to purchase some land and begin building a Sustainable Desert Community. This is my latest dream, and I encourage you to follow this new blog to see how it progresses.
After a long day on the bus from Oaxaca, I finally arrived at the Hostal Santo Domingo in Puebla, Mexico. It was chilly here, not only for the season, but also because of the high elevation. Traffic was heavy, and I did not enjoy the high level of air pollution, but the hostel was nice, the showers were hot, and they provided two warm blankets as well as clean sheets.
I walked around downtown Puebla a few hours looking for a white jacket or “ropa tipica” but had no luck. There were several shops selling interesting rustic furniture and antiques. I searched for several blocks, asking people along the way, for “un buen pozole” which I finally found. Pozole is a thick spicy soup with hominy corn, meat and cheese and lettuce. It was just what I needed.
The hostal provided free internet access, and I spent a long while investigating the different possible routes to get back to Texas. I had planned on stopping in one more city in Mexico to break up the trip, but either the buses did not arrive there from Puebla, or the expense was prohibitive. I finally decided to just take an economical 18 hour trip straight to Reynosa on the Texan border.
This is a shot of the river in Tuxpan, on the gulf coast of Mexico, which is where our bus was after travelling six hours from Puebla through Pachuca and Poza Rica. We went on to Tampico, where everyone had to get off the bus for twenty minutes while they cleaned up and refueled. When we took off I noticed the lady who had been sitting next to me was not there. Fifteen minutes later she got on at a traffic light–she had missed the bus and had to take a taxi to catch up with us.
By 6:30 AM we had reached Reynosa, and I had a weak club sandwich before boarding a $4 bus to McAllen, Texas. It took almost 45 minutes to cross the intrenational bridge and get through US immigration, but everything went smoothly. In McAllen I got straight on a bus to Victoria, with stops in Falfurrias and Corpus Christi along the way. The weather was balmy, and apparently the winter was mild enough to keep the papaya tree in my parent’s backyard alive.
I suppose the beginning of the trip was when I left Tucson, Arizona around Sept 16, 2012 at 3AM and drove to Las Cruces, New Mexico where I called my new Couchsurfing friend Paty who had generously offered her abode for my much needed rest. It had been a stressful day before as I had packed all the belongings I could into my Toyota Camry, leaving behind everything else to my friends and the house I had lived in for the previous 9 years, to be auctioned off in October.
I slept for a few hours at Paty’s place, then had dinner in El Paso before driving all night until I was dangerously sleepy and decided stop at a rest stop outside of Junction Texas. By dawn I was much better, then got out of the car to do my morning ritual of Qi Gong exercises before driving in to Austin, Texas. Austin has changed a whole heck of a lot in the last 15 yrs since I lived there. I stayed with a couple of friends of mine, Tim & Taz, and later Gary, and had a couple of shows playing guitar and singing my songs. My stage name is Luis Sabor and I have been planning to sing my way through Central America and finally to Lima, Peru, where I will spend the New Year with my 9 yr-old son, who lives there.
I visited alot of friends and family on my way to Victoria, Texas, where I stayed with my parents for a few days and left my car parked in their driveway. My folks drove me to McAllen, TX where we visited with my Uncle Leon before getting on a bus for Reynosa Sept 29. Right in the bus station I met a lovely Mexican lady named Alejandra, who was travelling the same route to Queretaro Mexico. We were instant friends and we talked a great deal along the way. We said goodbye in Queretaro as I took a bus to Morelia, where I had another Couchsurfing friend , Marjolaine, generously offering me a place to stay.
My stay with Marjolaine was wonderful–I really got the rest I needed. The second night in Morelia I played at a restaurant for food and tips, then my last night I got to play all night with a Salsa Band, playing my Guiro, a percussion instrument which is great fun.
Now I’ve used up my time in this internet cafe, so I’ll be posting chapter 2 soon. Hasta Luego! Luis