One journalist's musings about the beautiful, bizarre world in which we live
DEC. 2, 2010
For the first time, I’m travelling through the poorer region of Mexico. Myself, Dan and two new Australian friends are on our way to las Piramides de Teotihuacan, driving through the outer regions of Mexico City.
Concrete boxes are mashed into the hills beside the highway. Clotheslines hang along with tarps. Jesus is everywhere (even on the ceiling of our bus). Eucalyptus trees line the roads.
Our bus is stopping and going in the slow traffic, while the feel of metal grinds through my feet as the driver changes gears.
I see tons of graffiti through the window. Some is well-designed with obvious purpose. Much is ugly tagging. We drive through another of the dozens of tolls through which I have already passed.
* * *
This view is nothing like San Pedro, the suburb outside of Monterrey where the groom’s family lives.
There, well-groomed lawns sidled up clean and smooth roads. Garages and courtyards with fountains were protected by iron bars. There were pedestrian bridges over busy roads and sidewalks in beautiful boulevards.
* * *
On this bus, I’m passing a patch of earth blackened by fire. Some concrete houses are painted vibrantly, quite a sight amongst what looks like prison cells.
We pass a troop of about 150 people wearing hard hats, carrying a sign I can’t see.
* * *
Before I left Monterrey, I had a conversation with the groom’s brother about education. Indeed, many in Mexico get a primary education, he said. But university or college is something out of reach for most people.
There are no specific student loans through governments or banks, he said. There are some scholarships, but even with a job, a person can only hope to continue schooling with their parents’ help.
The groom’s brother had been lucky, going to English camps as a kid and completing two degrees.
It’s luck of birth, luck of the draw.
Racism plays a big part, too, he said, noting that Mexican Indians get the short of it while those of Spanish decent tend to do better. It’s who you know, who your parents know, he added.
* * *
We’re driving through San Lorenzo. Dry, dead flowers are on graves here, with cacti in the place of trees.