Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mexico 1987, Part 5: Object of Interest

Oct 29
Vera Cruz
Besame mucho
Como si fuera esta noche
La ultima vez
The song gets fairly romantic - and no wonder, Latins are sex crazed and repressed. Mexicans seem almost too friendly, friendlier than Brazilians but I hope I'm not generalizing. I sent a letter off to Werner, my sex-crazed fantasy:

This heat intensifies one's dreams, makes them touchable. At the beach, I put my feet in the water and it is soft and swells around my legs, as the sea breathes in and out and the warm fingers of the wind caress my face and neck, my body: we are making love. The crash of the waves and crash of your body on top of me, bones against bones, thrusting and swelling inside of me. Even the cool rush of tide cannot quell the fever that burns on the sand. Of many men, few have taken me to the edge of ecstasy and held me there for so long. I must feel you inside me again or this fever will make me crazy.
I'm sitting in the 3 o'clock sun - an American "loca" because it's pretty hot, yet here I sit. I'm getting on a bus tonight, bound for Campeche, where I'm told I might find some nice beaches to langour upon. It's been a fun 3 days in Vera Cruz. After I got off the train last Monday I walked up to the zocalo, where there's a beautiful plaza filled with shade trees and a fountain in the middle, and encircling it are cafes and people, many people gathering here night and day, from all around Mexico, from around the world. A port city, this is, my favorite kind. In the plaza the sounds of birds crooning and music - mariachis and marimbas - and people talking and laughing and the splattering of the fountain dance in the cool shade. The bands are always competing for airspace, for money - no sooner does one stop then another begins, sometimes 2 or 3 bands at once, each a different song, and voices and guitars and xylophones, drums, bells, trumpets resound off each other and up, out, over the square. This is the zocalo, called by the same name in cities throughout the country, the center of town.

I have yet to sit alone, you can't go out if you want to be left alone. That first night I got my drink and sat on a bench to watch the spectacle. I sat next to two chubby, unattractive women, thinking this way I could be left alone. Soon, they got up and left and two men sat beside me. They struck up a conversation, which is common around here, and we got to charlando (chatting). Jaime and Soltero. Soon we were in the bar drinking, laughing, singing, dancing. The next afternoon I sat alone to have lunch and fill out my postcards and was joined at my table by two Cubanos and a Czech. One of the Cubanos wanted to know if I was Cubana. I said no. Mexicana? No, Americana. Oh, he has family in Miami and wouldn't it be nice if I could meet them sometime? The Czech also wrote out his postcards and then had each of us sign them. Eventually they wandered off.

That night I was standing in the plaza waiting for Jaime and Soltero - we were going dancing - watching the marine band practicing for carnaval (samba dancers and drums practice each night for about and hour outside my hotel), when a man with a heine haircut came up and said "no es rockenroll" and I said "thank goodness." He was from Kansas City - Iowa, really, I found out later - and he told me about the culture here, what hotels the prostitutes hang out at, which bars stay open all night serving food, who the local characters are. He's been living here a few months a year for 6 years? How long did he say? Then I spotted my friends and they took me out to dance the salsa in an old club. We were there 'til after midnight, then back to the plaza, then to another place to have a bite to eat. I got in at 3:30 am.

Last night I was too beat to go out so I stayed in. But as I was walking toward the hotel in the late afternoon, I was stopped by 3 teenagers. They spotted me as an estanjera and wanted to know where I was from. I've figured out that it's the shoes. The flat shoes are a dead give-away. But 4-inch heels in this heat? Forget it! These boys wanted to exchange postcards, they collect them from tourists around the world. So we exchanged addresses. It started to rain so we moved inside the hotel lobby. They fired questions at me right and left about the usual - where was I from, did I come here alone, wasn't I afraid, was I married (I've taken to telling people I'm engaged, it seems to ward off any misguided attention) - and told me in between about themselves while they chided each other. They went from travel to sex to religion - one believing in god, Jesus, the virgin and all the saints, one who just believed in god, and one who didn't believe in anything - until I had to tell them I was tired and wanted to turn in. That was not well-taken, but oh well.

It gets tiring after a while. A guy just came up and asked in English with a Mexican accent, what was I doing? And I said, what does it look like I'm doing? And he said, writing something, but what? And I said, I'm just writing. As he sat down he said, I don't want to bother you, I'm just interested, and I said, I'm enjoying myself right now, thank you. And thank god he got the hint! I was annoyed and I know he meant no harm, he was truly interested. As I have said, Latins are not shy, they have little sense of personal space or privacy, but I've nearly had it for today. After a while you get to feel like just some article of interest, something to gawk at. I'm just tired today. This heat makes me sleepy.

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