Friday, November 13, 2015
down and out above the border
Despite its reputation, we escaped from Culiacán this morning unscathed.
Darrel announced that it was about as anti-climactic as leaving Detroit in one piece. Promises of mayhem almost always go unmet.
Instead, we were up before the sun to head off through the remainder of our road trip through northern Mexico. I often hear Mexicans, from further south in the country, referring to northern Mexicans as being hybrids between Mexico and The States.
I do not know about that. But the north has long been culturally different from Mexican lands to the south.
The north is one of the areas where the Apaches and Comanches limited the northern expansion of Spanish and Mexican settlement. That is one reason the Mexican government invited American settlers into Texas. Of course, that did not end well for Mexico -- with its defeat in the inevitable Mexican-American war.
But what remained of the northern area of Mexico proved to be a volatile mix for the country. It is where mestizos came to find a less-hierarchical life. They built the Mexican cowboy culture -- a culture that was adopted by cowboys north of the Rio Bravo.
And, being free of Mexico City's cultural (and, often, political) grasp, the northerners built their own view of their region. Very similar to what would be known as Whigs -- the country party -- in England. Distrustful of central authority. Willing to gauge a man by his talents, rather than his birth.
It is one reason many northern Mexicans see narco lords as modern day Robin Hoods -- gathering wealth and sharing it with their community. And then celebrating them in song. One of the best examples is, of course, Culiacán itself.
But we did not stick around long enough to determine if all of that is merely another Mexican myth. Instead, we spent the day driving through the fields and deserts of Sinaloa and Sonora. As well as the state capital of Hermosillo -- with its bustling traffic that rivals Los Angeles in its quest -- for whatever such people seek.
Most of our Sonora drive (from Santa Ana to the border at Sonoyta) was in the dark. I am not fond of driving in the dark -- whether in Mexico or elsewhere. It is usually as boring as night flights. And the drive was a bit frustrating because I know how stunning the scenery can be on that drive.
But this is a Cotton Boy road trip. We like to stretch our destination points as far from our departures as we can.
In this case, we are spending the night in Gila Bend, Arizona at the Space Age Lodge. It is not our first time here. Professor Jiggs, Darrel, and I spent a night here in 2009 (racing arizona). And nothing has changed. It is still over-priced (costing more than the Best Western across the street from Disneyland). But for two tired vagabonds, the room is adequate enough to recharge for another long day heading further north.
And that is not bad for a situation comedy episode.