Thursday, 18 August 2016


Image result for billingham festival mexico.

Pretty scary place, Mexico having said which, my colleague Jeff Cook has a brother who lives there in some luxury on the Pacific west coast and doesn’t seem to have any problems whatsoever. There is no Alfredo Garcia looking for his head.

I’ve been I think five times. The first time was when we took the little train down from San Diego for a one-day visit to Tijuana; my daughter was ten then. Jeez it was scary and if you wandered off the main drag you were immediately offered drugs by children even younger than my daughter or sex with children not much older. A few years later we went to El Paso and crossed over to the Mexican side in a taxi, to see what it was like. Wasn’t interesting.

Then a few years after that we were on a cruise that stopped off at Cozumel, an island just off the east coast which is supposed to be where Cortez landed in 1519.

You can’t not read Cormac McCarthy and not find Mexico beguiling.

Yesterday we went to an open-air folk festival where the headliners were a traditional Mexican troupe of young musicians and dancers who played and entertained us for an hour. Music colour and movement, all professionally executed with a live band [two guitars; fiddle, trumpet, a drum machine and two singers], in the afternoon sunshine. Just lovely. Not the real Mexico? Good enough for me. And as authentic as any other version I have encountered.


  1. I was born in Southern California and have never been there, oddly enough. Though of course there is plenty of quite authentic Mexican culture right here in Central California, where I now live.

    I did once stay in a house where you could literally see the Mexican border and some shanties on the other side of the ravine in Tiajuana, which was kind of cool in a way, but also depressing.

  2. Seana . . . very surprised to hear that you have never been. I am sure its not defined only by the cartels.
    Thanks for your post. Did you see my bit about Chinese immigrants in Russia? And Trump thinks the USA is the only country that has too many immigrants.What are they all afraid of?

  3. Yes, it's weird that I haven't been, as everyone else in my family has, and it seems that my mother came close to marrying someone in the Mexican government before I was born.

    I hadn't read the article on Russia and the Chinese, but corrected that just now. I think there is a lot going on with all anti-immigrant stances. Maybe there's an innate xenophobia in all of us, as well as a dog in the manger tendency. And though it's hard to see why Russians would begrudge Chinese workers unused land, I do think there's something similar here with Latino farmworkers. People want to keep them out, even though they're doing a lot of the backbreaking labor of harvesting here. But when you add both fear and a sense of scarcity, there's no telling how much scapegoating will go on.

    I'd like to say I'm immune to it, but with Silicon Valley booming and spilling over here and so driving the rents and real estate up, it's not that hard to see why people get defensive.