refriedgringo

Paving the road to nowhere, one word at a time.

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Location: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

American born, living in Mexico since 1992.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Working Girls

Today was cooler, it might have hit ninety degrees but tonight will dip into the fifties. Yesterday was a lot hotter. I was again reminded while crossing the border that I needed a passport. Today I called the closest place in San Ysidro to make an appointment. August. This will not work, I need one before the end of May.

Chula Vista, seven miles north of San Ysidro, was easier. Next Thursday, I have an appointment. The lady was awesome, helpful, and wonderful. It will cost me over two hundred dollars. Check or money order. No cash accepted.

I’ll also have to get a new birth certificate. Luckily, I was born in San Diego. Otherwise, I would be in deep trouble, unable to enter the United States of America in order to buy the necessary documents to enter the United States of America. This is what happens.

* * * *

The heat was wonderful yesterday. In the early morning, I took a cab to Centro and found Scott sitting in the Cafe Francais sipping Colombian coffee and joined him after purchasing some of my own. At home I drink instant coffee, so the freshly brewed Colombian is a treat. Scott has fallen into a sudden and prolonged bout of sobriety. It frustrates me.

It took a while to catch up, we were finally waterlogged with the coffee and headed down to the race and sports book on fourth street, where they still list race results on chalkboards. Scott bets baseball, and he's been doing rather well lately, cashing for a couple hundred dollars. When I inquired about the Kentucky Derby future betting I was incorrectly informed that I Want Revenge was fifty-to-one. When I purchased the ticket, it was five to one. They asked if I wanted to return it. I couldn't. I never return tickets unless a horse scratches out.

I watched Scott eat breakfast at a small cafe in the breezeway outside of the race book. I have never known a human being that can eat as fast as Scott eats, he inhaled his breakfast in five minutes.

We crossed the border, Scott to buy more time on his cell phone and myself for some banking. I was reminded once again that I have thirty-nine days in order to procure a passport. I bought my first passport almost seventeen years ago. Two months before it was set to expire it was stolen. I never needed it here. Mexico couldn't care less. On the first of June, the United States of America has decided that I'm not worthy of entering the country unless I have one.

We headed back into Mexico, the heat building, and into Scott's world, Zona Norte. The prostitutes are so beautiful. I wanted to take their picture but it's frowned upon. One day I am going to pay a couple of them for their time and just interview them and then I can get some pictures. So gorgeous. I'll write a story about them, a good story, dozens and dozens of beautiful girls, working the streets, making an otherwise bizarre area worthy of adulation. Judge the profession as you see fit, but don't judge the working girls.

There is a race book inside of Zona Norte, sort of an oasis inside of a sandstorm, you can't walk the streets of Zona Norte without someone asking for something. Money, food, a shoeshine, a wristwatch for sale, drugs, everything is for sale there. The prostitutes make nice with passers-by and everyone else works their gimmicks. Inside of the race book is air-conditioned heaven. Outside it was over one hundred degrees and in the race book it was sixty-eight. Scott pondered wagering on baseball games while I had a beer.

* * * *

A couch arrived tonight. Juan, from Iraq, ordered it here in Mexico for his mother as a Mother’s Day gift. Tomorrow, I have to find room for it. I’m going to slap the hell out of that kid when he comes home. We needed a couch like a fish needs a bicycle. Maybe even less than that.

I made cream of ham and potato soup with some very elaborate sandwiches tonight. Three types of meat, two types of cheese, bacon and avocado, toasted. Odds are good that we are the only family in the entire city that ate this tonight. I’m a gringo, I can’t not cook what I love. Lucky for me, the family loves it too.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll make chili beans.

It wouldn’t bother me in the least if I never crossed the border again. I don’t hate the United States of America, I was born and raised there, I am proud of my upbringing and admire the history so much. My blood is red, like Mexican blood, but my blood is gringo blood, I can’t deny my heritage. It’s a very coveted heritage to own.

Forgive me if I find it sort of stupid that the land where I was born is now demanding that I pay upwards of two hundred dollars in order to prove it so that I can enter the country.

* * * *

Scott and me decided to try and find Jody. We checked bar after bar, no Jody. We ran into him accidentally. Scott excused himself, fell into his temporary sobriety, and Jody and me went to have a few beers.

"The hookers are a lot prettier than I remember," I said.

"Yes. And this is the day shift, you should see them at night," Jody said.

That isn’t going to happen any time soon, I’ll take his word for it. I hope that Scott falls off of the wagon soon. Then we can drink together and they can trade stories about the working girls. By then, I should have a shiny new passport. Like it matters. Like it should matter.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear dave . whats up .just got off work.my day was the same it always is .mom wants you to email her so do i doddjohn48@yahoo.com if i can find the time so can you.the working girls is ok but not one of your best.i took a second job at salsaritas fresh cantina as asst mgr.its a mexican resturant with a nice twist the food is realy good for the south.although we both ate sothern food growing up i myself am sick of it the only reason i took this job is the food is free and the pay is fair.well im going to get off here for now right me back john

9:31 PM, May 02, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please don't encourage the BICE folks with their Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Please understand that "initiative" means it does not have the force of law, it is only something the BICE decided to do on their own initiative -- and no one else in D.C. had enough balls to stand up to them.

Ask a BICE officer if they can keep a U.S. citizen out of the U.S. for lack of a passport (or other WHTI-blessed document) and he will tell you that they cannot, that they are prevented by the U.S. Constitution from doing so.

The passport will only get you WAIVED into the country at the PRIMARY point of inspection. If you cannot PROVE your citizenship and your identity at the primary point, you will be conducted to secondary inspection, where they are obligated by law to confirm your evidence of nationality and identity. That extra step might take ten minutes more but you will still be allowed to return home.

What WHTI is trying to do is to make all border-crossers carry electronic transponders in their documentation. Before you show your face to the nice border guard, your WHTI-compliant document will have pre-cleared you.

I still cross the border with a passport that was issued to me thirty years ago. It most certainly lacks the WHTI transponder, so the border guard frequently recommends that I get a new one. "Why?" I ask. And they have no answer because I have already offered irrefutable proof of my nationality and my identity.

Just today I witnessed a man being admitted at primary on the strength of his Consular Report of Birth Abroad (i.e., no photo ID and not being sent to secondary inspection for corroboration). And I also know a hopeless black-out drunk who loses everything in La Coahuila and who has been admitted at least twice now without any identification whatsoever: I served as his interpreter before the Ministerio Público that first time when he denounced the theft of his identity documents.

Seriously, this passport business is overblown. If you can offer evidence that you have the legal right to live in the U.S., the border guards then have the burden of proof to show that you do not. A current California driver's license presumes your right to live in the U.S., so Adele Fasano's pinoy mafia in San Ysidro has no business telling you that you can't go home again.

Man was meant to cross borders. Live strong; walk tall. Worry should be someone else's problem.

10:26 PM, October 12, 2009  
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