qafrecs -- doesn't this just make me happy? Oh yes it does. *does little dance of joy*
*falls and stops*
Okay, I promised the story of the Hagging in Mexico, and also, the Epic Romance (though short) of Beth and Francisco "please call me Frank".
Here it is.
I told this story to my supervisor, who made me promise on my job security to never, ever, ever do this again. Which really, it's not that big a deal.
It's late morning. One might even say noon if one was uncharitable, but Beth and I are charitable folks and also, were up until FIVE FREAKING THIRTY talking while watching the endlessly hypnotic waves, discussing sentient foam, and avoiding random gentleman offering alcoholic liquid refreshment.
B: You still want to go to the Brownsville Flea Market?
Because we are so freaking witty. Totally.
Anyway, off we go to Brownsville. If you check your handy mapquest, you'll see, not far. On the way, we dissected Exile and Lex's bad relationships, people we hate, and thoughts on dinner.
Now, here's the thing. You'd *think* that in a fair, normal world, signs would exist. We get into Brownsville, glancing around at the sheer variety of trailer parks, and note, huh, while in Port Isabel we were *stumbling* over signs for this thing, not a one to be seen here.
Huh, we think, but then again, not too surprised, as we have learned by now Two Holy Rules--one, we will get lost going where we are going, and two, there wont' be signs once we get there. Because that would be Logical, and when I say we got good at turning around in parking lots? No freaking joke.
To make a long story short, at some point, it seemed like a *great* idea to go to Mexico.
We find the tourist place by accident, grab some advice adn a lot of brochures, and go do our thing.
First, we walk. Across a bridge. Which spans over the equivalent of a puddle, and okay, *please*, I've made better rivers peeing in the woods, but we'll let that go. Great Dividing Line of the United States my *ass*. But there was all kinds of symbolism going on, and frankly, I was kind of disappointed no one attacked or frisked us once we got across teh border.
I'm telling you, television gives you some really high expectations that reality totally does *not* live up to.
Garcia's is the place recommended, and I'll give it two things. One, it was air conditioned. Two, it had a cute waiter. Otherwise, it sucked. It sucked like a crying Brian fic, or a pregnant Lex fic, or a--um. Okay, it was bad. And they gave us water. And I ordered coffee and belatedly remembered that maybe I should, you know, not drink the water, but I was down by a cup and what the hell. Beth's smarter than me. She went for the soda. I resent her for being smart. It's annoying.
Anyway, we leave and look around, deciding we will go to the Old Market.
J: *full of enthusiasm* Let's walk! *five billion blocks* We can go by the consulate! *looks at map* The cemetary! The--
B: *looks at jenn indulgently* Okay.
J: I like to walk!
Beth *knows* me. After a few days, she'd figured out my sheer laziness was pretty much going to kill this plan, but she gamely wandered down a sidewalk, looked inside places that seemed to have recently had a major war going on, and slinked by a car that had taken up residence on the sidewalk and okay, that was new, but now we were sort of getting why all the advice was "don't drive to Mexico", because, well, you see why, right?
J: I need to look at the map. We're on Las Rosas. Where is that?
*note: We were still on the *same freaking block* as Garcias and I was lost. Did I mention I have no sense of direction? Let's keep that in mind*
B: *looks at map* It's not on here.
J: What do you mean, it's not on there? It has to be on there!
B: It's not on here.
Imagine, if you will--two young, highly adorable, and oh so very dumb looking American girls on a sidewalk that had recently been the site of what had to have been an attempt at coup, staring vaguely at a map. Consider the fact that both of us spoke very little Spanish, though I could easily have asked anyoen if they wanted a temporary medicaid card or wanted to change their address. Neither useful. Though Beth said it often, just to remind me of this.
She's seriously lucky I'm so in love with her.
Yes, we *so* blended.
J: *gazing dubiously at map* Maybe we should take one of the buses.
B: Are they going where we want to go?
J: Sure. See? *points* That one says Juarez.
B: *long suffering sigh* What does puerte mean?
J: Something we don't need to know?
It means bridge. We found that out later. Or Beth did. I sat there and thought pure thoughts of sombrerors, but that's skipping ahead, because....
A light breaks through the--okay, this was a fucking bright day, there were no clouds, but He appeared, and there was metaphorical light. Tall and dark and sparkling with repressed passion and energy, and he coaxes us toward his Taxibus, white, and leads us in with promses of finding the market.
He'd seen us when we were stumbling drunkenly away. Uh huh.
Instantly, the attraction kindled as Beth looked upon the shape of her fate all wrapped in cotton and they stared at each other in smouldering heat while I thought pure thoughts of sombreros and Mexican blankets. Instantly, they lost themselves in conversation, where Fransisco "Please Call Me *Frank*, Senora* told Beth all about the market and the stars and heavens and where to eat later, and did it all in pretty good English. Somewhere along the line, haggling was mentioned, and I thought, oh fuck. Because this is All About Me, adn I don't like people very much.
Slowly, perhaps one might say, suspiciously slowly, considering that the traffic laws there are treated as mild suggestions, we drove along the streets as Beth and Frank exchanged long, heated, endlessly passionate looks of smouldering--hold it, used that word--endless repressed passion, and Beth got his phone number (I swear to God, he gave her his phone number) and they parted with the sound of some heart breaking, and thus ended the Greatest Romance of All Time.
(You realize she's going to kill me for this, right? For my funeral, send tulips.)
And we were at Market.
Haggle the First, or, How We Were Gang Raped Up the Ass
Guy: Come in here, senoras! Oh, you look like movie stars!
J and B: *blink*
We go inside a tiny shop about the size of my closet, which is freaking *small*, assualted by waves of flattery and promises of one hundred percent off. Beth looks at pottery. I look at--something. A woman appears, sees fresh, vaguely freaked out meat "oh senora, you movie star!" and goes for the kill.
This is how I ended up being shown a purple gauze Mexican dress, two piece, and I tried to say I didn't want it, but then I walked out with it, twnety dollars poorer. Beth, equally shell shocked, was holding pottery. We paid way too much. We didn't haggle well.
Oh, man, that hurt.
We were cajoled place by place and it was kind of disturbing, and then we were free and outside and it was kind of cool. Beth bought things and I bought things, and then we came to...
Haggle the Second
Beth kicks ass. She'll tell this one, where she did magical things with her haggling. All bow before her. But we still smart about that first place. A lot.
Haggle the Third
The steele had entered my soul. And also, I was wearing my favorite shoes that I stole from my sister, and I mentally added my Vampire Mafia behind me and set myself to haggling. I wanted this Mexican blanket.
Senor: Twenty four dollars. Feel how soft it is.
Senora: Senora! I am a poor man! I must pay rent! I must feed my family!
Jenn: It's nice, but I live in Texas. I dont' need blankets.
This is where it came together. This is a huge game. It's practically scripted. You know the price you'll pay, they know what you'll pay, and it's all this great, fantastic melodrama, and you know, I'm a drama queen. This *rocked*.
S: *unfolds blanket* So soft. Your boyfriend will like this.
J: I don't have a boyfriend.
S: Pretty movie star like you?
*happy sigh* Yes, tell me more. No, wait, I'm strong.
J: Maybe six. Maybe.
S: You put me out of business?
J: You ready to go, Beth?
I left dramatically, and man, this was the coolest thing ever. Beth says I'm happiest when it's All About Me, and in this case, at least, she was really right. I was *so* freaking dramatic. Fabulous.
S: My nephew. He drinks too much. Must pay his bills. Twleve dollars. It's a wonderful blanket.
J: For one blanket? Six. It's nice, but I'm a poor girl. I have a child to care for. But two for ten might be acceptable.
S: You put me out of business.
J: Beth, you ready?
Dramatic exit #2, and then he grabbed my arm.
J: Two for seven.
S: I can't do that, senora! Feel how soft! Ten.
And that is the story of the blanket, that became two. When I get my pictures developed, I'll upload the pic of the Blanket Man.
Later, Beth told me of her whirlwind affair with the nephew. She's going to tell that story, too.
Didn't I tell you? *International* Flirt.
I also bought two bullwhips, one small, one large. I dare you to comment on that. I *dare* you.
To get back, Franciso *Please call me *Frank*, Senora had told us to get a cab. Beth looked at me and told me to go at the haggling.
J: Donde es consulado, senor?
We went by it, a dizzying variety of streets and signs, and a curb of Mexican prostitutes. Kind of like Congress Avenue, just completely different, but one had kick-ass boots if I remember correctly. A boy tries to cross the road. Taxi guy doesn't stop.
As I said, traffic laws? Mild suggestions. Very mild. Very, very mild. One might say, non-existent.
We got back to the bridge, and then to the customs people, who asked for ID, refused to frisk us or ask if we were carrying firearms, contraband, or foreign fruits and vegetables (does my stomach count?) and then let us go like we were no threat to the nation at all. They actually seemd *bored*.
Again, disappointing. I expected at *least* an interrogation. I was in Mexico! I could be a drug cartel runner! Carrying weapons! I could be carrying *foreign produce*!
But yes, left with two dresses, two blankets, two whips. Beth left with pottery. that turned out to not be made of heroin, and therefore drug lords were not going to chase us down, and no, Frank was not going to come and rescue her and carry her off to a romantic hacienda on the coastline to hide.
Freaking pop culture. *grr*
So there we go.
So, who suddenly wants to be around me in *Mexico City*?