Man Uno and I were at a corporate lunch last year and were asked to share with the table a childhood memory. A memory from Tijuana entered my mind immediately. Man Uno went first and his memory was about being in Tijuana too. I realized at that moment we all have Mexico memories to share.
Here’s one of mine: Canicas
I grew up in San Diego, South Bay to be exact, 2 exits away from the border. When I was about 4 years old my abuelita still owned apartments in Tijuana and we’d go down a few times a week. They were more like shacks that she rented with dusty wood floors, some with out houses and those with indoor toilets had to pour a bucket of water in them to make them flush.
As some of you might know, The City of Los Angeles is the invited guest at this year’s La Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara appropriately taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico this weekend. There will be quite a few Eastside and other Los Angeles writers and artists heading down to participate in the various musical offerings, panel discussions and lectures. In particular, the Vexing exhibition will be making an appearance and artists Sandra de la Loza and Shizu Saldamando will be presenting Eighteen With a Bullet.
I recently returned from a trip to Guadalajara and have a warning for those heading down for the events. The GDL airport does not have x-ray equipment to search your checked-in luggage on your way back. Passenger luggage is picked through and examined by young, tough women with immaculate eye make-up who dig and pull your items from the suitcase in full view of everyone in the airport lobby. Be prepared and don’t end up like the poor ranchero who made a whole line of people gasp when a large homegrown camote was discovered and pulled out from the recesses of his bursting suitcase.
In case you are wondering what Guadalajara and Los Angeles have in common (that is, besides the hundreds of thousands of people that consider both of these cities home) you can buy Suavitel in both places. The guy who tried to bring his camote to Los Angeles obviously didn’t know this because the luggage examiner also pulled out a large bottle of the laundry detergent from his suitcase only to have the line of Tapatio-Angeleno passengers tsk tsk his ignorance. Hey, these things are good to know, right?