Wednesday, July 16, 2008
This year when Summer I ended, friends suggested we celebrate by taking a day trip to Nogales. I think we started a tradition.
Bearing passports, snacks, comfortable shoes, water and cameras, we headed for the border. This was the first time I had ever gone to Nogales with a group of girls, and the experience was pretty hilarious.
We had lunch and margaritas at La Roca where we were waited on hand and foot by several waiters. It was expensive, so I think it was a fair deal. I've always loved that place. As a matter of fact, we hired the Trio Hermanos Estrada that regularly plays there for our wedding ceremony and reception. They were 100% worth it.
Then we went shopping, and every shop owner tried to lour us in with catch phrases. Their favorites were "Hey ladies, I'm single!" and "Come into my shop. If you don't look you'll never know..."
At one point I bought a Cuban cigar from the shop owner pictured above. He personally escorted us to the despensa pictured above where we bought water. He was delighted to show off his newly acquired harem of güeritas. And us four hard-core feminists went along with it. Well, we also study performance theory so maybe we felt obliged to perform the role that was expected of us. Why not? How often do we get to giggle about being shamelessly hit in our ivory tower? There's something refreshing about passes when our everyday roles require us to be practically asexual teacher/scholars.
At one point I decided to go back to a curio alley to buy a yellow fruit bowl I had seen earlier in the day, but I couldn't remember exactly what store it was in. Suddenly, all the shop owners realized I was back and this time they knew I was going to buy something. So they all asked me what I was looking for, and simultaneously produced yellow fruit bowls, trying to convince me that theirs was the one. The funny part is that none of them were. I eventually found the one I was looking for. I felt bad that I had gotten all their hopes up and caused them to scramble so wildly. I really like my yellow fruit bowl tho. It's the center piece of my living room.
I also have an even greater appreciation for Nogales after seeing Riley Merline's presentation, "A Century of Border Fence Construction and Community Transformation: Ambos Nogales, 1898-1998" at the RMCLAS conference this year. I thought about all the old pictures and all the history of this town when it used to be fused with Nogales, Arizona in a seamless, transnational community. It made me nostalgic for some pre-militarized border that I've never experienced.