Mexico Trek!   Trekkers DISPATCH: August 19 Shawn's Log

Personal Reflection from Tijuana - Lots of colors, lots of poverty, and lots of vegetarian food (NOT!)

Trivia!I’m writing this from Tijuana, Mexico, just south of the Mexican border with the US. After resting up in LA for a couple days Monica, Silvia and I found our way down here to learn about border culture and to practice our Spanish. I really need the practice.

The first thing I noticed here is how colorful everything is. The streets are bustling with merchants selling all kinds of interesting gifts and crafts, and the clothes seemed much more vibrant than the average US garb. The next thing I At the border!noticed was the incredible poverty of a lot of the people. We were immediately ambushed by a mob of young girls selling candy and trinkets, or just begging for spare change. I was a bit unnerved at their desperateness for even a few pesos. Some of these children were no more than four or five years old; I barely even knew what money was at that age. I guess when your whole family has to survive on a few dollars a month, you have to be resourceful no matter what age you are. I felt guilty when we went into a restaurant to eat lunch, knowing there were so many hungry people around us.

The restaurant awakened me to another aspect of Mexican culture which is difficult for me and that is the food. I have not eaten meat in almost ten years. The Mexican diet is very rich, and carne (meat) and queso (cheese) are some of the most prominent staples. When I told the waitress, "Soy vegetariano," she looked at me totally confused. At first I thought it was my horrible pronunciation, and then I realized there was absolutely nothing on the menu without meat or lard in it. Hmmm… Let’s see what happens in Mexico City.

Tomorrow we are flying to Mexico City, and I have to admit I am a little nervous. I guess my biggest fears are that I will wake up in the morning to find myself in a land where I can’t communicate with anyone, and I can’t find anything to eat. At least I’m sure of one thing — I’m going to learn a lot.

-Shawn

 Related Dispatches: 
Monica: Life on the border
Sylvia: What can we do to help street children.
Shawn: Tijuana - Lots of colors, lots of poverty, and lots of vegetarian food (NOT!)

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