Saturday, July 14, 2012
“Tall, handsome, funny, Mexican man” and “short, pretty, ‘white girl with debit card’ ” (a pet name…) take a walk along the Santa Cruz River toward the Mercado for breakfast.
At the bakery, apple, pineapple and pumpkin empanadas, fresh beef tamales with traditional olive in the center, and some fresh Mexican coffee (with chicory and cinnamon). For later, fresh-made tortillas (made with lard – tasty!) and traditional ‘pig’ cookies (taste like gingerbread). Yummy!
Leaving the Mercado with tortillas, uneaten tamales, and pig cookies in hand, along with a large agua de tamarindo (sweet drink made from tamarind) we head back toward the bridge, go through the chain link fence leaning ‘just so’.
Uh-oh! Busted! Local security advises that we may not walk across the bridge as it is not open yet (we’ve walked across twice before already). Unable to evoke any mercy, we step off the bridge path and head across the barren land/parking area toward the river. It’s a BIG, long way to walk if staying to the streets.
Down the embankment, over or under the old rails along a deserted path along the river, as our heights suggest, across a conduit and down to the muddy river. It’s monsoon season and the river has been filling with run-off. Luckily, this particular day it’s only muddy with a few puddles to navigate.
Tall Man takes the lead, and in his shoes, walks through the mud, leaving a path for white girl to follow, after removing her sandals. Squishy mud (oh my god, what is in it?), hoping I don’t slip…
Across to the other side of the river, and facing the embankment, we have to climb. I hand off my sandals, and begin to place my feet and hands to crawl up the side. Tall Man tries to assist by pushing my rear – but I advise it’s better to not do that, so I can plant my feet and hands for my own balance. Up I go, without a hitch, and am glad to be able to stand a little above the river.
I take the bag of goodies and the drink from Tall Man so he can ascend the embankment, and we find a place to rest. After all, we are both in our 60s, for gosh sake!
We are reminded of the immigrants who try this on a regular basis in order to enter the country, and I hear myself being referred to as a good ‘wetback’, in jest.
So after scraping the mud off my feet and putting the sandals back on we head toward the river park walking path we began on. It’s hot, and we are tired, and need to rest again in the shade, drinking our drink.
After this rest we find ourselves blocked from the path, and facing an eight-foot high chain link fence and gate that is closed with a chain and lock. Tall Man takes the higher part of the gate, putting his feet on the chain and wriggling through the opening about 12″ wide. Short white girl, squats, putting her back side through the opening and oozing herself through. I can’t believe I did that!!! And Tall Man didn’t think I could!
Amazingly, no bruises, sore muscles, broken bones – only overheated and needing a very cool shower to bring down the body heat. Although I wore a hat and had plenty to drink, it was too much to be in the sun. Again, just think about those who risk it everyday to enter the U. S. secretly from Mexico.
I am grateful that I’m in good enough shape that I could accomplish the physical tasks required of me for this walk. I had great fun, and look forward to other adventures, hopefully not as physically demanding! And I’m also thinking that any possible injuries sustained by crossing the river without benefit of bridge could have been more devastating than trespassing on the new, not-open bridge (that the city wants to keep folks off of, so as to avoid any liability).
Note: Image by Phillip Martin