Friday, 27 February 2009
27 February 2009
won’t change for a long time. If you’ll drive I’ll sleep now.” I took the wheel and drove among reveries of my own, Through Linares, through hot flat swamp country, across the steaming Rio Soto la Marina near Hidalgo, and on. A great verdant jungle valley with long fields of greencops opened before me. Groups of men watched us pass from a narrow oldfashioned bridge. The hot river followed. Then we rose in altitude till a kind of desert country began reappearing. The city of Victoria was ahead. The boys were sleeping and I was alone in my eternity at the wheel and the road ran straight as an arrow. Not like driving across Carolina, or Texas, or Arizona, or Illinois; but like driving across the world and into the places where we would finally learn ourselves among the worldwide fellaheen people of the world, the Indians that stretch in a belt around the world from Malaya to India to Arabia to Morocco to Mexico and over to Polynesia. For these people were unmistakably Indians and were not at all like the Pedros and Panchos of silly American lore---they had high cheekbones, and slanted eyes, and soft ways---they were not fools, they were not clowns---they were great grave Indians and they were the source of mankind and the fathers of it. And they knew this when we passed, ostensibly self-important moneybag Americans on a lark in their land, they knew who was the father and who was the son of antique life on earth, and made no comment. For when destruction comes to the world people will stare with the same eyes from the caves of Mexico as well as from the caves of Bali, where it all began and where Adam was suckled and taught to know. These were my growing thoughts as I drove the car into the hot sunbaked town of Victoria where we were destined to spend the maddest afternoon of our entire lives. Earlier, back at San Antonio, I had promised Neal, as a joke, that I would get him laid. It was a bet and a challenge. As I pulled up the car at the gas station near the gates of sunny Victoria a kid came across the road on tattered feet carrying an enormous windshieldshade and wanted to know if I’d buy. “You like? Sixty pesos. Habla Mexicano. Sesenta peso. My name Gregor.” “Nah” I said jokingly “buy senorita.” “Sure sure!” he cried excitedly. “I get you gurls, anytime.