|Ixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico
Sometimes big decisions need to be made...and they need to be made quickly. Not always my strong, but, in this case, I suddenly became Senor Decisive. Here are the circumstances: In Ixtepec, Oaxaca ( I still enjoy saying the name over and over) research is a bit stagnant for my style. Yes, I've been monitoring the major migration path through Ixtepec and dialoguing with Gang Bangers, but nothing truly captivating. I feel unproductive. And, too make matters worse, I haven't eaten much except a surfeit of King Cones (cornettos) and the tracks are too dangerous for Hondu, much more dangerous than during last summer's fieldwork.
My major decision is to change routes. This is a major development and it has many implications. 1) the other route is considerably more dangerous 2) it's very far from here 3) ostensibly I'll be giving up on following Hondu I have met so far. I will be nearly impossible to re-hookup with these same individuals on their journey to Los United. Honestlym I've invested many hours in the trenches with my sleeves rolled up and it's hard to let it fall by the wayside, especially mis amigos Luis (gangbanger) & Frankie (Senor Sensitive).
Anyway, back to the change. Traditionally there are two routes that Hondu can use to traverse Mexico, as I mentioned in a previous entry. I will leave at midnight on a 13 hour bus ride to Palenque, which is a major passageway for migrants on the other route. There, my sources tell me, I will encounter a )Hondu in larger numbers and b) more danger.
My decision is final. I will depart Ixtepec at 11PM. In the meantime, I've been biding my time waiting for the bus to depart. By the way, the route is non traditional, so I will need to take 3 buses in order to arrive in Palenque early afternoon. My belongings are stowed away at my "hotel" and I've been wandering the streets. I stumble upon 2 hondu that I met a few days earlier sitting by the tracks anxiously awaiting the next departure. We talk for awhile, look at pictures, talk about the USA and even the upcoming Smurfs movie.
While we are engaged and minding our own business, a Honda Accord with tinted windows speeds up to us and stops on a dime. (In Mexican terms, this is not a good sign. This usually ends like a Quentin Tarantino movie with alotta blood and crazyness). The car stands still in front of us and my heart drops. I look over at my Hondu friends and they are visibly freaked out. (not a good sign) I wasn't sure if I should run like hell and take my chances or just start crying like a baby. It is around 10 pm in this dusty nothing of a town so the streets are empty. It seems as if time has stopped and unable to process everything, we wait, nervously, for the windows to roll down and an AKA 47 to blow us to pieces. Probably not the smartest course of non-action. We can't see through the ominously dark tinted windows and the car is staring us down for a solid 10 seconds. We don't know how many people are in the car and what is going on behibd the tinted windows. Suddenly, the car peels out down the road, leaving a cloud of smoke in our faces. I'll gladly breath yucky car exhaust rather than get tortured or kidnapped or shot by the Drug Cartels.
That's when I realized it was time to leave Ixtepec, Oaxaca. I quickly said farewell to my Hondu friends, excused myself and booked outta there. My Hondu friends also left...and left quickly.
I ran to my "hotel" to retrieve my belongings and walked directly to the bus station for my 13 hour busride.
Hopefully the other migrant route, albeit more dangerous, shall prove more fruitfull.