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  • hardie karges 12:45 am on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo, , Piedras Negras, ,   

    Texas Nexus: Borderlands Here, Too, Y’all 

    Mexico-US boundary post

    Mexico-US boundary post

    So here’s the deal: I’m becoming obsessed with this border between the US and Mexico, this line that defines so much while accomplishing so little, worshiped as a line in the sand, a bulwark of democracy, a first line of defense against those who would abuse the privileges of America without paying the full price of admission, those entering the amusement park without paying the cover charge, violators subject to a revenge equal to and exceeding the pulling of eyes for eyes and teeth for teeth.

    Here’s my thesis: that the Arizona border region—aka Brewer’s Gulch—is the most abusive of all the involved states, and likely for a reason: because of the current anti-immigrant climate in that state as best exemplified by SB 1070, and including various other neglects, slights and omissions committed upon people of Mexican ancestry by law enforcement agencies and the broader society of ‘real’ (white) Americans as a whole.

    Ironically these slights and omissions have been inflicted even upon myself while reentering the USA recently along the Mexican border, three times (out of five) in Arizona, and not once in California. There seems to be a pattern forming here. With such my mandate and mantra I set out upon the continuance of my journey of discovery in Texas, the USA’s longest border, and the only one with a river running through it. (More …)

    • Leigh 2:57 am on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      For three years running I had trips right down at the US-Mexico border. I even found a hole in the fence in Coronado National Memorial. In Big Bend NP the border was only a few feet across the Rio Grande. It feels like your every move is being watched – and it probably is.

      • hardie karges 3:15 am on November 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Probably more so than before, yes. I remember Big Bend 30+ years ago felt pretty loose, but I doubt that is the case now. Business there has suffered accordingly…

  • hardie karges 12:42 am on November 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Talking Time Travel Border Bashin’ Blues 1983 

    Karges in Guatemala 1983 buying huipiles

    Karges in Guatemala 1983 buying huipiles

    April, 1983 Tecate, MX: We’re sitting on a remote border between the USA and Mexico, waiting on midnight, waiting for the night shift to come on at US Customs up the hill. I’ve got a pickup load full of stuff, handicraft stuff, mostly textiles, from Guatemala, and Oaxaca, far to the south in Mexico, not as far as Chiapas, but almost. Lu and I went there, too, San Cristobal de las Casas mostly, and all over Oaxaca, including Huautla, home of the famous shaman Maria Sabina, and the psychedelic mushroom capital of Mexico, or so I hear.

    This was after spending a full month in Guatemala itself, including the remote war zone of Nebaj, part of the ‘Ixil Triangle’, where much of the fighting in the Guatemalan civil war took place. Of course we didn’t know many details of that at the time, most of which came out later, over the next decade. We knew it was weird, though. You just gotta’ chill, not my partner Lu’s specialty. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 1:05 am on November 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      A couple of knockout pictures of you – like 30 years ago? You have a knack with words and I look forward to your posts – and am reading you book. Sorry, I need cataract surgery – so enjoy the posts on line since I can enlarge the print. Keep up the good work and take care of yourself.

  • hardie karges 1:35 am on November 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Algodones, , Calexico, , Mexicali, , Tecate,   

    4:20 from Yuma: 3 Borders, 2 Countries, 1 Day 

    Border at Algodones, Mexico

    Border at Algodones, Mexico

    8 a.m. I check out of my motel in Yuma, AZ, feeling bad. Yesterday had the pleasure of witnessing a German shepherd—under ICE commands—sniffing up a woman’s private parts for suspected infractions of unspecified rules and multifarious regulations, while itself committing gross violations of human dignity and self-determination. Yuk.

    8:30 a.m. I find Yuma’s ‘Old Town’, much nicer than I imagined, considering the border’s Nazi-like presence. The area is well-defined, with shops, a brewery (yes!) and the Golden Roadrunners Ballroom, like time travel, from the annals of my memory. I wish I’d discovered it last night—downtown, not the road-runners—but might’ve been a challenge, given the distance and lack of direction; and maybe a brew or two. I hear there’s a dispensary—meh. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 2:25 am on November 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Reading this was an education! I’m glad you are home, though.

    • hardie karges 5:13 pm on November 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Home? Now there’s a concept…

  • hardie karges 3:54 pm on November 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , San Luis,   

    Ethnic Cleansing, Arizona Style: Eyeless in Gadsden, Trial by ICE 

    IMG_0203I’m getting into the border, as an entity, like skin, an organ in itself, a living breathing self-sustaining organism, barbarous and cruel, unrelenting but forgiving—despite my two detentions. I can’t wait to unravel its mysteries, winding through four US states, two countries, several political parties, several languages, several geographic regions and dozens of micro-climates.

    The main mystery right now is whether I’m right that the Arizona border seems to be a cruel inhuman place. I’ve been to four out of six Arizona border posts, five if you count the Lukeville/Sonoita crossing that I’ve already crossed by vehicle several times within the last couple years, so that only leaves one: the San Luis crossing near Yuma. That’s where I’m going today. (More …)

    • annathrax 10:28 pm on November 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Really enjoyed this read, a great story!

      • hardie karges 10:34 pm on November 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks! Stay tuned for the happy ending…

        • annathrax 10:48 pm on November 4, 2014 Permalink

          Happy ending as in asian “happy ending”? Nothing would surprise me after this first episode! :-)

        • hardie karges 11:14 pm on November 4, 2014 Permalink

          Ha! No, nothing like that… :-)

    • Esther Fabbricante 2:01 am on November 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, my goodness! Also, a great read, though. But I don’t envy you!!

    • April M. Williams 2:19 am on November 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Love traveling vicariously through you. What an adventure. Novice nod to Arlo.

      • hardie karges 4:34 am on November 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Arlo? Arlo who? Ha! Hey, it’s Thanksgiving, good time to recall Alice’s Restaurant…

    • Esther Fabbricante 11:07 pm on November 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I couldn’t find Ario on Google, but maybe this is it:

      • hardie karges 12:16 am on November 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Arlo Guthrie, of ‘Alice’s Restaurant” fame, son of Woody, I was using some of his routine in my piece, just for fun. Listen to it for Thanksgiving. Greg will know it, for sure…

    • Esther Fabbricante 5:24 pm on November 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, that explains it. I was way off base.

  • hardie karges 4:33 pm on October 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    #Sasabe #Arivaca #Arizona #Mexico: BUSTED, down on I-19, just like Jerry, and George… 

    (continued from previous)

    Sasabe: the American Side

    Sasabe: the American Side

    Disclaimer: I like Mexicans. They’re some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I’ve eaten their food. I’ve drunk their mezcal. I’ve bought and sold their handicrafts. I’ve marched through their streets carrying pictures of their patron saints. I’ve probably seen more of their country than I’ve seen of my own, and that’s a lot. I’m not Mexican, don’t care about being Mexican, and won’t go on romantically about mi gente, but still: I like them. They’re good people, for the most part…

    So when I see Mexicans, and Mexican-Americans, being abused and mistreated along that 2000 mile border, it really pisses me off, more than my own inconveniences, which are minor. I’ve been detained twice at the border in the last week, but they have all been detained more than that, and for less reason, presumably. I, after all, am a pretty sketchy character :-). I hope to get to the bottom of it, the whys and the wherefores. I persevere… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 7:30 pm on October 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Misery peronified!!!

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:21 pm on November 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Nov. 1. Good morning. Brrrr.

    • Esther Fabbricante 1:57 am on November 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I find pleasure and entertainment in reading your book – makes for a nice Sunday when it is cold outside.

  • hardie karges 12:08 am on October 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    #Nogales #Arizona #Sonora: DETAINED, Suspected of Extensive Travel, and a Weird Accent 

    Main street Nogales Sonora, Mexico

    Main street Nogales Sonora, Mexico

    (continued from previous)

    So next day I go to the much larger border town of Nogales, which straddles the line between the USA and Mexico, literally bifurcating a city that predates it, similar to El Paso and Juarez, but without the river as a natural dividing line. This is easily the nicest and most natural of the three Arizona border towns I’ve been to in the last week.

    I’ve been here before, many times, in fact, mostly when I lived in Flagstaff, Arizona, and when I was an importer of handicrafts from Mexico, especially Oaxaca, far to the south. I’d drive six hours to the border, and then go pick up a load of goods from the Nogales train station for a tiny fraction of the cost that it would take to send by air freight to Phoenix or Tucson; then drive back the same day. But that was long ago. Now there’s a wall, a big-ass wall. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 1:34 am on October 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Your patience is commendable.

  • hardie karges 3:42 pm on October 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Agua Prieta, , , ,   

    La Frontera: Arizona/Sonora, a Wall Runs Through it 

    Great Wall of Arizona

    Great Wall of Arizona

    The border used to be a happy place, the US border with Mexico, that is. This was Geography 499 for most Americans, the Big Trip to that wild wacky “whole other country” that lay just south of a line dividing us from ourselves, for the most part. There are no shortage of ethnic ‘Mexicans’ within US borders, after all, and no shortage of ‘Caucasians’ on the other. Most people don’t realize that national borders are a relatively recent phenomenon. Ancient times—the turn of last century—had none, only spheres of influence, and taxes. History is all about ethnic mixing. The twentieth century is all about ethnic ‘cleansing’.

    But the border used to be lively and weird (it was only south of there that things got ‘normal’). Teenagers could drink at eighteen years old. Boys could shop for switchblades and Clint Eastwood ponchos. Girls could shop for cheap perfume and velvet Elvises. Women could shop for kitsch and kitchenware. Men could shop for tequila and women’s pelvises. There was something for everyone. Best of all: it was cheap. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:53 pm on October 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Most entertaining! Did you finally find something to eat? You are a hoot – and I like it.

    • Donna Catterick 4:27 pm on October 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Very observant and very well written. I look forward to the next installment!

    • Traveling Ted 7:18 pm on October 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Reminds me of the poem, “Mending Wall,” by Frost. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. Entertaining story and reflections.

  • hardie karges 2:59 pm on October 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Bisbee, Douglas AZ, , ,   

    Southeastern #Arizona: Borderlands and not-so-Badlands 

    My Digs in Bisbee: rustic chic

    My Digs in Bisbee: rustic chic

    When I think about ‘God’s Country’ I generally think of Oregon, or New Zealand, or southern Chile, or Mongolia, i.e. wide-open spaces, with water… and mountains, generally more god-like to me than beaches, beaches too easy too sexy too many excuses to take your clothes off, while mountains are not only higher, so closer to God, theoretically, but also cooler, so more heavenly by that very fact…

    Heaven, by definition, is ‘up there.’ Hell is ‘down there’ somewhere. So is Arizona, but that doesn’t mean it’s Hellish. Arizona is in fact one of the nation’s more mountainous states. But upper Arizona is not limited to Flagstaff, and southern Arizona can be as nice, if not nicer, for views and hues, at least in the southeast corner up near the Continental Divide. This area is not desert BTW, though certainly not a rainforest; but it’s green. I think ‘God’s Country’ is supposed to be green… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 10:16 pm on October 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I am not used to reading such profound and descriptive comments – not cut and dried like our local news!
      You are never boring!

  • hardie karges 12:51 am on October 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Deming, Hurley, la Mesilla, Las Cruces, Lordsburg, , ,   

    Borderlands, New Mexico: C U in El Paso, Pablo Picasso… 

    Arts district in El Paso, TX

    Arts district in El Paso, TX

    What difference does a line on a map make? In El Paso it means a lot, not only La Linea with Mexico, but even that smaller line with neighboring state New Mexico, El Paso itself something of a historical anomaly, part of a cartographical peninsula jutting into the then-frontier, with historical ties to Texas, not with whatever would come (much) later, i.e. New Mexico and Arizona.

    Fact is: El Paso lies almost due south of Albuquerque, so when the clouds and rain roll in, I roll south. The skies clear, and the temps warm up, almost on cue.

    But even though less than 300 miles from Albuquerque, and only slightly more to Tucson, AZ, this is still Texas, and I find myself slipping inadvertently into a southern accent, y’all. But it’s almost twice that far to the nearest Texas city of that size or larger, San Antonio, and even more to Dallas. It’s 852 miles to Beaumont, as the crow flies, on the other side of the state, down I-10. There’s only one problem: crows don’t fly down I-10. They take the I-20 turn-off to Dallas. Guess they don’t want to fly too close to the sun. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 4:40 am on October 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      My bedtime reading again – enjoyed to the fullest – putting it mildly. You are a master of the English language.

    • hardie karges 4:51 am on October 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      And you are a master of flattery, Esther…

  • hardie karges 1:56 am on October 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez, , El Paso, , Palomas, Tarahumara   

    La Frontera, Part I: the Line that Divides Us Can Unite Us 

    Raramuri' lady in Palomas, Chihuahua

    Raramuri’ lady in Palomas, Chihuahua

    The first time I left the US was right here, at El Paso, in 1974, crossing the bridge across the Rio Grande (okay, so not so Grande right here), and into Ciudad Juarez. It seemed like the weirdest place in the world. Now I know why—it is.

    Juarez was pretty much a sea of brothels at the time, it being 1974 and all, with the ‘Sexual Revolution’ in full swing, Denver at the time not so different, in all honesty. But that wasn’t the attraction. The attraction was the life! In the streets! I loved it, and ended up spending several days here, albeit resting my bones on the American side of the line every night (and yes, I had at least one drink thrown at me by a prostitute for ‘just looking’). The rest is history. I’ve since been to more than 150 countries. (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 2:50 am on October 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I saw you mention Terri Zebert – and we have not had an update today. Lots or prayers are going up for her.
      Be careful there – all reports are scary from that part of the world.

    • Esther Fabbricante 2:54 am on October 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I sent a reply earlier but don’t know if it went through. We are so worried about Terri Zebert.
      Be careful in that area of the world – where reports are scary – we don’t want anything to happen to you.

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