Where does it start and end? A landscape of blurred lines spanning between sprawling density and sparseness so vast that the echo of an echo has no answer. Hard to compute. Hard to comprehend. Hard to absorb. This intensity, that ebbs and flows like a viper preparing to strike. I had to take a rest. Frequently. To lie down in the midst of nowhere and absorb the eerie oddness and the often familiar. This is Mexico. A land of so much and so little. Of such colour and vibrancy and intensity and yet such quietness and solitude and loneliness. This is what I sought to find. Not the hustle or density but to tap into the quietness of the soul that beats within.
We, James and I got into the car in Mexico City and decided to head north. I have no idea why nor did I particularly care. I was keen to get out of Mexico City. Loose the lights, the noise, the chaos, the bumping, the subway, the everything that cities are and get out into the nowhere. I love the nowhere. I don’t know why but I always have. Cities make me feel strange sometimes. I feel like I’ve seen them all a thousand times and they just repeat themselves over and over and over and I’m sick of listening to them. Sure I care about your architecture and your cafes and your history and your people and your flavour and your obscurities and your night walks and your insecurities and your attractions and your crushed iced drinks and super nice must have food but I’m just not always never in the mood. I pretend I am. I pretend to care but mostly I don’t and I just want to get the hell out of there and go and see something different and somewhere strange and somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Like now. This is what I wanted to do right now. So we did. We left. And this is now. And this is us leaving. Thank. God. You know that feeling when you’ve just gotta go. You get all tight in your chest and everything seems to close in on you and the air seems thin like you’re at Everest base camp and your heads rushing and thinking and dreaming and making no sense.
So. We. Drove.
And Drove. And then we got somewhere. I don’t know where somewhere was but it was somewhere else and that was a good thing. A necessary thing. And we drank a beer and sat and looked. And breathed. I breathed anyway. Deeply, longly and started to look and see the place for what it was. Or at least just this little place. In all its colours and wish-washes and washed-outness and cactus and dry landscapes and dust and flies and shitty roads and roadside tortillas and cliched refried beans. It was all there and I wasn’t that surprised or amazed or blown away. It was just there. And I took photos of it. Of the man selling ice creams with a cowboy hat on, of the lady who worked in the hairdressing salon who seemed to scowl at me which I kind of liked because I quite like when people don’t want me to take their photo but they let me anyway. It has a strange energy that I like. Just take your stupid photo and get the heck out of here. Its good. Its honest. It’s something. Some people give nothing. I’d rather something than nothing. So we stayed for a while and then we kept going. We drove a car that was gold. It was subtle but obnoxious at the same time. We listened to way too much Caribou which seemed appropriate and inappropriate at the same time. It was fast paced and energetic and put us in a trance for a few hours which was weird. A good weird though. Like chilli chocolate. We arrived at the next little place. It was pretty old and had some sort of castle and had great streets for walking and old restaurants that made great tacos al pastor with chicken and pineapple that I got pretty addicted too. They are like the equivalent of a Greek gyros. I couldn’t stop eating them. But I did. We rented some small horses in this town and went for a ride. I’m not much of a horse rider but it was enjoyable. James named my horse Trinket. I liked the name. He was a good horse. I liked him. After this we kept going. I photographed more landscapes that were dreary and vacant but had a strong sense of longing. The roadside crosses and crucifixes and deities I liked also. The Mexicans are a religious bunch. I like this about them. They have a strong sense of faith that for the most part is unflappable. Then we found this school. No one was at the school so we jumped the fence and tried to get into the classrooms because they looked authentic and the light was nice. But we didn’t. So I took some photos of the basketball courts and they looked ok. But not as good as the classrooms would have. We left. We stopped more and I took more photos of men standing in the middle of nowhere playing the viola and telling us stories, of a shepherd with a fake arm, of a red canary in a cage with dried snake skins around it, of identical twins who worked at a hotel called Las Palmas who wore matching blue jackets and had matching moustaches and who were just generally excellent. For the most part it felt like I was an extra on the set of Twin Peaks. But travel is like that if you let yourself go and let chance take you for a ride. It frees you up for endless possibilities and chance occurances. In the end, and only after we photographed more people and places and supermarket workers in identical outfits and car boots full of canteloupe, and small hotel rooms that had cat blankets, we left and drove back to Mexico City. Well I did the driving. It poured with rain and thunder and lightning and I had no idea where I was going the whole time and it was busy and it was night-time and it was stressful and we argued and shouted and it was unrelaxing and it was back into city-life. It was fast paced and I kept feeling the walls coming in and my chest tightening and everything and all the relaxing space and fresh air was gone. And we were back. But that’s just it. You adjust. You have too. Because life’s not a photo shoot. It’s not a travel story. It’s not this story. It’s all just bits and pieces of everything. You pick these bits and pieces up and some you put down. And you just get on with it. But sometimes it’s good to get lost.