Our eyes took in the viridian water of the Sea of Cortez as we stood at the end of the nameless road. My eyes’ wanting to close from sheer exhaustion, but my heart keeps them open for the sake of beauty.
Oh Guaymas Mexico, I will forever remember your name, never able to count the ways.
Spring break for many students means different things. At many other colleges this may symbolize a week of debauchery and broken bottles. For me, when the classroom doors close, my arms open up to what the world has to offer, with nothing in my hands but seventy mile-an-hour winds while their hanging out the side of a an open car window, traveling.
This time was a little different. One of my best friends, Elise, came down from Utah to visit me and one morning we decided it was a good idea to pick a town on a map and go. No planning, just the constant surprises of a journey, and the mesmerizing ideals of pure freedom. Little did we know of the quote by Benjamin Franklin, “Those who do not prepare, are preparing to fail.”
The tip of my finger found its way south to Guaymas, Mexico on the Sea of Cortez; 300 miles over the border. We tossed our tooth-brushes in the car and headed out at 11am without a whim to the air, but a beat to our hearts.
Passing through Nogales; bam we were south of the border. In a place that everyone said we shouldn’t go, probably for good reason, but I believe that the biggest risk is not taking one, for this is where the wild things are and this is where lessons are learned. To be shaken out of habit, fully aware with every one of my senses turned on; nothing written in English, men washing our windshield at stoplights, people everywhere, the sound of cars with no exhaust, and a slight sweetness to the air; we are alive.
Outside of town, the Sonoran desert is beautiful and allowed to be itself; no gas-stations, electrical wires, and few cars, out here life is allowed to live.
We arrived in a city called Hermosillo around 6:30 and stopped in a hotel to find a bathroom and get some pesos. Nobody spoke any English which was refreshing, but Elise found a piano and toned down our culture-shock with some Beethoven; still no pesos though as all the banks were closed.
Arriving in Guaymas at 8:30pm, there are many people out walking, although the town seems a little rough on more than just the edges. We have an eighth a tank of gas, no money, and no place to sleep other than the car with Illinois license plates and “Happiness” written in soap on the windows. I suppose Benjamin Franklin was correct in his prior justification towards preparation.
We parked the car in a blockbuster parking feeling a little bit closer to home, reading each other poetry in order to let go of the fears that kept bubbling up. Then, waking up the next morning everything was beautiful; the sun greeted us with its brilliance and the mountains said hello with great humility. The locals were very beautiful people and we became instant celebrities being the only Americans around. We found a bank, bought some gas, ate some food, and decided to drive to San Diego, but in the end just drove home around the Mexicali boarder. Both of us were exhausted from the night before, and wished we would have planned a little bit more, definitely learning a very important lesson. However, we fulfilled a dream of picking a town and going without any preconceived notions, but we overwhelmingly scared ourselves by sleeping in a parking lot deep in Mexico, the one place everyone said we shouldn’t go.