Monday, February 11, 2008

High Sierra

Jeff VanderMeer has a great contest about the relation of a 'New-Weird' moment that's happened in your life. While, I don't know how 'new' or 'weird' my story is, I can say that it was more than a bit surreal. My entry is below.

An American, an Australian, and a Mexican climb into the cab of a pick-up truck for the long drive into the high Sierra Madre.

I always thought that sounded like the beginning of a bad joke, but it was more than just a bit surreal feeling on a cool February morning in Chihuahua. The drive itself was just over 12-hours long, with the first 4 or 5 on paved roads and the remaining on dirt roads winding through the mountains. Surprised to see snow drifts under pine trees, ice-covered puddles in the road, and a paper town, I kept couldn’t help but think of a John Wayne movie that I’ve never actually seen. After the jarring, ass-numbing ride in a single-bench, standard transmission truck with cranky, jet-lagged Aussie and a young Mexican who didn’t speak a word or English, I arrived to the remote camp just in time to start a 12-hour night shift with a drill-crew of French Canadians who only spoke French and Spanish – it was a long night of wishing I’d remembered to pack my thermos for coffee.
The bad joke never really had a punch-line…but I’ll leave you with another set-up. A Mexican Archaeologist and an American Geologist sit in the bar car of Mexico’s Copper Railroad after a tough 10-day tour. The language barrier was eased with alcohol as I related the time I was mistaken for a terrorist at Hoover Dam.

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