After thanksgiving (hopefully I will write about it some time later :) ), my head and stomach are both super heavy.
While cheering for my white blood cells, antibodies, and all that (mysteriously missing all my immunology classes in college
surely was a big mistake) to beat whatever that is attacking my head and stomach, I decided now should be time for
more blogging, not experiments.
On Tuesday, we went to Tijuana, Mexico. I always prefer seeing real life over artificial sceneries. So, despite all the
bad things I heard about Tijuana, I still decided to go with a bunch of Michigan grad students. I felt that was probably my
only chance in this life to visit Tijuana. Besides, how bad could that be? The worst would be to be kept in Mexico for a few
more hours, or days, or to be robbed. "Hey, is Tijuana really that dangerous?" I asked my lab mate while waiting for the trolley
to Mexico. You know the floating feeling and adrenaline rush when being at the top of a roller coaster, right? You have been
ready for the whole time, but when the moment really comes, you feel like a tiny little ant being on top of a boiling pot, anxious
and wanting to call it a stop. "That's why XXX (one guy in our lab) is not going." my lab mate answered. " I thought it was
because his wife did not want him to go." I asked. "Yes, and to explain to YYY (my boss) that the whole lab is murdered in Mexico."
Knowing that was my lab mate's bad joke, I made a face, and felt his answer gripped my stomach. There was no way I would withdraw
anyway. The pretty blond in suit and high heals was going, why couldn't I? So, there I went, jumped on trolley, headed south to
the mysterious city where the documentary I watched about serial women killing happened.
As the train got closer and closer to Mexico, there were more and more Latinos on the train. The houses outside started
to get older and older. Some of them looked barely inhabited. A lot of the land was so dry, barren, and covered only by sand.
I watched the old on the train in worn out clothes, obese woman with young kids eating chips with dirty hands, and lots of
high school teens laughing and talking in Spanish. I felt strangely isolated and remote, just like a detective examining every
thing with magnificent lens. But every thing and every body were "objects" in a detective's eyes. They are for observation without
What was Tijuana like? I would say it was the Spanish version of Wan-Hua. There were lots of little shops along the two
sides of the roads, not in the homey hearty American way, but in the disorganized messy smelly night market way. Neons flashing,
store owners sitting on little chairs looking out from the stores, streets filling with the smell of street snacks mixed and car
gases, Tijuana was probably like Taiwan in the 50s or 60s. The fear of the environment, which I had not experienced for a long
time, started to arise in my body as the night came. The city was more awake, lively, and indescribably elusive to me than ever.
For the first time in a long time, I was afraid to be left one step behind of the group. I wouldn't say it was because of any
danger or risk, but more like the unpredictable street scenes and the unsettled atmosphere from an exotic culture. I was truely
happy there are a few big guys in our group. Hiding among them, I greedily absorb every item, every sound, and every smell
in Tijuana. What would it be like if I were a resident there? What would it be like if I were asked to stick around tourists to
ask for changes as little kids? I imagined the feeling of receiving quarters from Americans' hands. Were they Happy? Were they
worried? Why did I have the luck to be born in a financially stable family? What could be done to help people who struggled
so much to live? Maybe the way we thought we could help was just to impose our values on them? What if what they needed was not
what we thought to be good? Life was just so unfair. And it was just so difficult to find a balanced way to help. I mean,
to understand the fact, but not to be tricked by perception; to show support, but not to be over objective. It was time like this
that made me feel my life was so ridiculous sometimes.
Tijuana, Taipei, San Diego, Ann Arbor, and a puzzled Jao. That was the end of my mexico trip.