Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Subject: Today

Subject: Today (8/14/2013)

Today Joelle woke me up at 6:45am to let me know that 'if we want to go into town today we have to go early because I just scheduled a personal for 1pm' and 'I'll meet you at the coffee shop in half an hour'. I certainly did want to go into town.  Not only because I was tired of using my dirty t-shirts as a pillow and drinking from the same styrofoam cup for the last 3 days, but because I was suffering from the most sobering case of internet withdrawal I'd ever known and by this point might have sworn away my first born for 10 minutes on Reddit.

An hour and a half later Joelle picked me up from the campus coffee shop; Her tardiness dutifully countered by a Tupperware bowl of scrambled eggs.

Our first stop was the immigration office in Tecate. Seeing as how I'd been in the country four days already, obtaining an actual visa seems to be something of a formality here. Joelle informs me that she put off getting her own for nearly 4 months. I made a mental note of this on the off-chance I find myself needing somewhere to flee, but given my general propensity to push limits I decided I'd feel safer having at least this detail settled sooner than later.

The immigration officer didn't like my story initially and was reluctant to issue me his stamp of approval. But after taking my over-stuffed passport, decorated with colorful stickers from Asia and Africa, he made a comment about me not having a home that bloated my ego with an embarrassing amount of satisfaction.

There's nothing quite like opening your browser and watching your home screen pop up, error free. That rush of adrenaline as you prepare yourself to engage a global network of live data algorithmically filtered to peak your exacting interests; whether it be atrocities in the middle east, relationships from back home, an aggregated index of your financial portfolio, or fatally adorable photos of kittens, it's like that moment you meet your soul-mate for the first time, except they are a different person each time. Joelle nearly had to drag me out of Cafe de la Puenta so we could finish the rest of the days errands. She had already given me over an hour longer than our initially planned depot because her 1pm ended up cancelling and had loosened up her schedule, which became all the more fortunate when we walked back to where the car had been parked and found a vacant space.

Joelle has been the victim of several unfortunate and statistically unlikely car-related events and was instantly convinced that her vehicle had been stolen. I'm not sure if it was because I'd just recently had a very similar experience with my motorcycle; or because I was baffled by the audacity and prowess of a thief who would at mid-day, in the very center of town, on a street manned with 3 security guards, a traffic cop and innumerable witnesses, somehow steal the only Subaru in the entire country; or because of the obnoxiously bright side-walk sign in front of the space that blared "Prohibido Aparcar"; but I had a hunch the car had been towed.

Rancho sent out a charismatic local kid named Fernando to guide us through the process of recovering a missing vehicle. While we were waiting I popped into a nearby Telcel shop, still high from my recent information binge, and talked a confused attendant with only the most basic English into selling me an internet dongle and prepaid plan with enough data to last me at least through the night.

Fernando tracked down Joelle's car and talked the Police down on the fee (volunteering at an orphanage has its perks I guess) but the whole ordeal left us without enough time or energy to follow through on the rest of our errands thus we returned empty handed. 

Well, Joelle did. As soon we got back I locked myself in my empty dorm, google-translated the Telcel website, whipped out my credit card, and proceeded to ensure that I would never go another minute unnecessarily without internet.