US Apartheid (version: Mexico)

Last week I had to take a day trip to the US/Mexico border (well, let's face it... the US Border) to get some shots for a couple of paintings. From my home, I can leave at 10:30am, drive for 30 minutes, cross the border by foot, take photos, and return home by 2:30.

I don't have a lot of time to dive into the subtly huge differences between our perception of "normal" and what is "natural". I will say that having spent my whole life next to the border, i thought it quite normal. In fact, it took 28 years and a trip to South Africa to realize that we (the US) have a long road ahead of us. Anyway, here are some quick shots from the wee pentax (sorry for the blow outs on some, still playing with different options... and i was going as fast as i could on this trip).

It has come to my attention as of late that many in the US have no idea about the border. How it works, or what it looks like. In fact, many think it is just like the border into Canada. Not the case... keep in mind, that while some very small things have changed since 9-11, the border has looked like this for a very long time.

Getting closer to the border on the freeway in San Diego, a fence appears in the middle to deter people from crossing the highway. All fences get higher and a bit more sophisticated in the two mile zone on both sides of the wall.

It is a revolving door when going it by foot into Mexico.

Just don't go all the way around or you will be grated queso. Here is what the gate into Mexico sounds like as it spins. (volume check first)

once even 10 ft across, the entire landscape changes. Smells, sounds, people, buildings... it never ceases to blow my mind how abruptly the reality shifts. (i didn't include a lot of the "reality" shots here... that's another post when i have more time.)

i had to include this wall because it is stunning... obviously.

So, as i was saying... remember when Bush managed to distract the entire nation with his "Let's build a wall!" idea (the same one we are now testing in Iraq)? Well, all of us in San Diego were raising our hands and saying, "um... we already have a wall... and for your purposes, it doesn't work." Ya, it's always been there. Ya, before 9-11 even. See it?

In fact, not just one wall, but layers of walls. Outer walls, the beautifully painted ones...

from which people live just across the street...

to the inner walls, that are guarded more closely (this is one neighbor from whom you won't be getting your ball back)

and this is the border by wheels. When you come back, you wait. For a long long time.

i get to open a door into this wall that blocks half the horizon and walk freely in and out,

i walk past these people who wait. The difference now (post 9-11) is that even by foot for an American there is a wait. The ID check actually exists now. It used to be when i was 18 and we would go down there, you could stumble by without stopping (if you were white) and blurt out "UShhh" in a drunken stupor. And next year will be the first time a US Passport is required (2008... seven years after 9-11... see, if it was me, i would have said Passports theeeeen go bomb crap out of unrelated countries. Just sayin...)

It is a long, long wall.

And yes, it goes all the way into the ocean.


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