Sunday, June 12, 2011

X. On Foot At World's End: No Man Is/All Men Are An Island

The bus picks up and drops off along the shore road and then cuts inland. The passengers are brown and black. A pair of teenagers eat rice and beans from a to go container behind me with gusto and share relaxed conversation. We pass a convenience store called AK 24-7, and I consider getting off at the next stop to take a picture of the sign, think better of it and ride on. After a while the driver announces the next stop, Port Richmond. It sounds vaguely interesting, and I'm restless, so I get off.

I'm not sure which way to walk, so I pick a direction and go. The stores, bakeries, and barber shops appear to be Mexican. The first place to grab my attention is a botanica. In the large display window are a legion of plaster statues - Our Lady of Guadalupe, various saints, Aztec warriors, charms and cures - but featured most prominently in the center of the display are statues of Death. Seated and standing, of various sizes, they stare out of  fake gem stone eyes. The large sitting one, solid black with emerald eyes, stays with me. I want to take a photo, but I know the flash will reflect off the glass. I think about going inside to ask for an explanation and a better shot, but tourist curiosity doesn't seem like the right approach here, and I walk on.

Most of the other stores are closed. The neighborhoods here are pretty worn down. Some young men duck out of site when I cross the street. Tell-tale sneakers hang from the telephone wires.

Later I do some research on the death statues, and what I find is so much more frightening than what I had imagined. Read the article at the link below if you care to know more.,8599,1671984,00.html

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