Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Is Juarez that bad?

Wednesday, Jan 9, 2008 ...

I did not have much planned today besides writing my thesis proposal and maybe going for a run here in Juarez. I really wanted to tour "Centro de Juarez" and see what the fuzz is all about. Well, on my way there, I see this sign that says "Hoteles [something]" and then below it in small font "Sencilla/Doble $ 320 M.N." I dont speak Spanish, but I can read numbers especially those beginning with $xxx! So I decide to stop by and see what they had to offer. No one spoke English there, but with miming and a piece of paper to write on, I figured they had rooms there that went for some $30/night! The downside? No internet, no breakfast, no security and the area did not look good. So I told them I would call them as soon as I made my decision ...

On my way out, this guy at the entrance says "Whaz up!", I was like "Yo!" and pretty soon we were conversing. I was excited to be talking to someone in English. Rafael has been here since Monday for some immigration related issues and he didnt know where downtown Juarez was. Since he was staying at the hotel, he asked me if I wanted to check out his room before I made my decision, although I already had. The room was nice actually with a double bed, kitchen, refrigerator, gas stove, living room ... but I dont think I wanted to compromise my safety over $$$.

I never made it to Centro de Juarez. Here is why ... While talking to Rafael, a cop car pulls up and two more police men show up in bikes with their radios loud as hell and they seemed to mean business. They exchange a few words with Rafael and after that they head across the street from where we were standing. So, out of curiosity, I ask Rafael what all that was about. He says "Oh, they are asking why we are standing here and whether we have any business here," so I asked what did you say? He answers "I said we are staying in this hotel ...." So I was like, why do they care? Rafael says he overheard in one of the radios that someone had called them that there was a "suspect" on that street ... Yea, that sealed my decision and ended my day right there.

I havent done much since I arrived to the hotel, which is only about half a mile from where Rafael and I were standing. Most importantly, I dont think I would have emailed my friend Joe today, had I not come back ... See the post below.

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