We are about to leave Detroit for Dallas.  I keep thinking of all the foreign cities I’ve been to and what to expect or anticipate of Mexico City.  I thought earlier how that each city you travel to is like looking into your soul, a place where you come to terms with who you are.  Coming from suburban, somewhat rural Indiana, for me, cities, especially large foreign cities, have always captivated and intrigued me.    There is something intangible about their intensity and promise of opportunity.  Cities hold secrets and tell stories and in your visit, you become part of the narrative, or network of narratives that are linked yet hard to separate and draw out from each other.   The city is a place of deep reflection and exploration.  Not like the wooded countryside, whose episodes are somehow familiar, the city offers the unfamiliar.

We arrive in Houston rerouted from Dallas, only then to “gas and go” and we are up again, speeding through a world of white, with no sense of up or down, only feeling the rocking of the plane, buffeted by the storm the size of an entire country.  We anticipate that our stay in Dallas may be at least another day, as there is only one runway cleared.  Likewise, we are the only plane flying, like a lone fish in a tumultuous sea.  We look out onto ripples that flow across the asphalt landscape.  No one is leaving this place soon.  The white streaks on the ice look like the splashes of a thousand Molotov cocktails, their color stringing out like gasoline, only here, they are white not black.

Fortunately, we leave Houston, heading towards Mexico City.  The sky is dark with a fiery red sky peaking over the horizon, hurtling orangish light onto the blackened night, which is enlivened by thousands of twinkling lights of Dallas.

My thoughts keep turning back to Egypt and its challenge to the established autocracy.  Being in Cairo only nine months ago brings a certain vividness to the protests on screen.  Traveling down the Nile looking at the hazy palm trees, walking by the pyramids ushered by a man in an orange blazer with black uzi, a dining room lit only by candle light, or the aquamarine color of the all too neglected beach of Alexandria.  All so vivid, all so real in my mind.  I can almost hear the people chanting their demands.

I stare out the window again, seeing Corpus Christi, our last Texas city, as a network, its strings of highways glowing strong against the twinkling backdrop.  It is like bright, hot lava against the black earth, pooling and then slowly flowing out the path of least resistance, its energy slowly dissipating, but its path begun.  Hours later, my head bobs awake, and out the right side window, I see the Mexico City sprawling out along the black landscape. Unlike the American cities, whose lights visually connect all parts of inhabitation, Mexico City’s disjointed patterns flow up and down in completely separated pockets of light, the black landscape separating them, like islands amidst a sea of black.  The landscape continues immensely, flowing up and down the landscape, and then we dip to the left, my view of the city fading below the window, and then out the left window, I look.  The city continues and that which had previously overwhelmed was only half of the whole Mexican totality,  the megalopolis never ending.

 

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