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Full Circle

Day 226: Tijuana, Baja California

Tijuana, Mexico 
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Waiting to cross the Tortilla Curtain, Tijuana.
Michael Palin - Full CircleWe've been brought here by Arturo, a middle-aged Mexican, stocky, bearded, with the looks of an overweight matinée idol. He has himself been across twice, once swimming the Rio Grande River on the Texas border and once on foot. The second time he stayed almost six months. He's the only person I've ever met who hates the smell of new-mown grass. 'It remind me of when I work in New York, cutting grass.' He shakes his head with feeling. 'It is a terrible smell. It reminds me of how terrible the world can be.'

Arturo is bitter about what he sees as American hypocrisy. They pass laws vilifying illegal immigrants whilst continuing to reap the benefits of their cheap labour.

'Michael, California produce one third of all American agricultural product. The labour force they use is ninety per cent Mexican, sixty-six per cent of them undocumented.'

He looks around at the motley, shabby group, some crouched down, peering through a hole in the fence, like children with noses pressed against a window. He shrugs. 'That's why they still go.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 226
  • Country/sea: Mexico
  • Place: Tijuana
  • Book page no: 292

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