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The Pack Family Journal is a place where we gather text and images of our lives, adventures and travels. This is a very personal site, written openly and honestly. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Gypsy Journal - Ugly Graffiti

The Mexican police were going to throw us in jail and we would rot in the La Paz jail without anyone to bail us out or bring us food. It wasn't so much myself I was worried about, it was Rachel. I'm sure I could handle going to jail, but I would never want Rachel to have to go through it. Yet there we were, just before dawn risking it anyway.
"You stand over there and yell if you see any cops," I told Rachel. About 100 yards away was what looked like some sort of administration building, for what I didn't know. However, I did know it was far away from me and had plenty of shadows to help hide Rachel's presence.

Just a week earlier, we had arrived in La Paz and Christmas was just around the corner. Throughout La Paz, homes and businesses were adorned with festive red, green and white lights; the shared colors of Mexico and the yuletide. It was a time for fiesta. Unfortunately, our first fiesta turned into a loud exchange between myself and another equally loud and equally opinionated man.
No sooner had I sat down with a cold German beer given to me by my generous host, than he generously began insulting San Felipe. "That place is dirty and ugly," he said to me, knowing very well that San Felipe was our home. So, after promptly telling him he was full of it, which he was. I childishly pointed out some of what I didn't like about La Paz, like traffic and graffiti.
I have to admit, I was a little angry at his unprovoked attack, so I barked a little louder than needed; truthfully, my only real problem was traffic. The graffiti was not any worse in La Paz than any big city anywhere. However, the problem I had was graffiti on the La Paz city sculpture of the Whale's Tale/Doves entering the city. We had watched the city workers put up the "Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano 2010" lights and completely ignore the nasty black graffiti, which, in my opinion, destroyed the holiday spirit. I couldn't imagine why or how someone could be so completely disrespectful.    

So, that night as the pissing match progressed, and we grew louder—clearly not acting our age—I decided if I didn't like the graffiti, I was going to do something about it. Of course, at this point Rachel had no idea what was going on in my head, only that this guy was raising my blood pressure, so she caressed my arm to calm me down, as she does when she thinks I'm getting to excited. With the help of other guests, we changed the subject and finished dinner. When we got home I told her of my plan and she was immediately onboard.

Now there we were . . . as the sun started to come up and we could see the cars of the highway coming towards us, I pulled out the white can of spray paint and started spraying directly over the nasty black graffiti. My heart was pounding out of my chest, I couldn't imagine what would compel the criminal to paint his name on the beautiful sculpture, especially standing out in the open as I was, only with black paint instead of white. 

"I see a cop," Rachel yelled. I thought my chest was going to explode . . . I was spraying as fast as I could . . . I had to finish.
"Maybe he won't see me," I thought as I continued to paint, "just a little more . . ." The paint can was sputtering as I turned to see not one but two cop pickups and a patty wagon. In the early morning light, I could see the bright glow of red as they hit their breaks, one after the other. As they began to slow, I continued to paint. Now all three vehicles were parallel with the Whale's Tail, so I knew they could see me clearly. The lead car released his breaks and the other two followed. 

"They must have seen we were covering the graffiti," I said to Rachel as we reached the car. 

"Either that or they're turning around," Rachel replied. 

With the sun rising brightly, we pulled out onto the highway going the opposite direction of the police and, with our hearts pounding, headed home.         

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