01 August 2008

Cause you Y2Can-can-can

While I have been back in Dublin for less than a week, it is time to dust off my Tilley Hat and venture off once more into the heart of darkness. In my quest to understand popular youth culture and after a deeply unsatisfying "I Like Trains" gig earlier in the year, I am off to discover just why I hate EMO without actually knowing anything about it, and I can think of no better place to start than Mexico City, location of the Great Emo Pogrom of 2008 (check out Wired's post with a picture of some seriously grumpy looking kids). Ah, poor kids, it must be difficult to wear so much hair gel in 30C+ summers.

Mexico is, of course, one of the seats of the lost (or certainly misplaced) Maya civilisation, and as any good conspiracy theorist knows the Maya had one of the most accurate calendars of any ancient culture, a calendar which ominously ends on 21st December 2012. This may signify the end of the world, or a transition from this phase of creation into the next. An inscription to this effect is found in the ruins at Palenque, in the Mexican state of Chiapas, the second stop on our MesoAmeric tour.

Chiapas is of course also the home base of Subcomandante Marcos and his merry band of Zapatistas, darlings of the alter-globalisation movement for their grass-roots uprising and occasional publishing of children's stories. In 2006 the Zapatistas launched their "Other Campaign", a nationwide tour by Subcomandante Marcos rallying against the neo-liberal agenda, from the Chiapas town of San Cristobal de las Casas, and we hope to stay there for a couple of days before heading overland to Belize so the Very Understanding Girlfriend can enjoy some snorkelling.

It is, however, rainy season (if not hurricane season) and I am exhibiting some not-inconsiderable scepticism over the notion of sitting on a sand-bar in 30C+ waiting for the perfect storm to sweep me off in the general direction of Venezuela, or Texas. At least I will not be wearing hair gel. From Belize we travel up to San Francisco with the general intention of going to Burning Man with some old friends.

All in all we will be on the road for over five weeks, and I can honestly say I have never been prepared less for a trip. Given the ridiculously short transfer time we have for a number of our flights (there being no direct flight from Dublin to Mexico), we are only taking carry-on bags, and the pain of trying to squeeze 5 weeks worth of necessities into a 32 Litre bag is forcing me to make some very tough decisions, particularly in the socks vs electronics debate (socks win, almost every time, for although you can easily buy them anywhere the hassle of actually going out and doing so, coupled with the weight factor, unlikelihood of irrecoverably crashing on the first day of your trip and becoming so much expensive dead weight, and lack of attraction for most thieves (if a thief targets you for your socks, you are really in the wrong neighbourhood; make peace with your creator quickly and try not to embarrass your country), all combine to give them the edge over most consumer items).

Our house is being looked after by two friends while we are away, and I am struck with an incredible guilt that we are leaving the place in a bit of a shamble for them. It's tidy and clean, but there are places where it definitely errs on the side of hurricane season (equal parts emergency evacuation and federal disaster area), but that's mainly in the office and they probably won't use that.

Its also weird to think that someone will be using our house for five weeks, that's long enough to develop their own grooves in the couch and rearrange all the kitchen stuff to suit their own cooking styles. My 'friends' have a lovely habit of rearranging things when I'm not looking - swapping the labels on all the spice jars, swapping dust covers on books, rearranging the pictures on the wall, moving all my furniture two inches to the right, etc, etc, all to see if I notice.

Which I don't, I'm just normally left with an uneasy feeling that something is very, very wrong.

Given the fact that my mind is still back in the Year 2000 with the tej and injera in Addis Ababa, and I have a vaguely fatalist feeling about the possibly eschatological encounters with Zapatistas, millenarian prophesies, crystal skulls, grumpy kids, tropical storms and malaria, I am dubbing this mesoamerican adventure the 'Y-Toucan Tour' (or Y2Can for short). Internet access should be widespread, and I have made room for my EEE-PC (at the expense of an additional t-shirt, perhaps short-sightedly), so I hope to blog along the way.

Hasta luego!

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