Nov 29, 2006

Additional Notes on the Subject of La Perrada

I ask my cousin Karen about this expression, la perrada. I want to know how much it’s used by people, if it’s considered offensive. Its meaning: People – Gente – The Masses – The Herd – Common Folks – The Rabble – and more literally -- Dogs.

Despite it's being potentially offensive, i latch onto the word. The movie Amores Perros comes to mind, the opening dog-fight amidst an expanding urban existence. We get what we can take, even if its the scraps.

Guadalajara has been expanding dramatically in the last 30 years. The city where my father met my father, once the city of roses, is now over-crowded with people from the country. How many of these recent arrivals contemplated heading al norte, and how many have relatives in Los Angeles, or Idaho, or Virginia? My cousin Tako talks about the city's over-crowding as we pass through a neighborhood that's cropped up in the past 10 years. "Aqui es pura perrada." Families walk the streets, take their dinners at taco stands. Women sit outside their doors. The houses are close together, many of them joined.

I can't process this herd of people sometimes, the urban organization of people into struggling consumers. I'm
greatful to be at the heights of Tonalá.

Nov 27, 2006

!Estoy en la Chamba!

We're driving through the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico with my cousin Taquin. Men and women approach the car selling fruit, water, candy. Ricardo takes a picture of a man selling large calculators. Later, also with Taquin, we get a card with a girl on it wearing a bathing suit, a phone number. We turn our heads to a performer walking on his hands. Check it out, Cardo says. Tako was tired and grouchy. “Pues asi lo hacen aca,” he says, “para el dinero.”

The slang for "hustle," we learn soon enough, is "chamba." It's not exactly a verb, though one can say, "estoy chambiando." I prefer using it as if it were an all-enveloping mode of existence--"estoy en la chamba" (literally: i'm in work).

Making money in Mexico seems more honest, somehow.