Photo I shot many years ago at Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
It is a face I still remember. Just as we are prone to photograph a vivid sunset for our eyes sake into posterity, so I felt with this beautiful girl.
I never knew who she was. It must have been 2006. I was shooting photos at the border city’s downtown. There was some kind of event which for some reason organizers called it a callejoneada. Then I saw her up in the air. Well, she wasn’t literally floating or anything. She was an edecan of sorts for some beer. An edecan is a girl that promotes products, yes, usually on the ground. But for some reason she was up there, I can’t even remember on what.
Whatever she was doing up there she was teasing us with her girly smile and zesty eyes. I wanted to get up close but I also remember why I couldn’t. Believe me when I say I don’t suffer from memory loss (at least not yet). But he encounter had me confused with loss of time, just like abductees describe their horrid experiences with aliens. Except there was nothing nightmarish about this, but quite the contrary.
If you are out there, I would love to know at least who you are. If you know her, please let her know about this mini-quest of mine to find her. She may still be living in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Whatever the case, please let her know I took this picture. At least that.
Photo I shot at Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas / Laredo, Texas.
This is International Bridge #2 at the US-Mexico border. Below streams the Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo as it is known to Mexicans).
Nuevo Laredo and Laredo have several international bridges. Nuevo Laredo has three and Laredo has four — the disparity is because Laredo also borders another state. One of those bridges is used exclusively for trade, where epic cues of transfer trailers cross several times a day in both directions. There’s also a railroad bridge which nobody counts but is there nonetheless.
These bridge, officially known as Juarez-Lincoln bridge (in honor of both presidents that live the same time and also faced divided nations) it is used for cars only. Pedestrians use Bridge #1, the oldest of them all. But in bridge #2, where I shot this photograph, people tend to go and sell whatever they can from pirate DVDs, pillows, figures of saints and like in this cases lollipops. They sell them in the Mexican side of the bridge, which gives them safety from the occasional American officer checking things out.
The US-Mexico border has many realities, and this is just one of them. Unlike what politicians in Washington or Mexico City think every border city or region has its own goodness and difficulties. In this case the Laredos (or Los Dos Laredos as they are also known in Spanish) are a commerce powerhouse. It is considered the fifth most important trade spot in the whole world, and the first in the whole of Latin America. And Laredoans don’t take it lightly (and Nuevo Laredo people too), they have pride on the fact that commerce between North America and Latin America takes place here. This has attracted one of the brightest people but also one of the worst kind at the same time. For obvious reasons in the Drug War, if Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are pivotal in international trade so it will be in illegal activities and smuggling.
Photo I shot as part of documenting trades of Nuevo Laredo.
In the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border there’s a niche for young girls as dancers at gas stations or convenience stores. Usually known as edecanes, these girls usually work during weekends. Just before the sun sets one can see them getting ready with their huge speakers and strident music.
Many dancers represent a certain brand, beverage, or beer, although generally they are present to pull customers to that particular convenience store. Does it work? Who knows, because people have to go to convenience stores anyway — don’t they?
This culture of girls dancing in the streets with few clothes — literally — does not exist in Central Mexico or Mexico City. Habits and way of seeing things do change from region to region here in Mexico (just like the American South is so different from say, the West Coast).
Mexican girl dancing at gas station. Copyright 2013. Miguel Omaña.