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Paul Theroux's Mexico Journey
"More than fifty years of writing about his epic journeys in Travel Books and novels. Paul through has recently finished a series of road trips on the back roads of Mexico. He wanted to see for himself who lives there how they live and what's really behind the headlines about a migration crisis from south of the US border and by the way you'll have to pardon my weak voice at the time we recorded our interview. It's better now. Paul theroux welcome Doc Ricketts a pleasure to be with you. You know this is such an exciting adventure you went on and right at the beginning of the book you write the Mexican border in the edge of the known world only shadows and danger beyond it and working figures. Hungry criminal predatory fanged fanatical enemies an ungovernable rabble eager to pounce on the unwary traveller so you decided to travel. Tell us where you went on this trip. And why by the rest of that senators and a Tutti fruity of grizzled gringos accident. So why why. Because I noticed that people were stereotyping Korea Typing Mexicans Mexicans who come across the border why they come that illegal looking for welfare making trouble and I thought one of the reasons as we traveled your a great traveller. Rick is to destroy the stereotype to find out what people are really like. What's this story and we find the come from? All sorts of places is in Mexico they might be billion as they might be millionaires. That might have no money at all. Some people in Mexico have less than the average person in Kenya or Bangladesh Rush. So it's not a simple situation but to see it at its best or to see it most clearly. I thought I WANNA go alone. I want to go on my own car. I WANNA the drive up and down. The border. The border that everybody talks about but no one knows that firsthand as written about much and I want to see it drive along the aboard and then drive deep into Mexico and I thought I bought a car for this purpose secondhand car. That wasn't very notable and off. I went not very noticeable but it had Massachusetts license plates on it. That was a little unfortunate. The police said you know they. They looked at my plates. And then they pull you off the road and they say Whether or Saturday do you know what I can do to you and you say what exactly do you want. And then they say pay me some more Didi. Is that the open. This happens but people say how awful and I think. Yeah how awful but on the plane of snakes is travel book and travelers travel writers. Rav Paul Writers have the last word so I have the last word and that's a side of Mexico. The police are excited. Mexico that exists and as travelers were not looking in for la La land in Orlando. We're looking for the reality. Go south of the border. We're looking to see things as they are the good the bad the ugly the the fun that whatever it is the sunshine the rain you know I was the Peace Corps joined the Peace Corps nineteen sixty three and I went to Central Africa. I didn't know what I was GonNa find was into the wild blue yonder and what I found was not at all what I was expecting. Not at all our guest right now and travel with. Rick Steves is author Paul. He just published an account of his road. Trips from the back roads of Mexico his new book introduces us to the people he met and explains what he learned about life in Mexico far from the comforts of resorts in the safety. Excuse tollways the books called on the plane of snakes. Your book is about the wall and I'm fascinated by walls in my travels. The Berlin Wall the walls between the Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods in Belfast. The wall of between Palestine and Israel and in this wall I remember when I was in the Holy Land on one side. The Wall looked a certain way. And then the other from the other side that looked a lot different tell us about the actual wall standing there especially on the Mexican side looking at it. What's it like where the wall is a big piece of iron mongering That looks like it looks like a prison wall. I mean it looks ah fence it has slats in it. The first one that I saw was in Nogales may be eight years ago or possibly more and it wasn't a wall that you could see through. It was sexually big iron plates steel plates. I guess and there were there. Were Rusty thirty feet high. You couldn't see through. It looked like it didn't look like offense at all actually looked like a wall That's now slats. What is it looked like it? It looks like something that is surmountable. Looks like you could climb over and people do it. Looks like could tunnel under it and people do it also looks very beautiful. It looks like a piece of sculpture by the artist Christo it looks like Krista went to the border and said I'm going to show the world. What a border looks like in metal and so the the fence to steal border fence goes up and down through hill and Dale undulating up? As far as the I can see and you think how amazing but how primitive too because house obviously keep any vote. No when I go as a traveler to these walls the odd thing is I can pass them easily. I can go from Israel to Palestine I in the cold where I could go between East and West. You were south of the wall and you wrote about the women in the diners there that kind of saw you you as a maybe a ticket to the north. It must have been interesting for you to be in these hardscrabble. Little spots in the wall was so close and you could just waltz right back and forth. They couldn't not only that it's only yeah waltzing bank in Nogales Arizona. You visit door in the wall. The first time I saw it there was a turnstile where you're in a street in Arizona. You know with parked in the sunshine. POKKA walk down the end of the street. Go through the door in your in Mexico is your show you I mean I showed by. Id and just by walking through a door. That for travel is such an amazing experience to me. It was an experience of the kind that I'd I'd never had before I've cross borders. You've been through many borders but most borders that are memorable you walk across Kenya Ethiopia China China and Russia Kazakhstan Benetton wherever you know Canada and say but Mexico is it's the wall and also there's another language behind the wall is cuisine beyond the wall and the women that you mentioned some of whom want to go over the wall around it to work in a motel or a hotel in the states Have left children behind husband's behind and the going what I found. Is that coming to make a living