Monday, August 30, 2010

Mira, Miguel Jordan!

Michael Jordan and Spike Lee, sorry folks Mike is much taller than me with bigger ears.

I will never forget seeing the shanty town built up around the international airport in Guadalajara as my plane came in for a landing. I’ve seen similar slums around airports in other parts of Latin America thereafter. But this being my first time I wondered if I had picked the wrong place to study Spanish (see yesterday's post in the blog archive). Next I negotiated my way through the baggage pickup, customs, and the taxi stand with my rudimentary Spanish and fear and insecurity crawling all over me. I managed using sign language and the address written on a card to explain where I was trying to go to the driver and we were off. I realized that I did not study enough Spanish before arriving in the middle of this now very real Spanish speaking city. I addition I noticed in the airport that locals thought I was “Miguel Jordan” and they thus starred at me incisively. This mistaken identity and starring went on for three months accompanied by the customary “Mira, Miguel Jordan [Look Michael Jordan]!” This was in the middle of the June 1992 NBA playoffs when Bulls were the team to beat and Michael Jordan was at the peak of his international celebrity status. As my taxi pulled out of the airport we headed through what seemed like some rough sections of the city—rough even by South Bronx and South East DC standards. Again, I thought, this looks like the wrong place to study Spanish. More tomorrow.

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