Douglas, World.

I title this post “Douglas, World” because upon a discussion with my dear mother last night, it was concluded that Douglas, Arizona is not really an American city, and it is not really in Mexico. Douglas is an entity separate, in so many ways, from any other nation. Douglas is a country in itself, one in which I will be residing for the next few years.

Today will, if everything goes according to plan, be my second full day down here. In the previous day and a half.. the electricity went out for hours due to a monsoon, we strolled through a cow pasture with a jackrabbit, and I discovered a disturbing, and impending, “season” that I will elaborate on later.

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit South South South Arizona, it is quite the place. Walmart is the hub of the town, Mexico is a five minute walk from the town entrance, and 98% of the people are Hispanic or speak Spanish as their main language. (That is a personal statistic, but I think it is actually legit) That being said, people are incredibly nice and in its own unique and barren way, the landscape is beautiful. It is actually relatively green right now due to the daily Monsoons and there are mountains all around.. the sky is usually bright blue but around sunset, it turns the most incredible mix of gold and grey and purple and orange.. a person could stare at it for hours. 

The night I arrived, right after dinner, I felt a little drop on my head and by the time I looked up, it was lightly raining. And by the time I looked down again, it was solidly raining, and by the time we got back to our rooms, it was a downpour and by the time I figured out what was happening, the thunder and the lightening were so close that you could almost taste the electricity and you could feel the thunder rattle your body.

In a matter of minutes, the electricity was out and we all decided we needed to find something to do. So me and two other people decided to make a dash across campus and find some board games. It didn’t really seem like a great idea at the time, but it seemed like an even worse one when I was mid calf deep in water in the street, high stepping it like a proud goat through a pitch black campus with the potential for snakes and other death animals being washed through the current of the road-river as well. But. We made it and had a great game of UNO.  

 The following day my friend and I decided we were going to go on a trek. Actually, we decided we were going to try and find where the rodeo pens were held (aviation students are the only ones that had to be here early, so there are only about 15 students on campus right now) but it turned into a trek. After a substantial walk in oven-like temperatures, we came upon our destination. The issue was it was locked up and fenced in by barbed wire, except for a metal swing gate. We trotted on over the the gate and realized it was over a cattle guard that must have been made for cattle with exceptionally large feet because the spaces were so far apart. We both eventually made it over the gate and narrowly avoided the cow trap and were on our way. We wandered through the pens and the pastures and sat on some of the roping calves and accidentally got locked in some of the corrals upon which we decided it was time to go. As we were deciding this, I heard a strange, girlish laughing-snorting sound coming from behind us. I asked Bianca what exactly that was and her jaw dropped as she exclaimed “That is a pack of Javelinas.. we really should get out of here!” (A Javelina is a wild pig that travels in packs from 2-20.. and they have tusks and razor sharp teeth.. devil pigs.) So we picked up the pace and headed back, but we couldn’t find the cow trap gate, so we, fearing for our lives, made the snap decision to lay flat on our stomachs and wiggle underneath the century old and rusted barbed wire to the safety of what we thought was a public road. Turns out it was a private and massive cow pasture. But the choice between an enormous amount of cow patties and a mad farmer or a pack of wild murder pigs wasn’t really a hard one.. so we carried on. 

After we decided we were out of range for the pig attack, we calmed down a little bit and reduced our trot to a stroll. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a bush rustle (there actually aren’t bushes out here, there are thorny bramble things that look like shrubs but actually stab you) and out walked a jackrabbit. Now I am not a jackrabbit expert, so perhaps they do not all look like I am about to describe and we just saw a mutation of a jackrabbit.. but nonetheless.. it had the body of a rabbit.. the ears of a mule.. and the legs of a kangaroo deer. It did not hop, it walked. Like a deer. Which reminded me of the creature straight out of Pans Labyrinth. It was weird. But it wasn’t afraid of us, and we weren’t afraid of it, so we kind of walked side by side to the next barbed wire fence at which we went over and our little friend turned around.

By that time, we were close enough to see the college’s runway, and we walked barefoot straight down the middle of it until we saw an instructor in the distance. We then put on our shoes, snuck through the UAS Military area, and ran back to our rooms. Where I proceeded to exterminate 12 bugs that had found their way into my room.

I will leave you with this. In about 3 weeks there is a thing called “tarantula season” where the massive, hairy spiders swarm the streets and sidewalks because of the monsoons. Not only do they take over outdoors, they make their way into residence halls and yes, dorm room ceilings. Can you imagine anything worse than giant, hairy spiders staring down at you with all 4,0000 of their little beady eyes as you as you wake up in the morning? No. You cannot. Because there is nothing worse.

So far, so good. Thank you all for the support and love 🙂

-Maggie

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