While crossing the Tijuana / San Diego border a few years ago, my husband and I were approached by a very aggressive car to car sales man. There are very few things that I am willing to buy from the Mexican border as most of it, is genuine tourist gold. One of the things that I am willing to buy is the churros, they are so amazingly delicious. Maybe it is the mixture of the car fumes and Tijuana pollution. I can’t say for sure what it is, but when you get a piping hot churro delivered to your car window at the Mexican border it is a culinary delight!
Amongst the other things that are presented to you at the border for purchase are ceramic banks molded into well-known loveable characters. Basically a copyright nightmare. As I sat happily eating my warm churro and discussing our most recent adventure with the team that we were driving back to the U.S, I began to feel eyes on me. You know that feeling when someone is watching you, someone menacing and maybe even dangerous. With my churro in hand and wide eyes, I slowly turned to see who it was.
There standing at my passenger window were two beady eyes, disgustingly putrid looking skin and a GIANT mustache. Immediately my churro went flying, a yelp came forth, and my hands went to cover my head in an attempt to shield myself from this sight. Then laughter.
I looked up again only this time it was a happy young man smiling and laughing at me, holding a ceramic bank. Only this was not tweety bird or a knock off precious moment figurine it was Pancho. Now, we very much may be wrong about which Mexican historical figure the ceramic bank might be, as I recently saw a picture of Zapata and found a dead on resemblance. But alas he is Pancho to us.
“Fifty dollars!” the young man says.
“ I only have 15” my husband replies. For about a mile the young car to car sales man followed us on foot to the slowly approaching border. And near the end we purchased Pancho, for 15 dollars.
Pancho, has a strange effect on people. Middle aged women tend to hate him and make a point of pretending to destroy him, while younger guys like to set Pancho up in day-to-day scenarios a take a snapshot. We take Pancho on nearly every Humanitarian trip we can. He is the worst and best and sometimes has an attitude that would make the hulk cry. I guess you could say he has a hot Latin temper. Pancho even has a Facebook profile, and from time to time photos of his adventures are uploaded.
When Pancho is stateside he lives in my garage, above my washing machine. Every now and then, as I add softener to my wash, Pancho will scare me. This morning Pancho left to Mexico with a group of high school students who are building a home for a single mother with two special needs children. I just hope Pancho minds his manners and makes it back in one piece.