Shhhhh! Try to read without moving your lips. Rumour has it that although Tontowilliams (can I just call him TW from now on?) has left for his holidays, he might have left traps around the place. I know he got very upset when he woke up to discover his butt had been tampered with (I've always wanted to write that line "his butt had been tampered with", I wonder how many times I can get to write it today?) and I'm a bit worried that when he discovers that his blog has been tampered with he might get all cross again. I love TW (or Alan as I will now call him) in that whole way that a man can love a man (without tampering with his butt), however I have a sort of set image of Alan in my mind. He always seems to be a very patient, understanding bloke. Never seems to get too over excited. So when he swears (and I know this is a bit childish) it comes as a bit of a shock. And boy, did he swear when his butt was tampered with (yes, I know, his water butt was stolen, but it sounds funnier when I don't type water and do type tampered). So, I'm a bit worried that if I say something wrong, do something wrong, in his blog, then he'll get all medieval on my bottom.
Oh, hang on, here I go, talking about Al (nope, don't think that works does it? I can't call him Al because that makes me Betty) getting medieval on my bottom and you don't know who I am. Sorry. How rude of me. Hello. I'm Will. Although I tend to go by will because I'm down-wiv-da-kids and don't use capitals. But I find that it gets confusing sometimes when I say will without using a capital W and I'd hate to start italicising my name, that would just be weird. Anyhoo, I'm Will and I live in Mexico - Tijuana to be more exact. Last week I was lying in bed (it was 9am Saturday morning) checking the footy scores on my laptop. Although I live in Mexico I'm not Mexican (well, not for a another year). I was born and brought up in England. This means that I have a totally irrational devotion to Sheffield United. Therefore every Saturday morning I have to get myself to a computer to check on how the mighty Blades have done. Except there was no match last Saturday. However, there was the other delight of Saturday morning, am allotment post from Alan. Even betterer, it was a video post. We (that would be maria and I) love Alan's video posts and have a Saturday morning ritual of loading them up, checking out Neil's caturday picture, then settling down to watch the video. Except there was no sound. Somehow Alan and I ended up in a chat on gmail, he explained he was going on holiday, asked me to guest blog on here.
So, guest blogging. What the heck am I supposed to do? Do I just copy out posts from my blog and stick them up here? Except that wouldn't be a good idea.I mean, if you read my blog you read it for your own (sick and twisted) reasons, reasons that would be totally different to why you read Alan's blog because, let's face it, we tend to write about different things. I'm fairly sure that people who read Alan's blog don't read it to hear about the gun battles in the streets of Tijuana, the problems of crossing the border, the annoying people I work with. You might be interested in tacos, what a real Mexican taco is like, because Alan sometimes posts about food. Or I could write about books because I know Alan likes his books, but I've hit a personal reading block at the moment (it's an age thing). But I think I'd probably write about gardens and gardening because, if there is one thing I can be pretty sure about, the readers of Alan's blogs like stories of gardening.
Except I haven't seen many gardens in Tijuana.
Not gardens as English people know them. The smallest, awful-est, rattiest, unkempt garden in England is still better and bigger than most gardens in Tijuana. If you have any space in front of your house (that would be space between the house and the pavement) then you park the car there, behind the eight foot wall (topped with razor wire) that surrounds your property. You see, you don't keep your car on the street if you can help it, and you don't have a garage because it only rains six days a year. So, you squeeze the car into the space between your house and the wall. If you have space at the back of your house this is normally taken up with the washing machine and the dryer (it only rains six days a year), the water heater (you don't really want that inside the house because of the heat it generates - anyhoo, it makes more sense to be out in the open air where it gets heated by the sun), and the grill (for cooking on because there is nothing better than a Carne Asada and who wants to cook in the house in this heat?). So, in my experience, there aren't a lot of gardens in Tijuana BUT there are a lot of gardeners in Tijuana.
Yes, I'll give you time to re-read that again - no gardens, lots of gardeners.
It is amazing how beautiful Tijuana is, and it is beautiful because "the devil is in the details". Although there appears to be little greenery on private property, there is a lot of greenery on public property. The side of the roads are covered in green, the middle of the roads are covered in green, the roundabouts are covered in green, and there are parks all over the place. All of these green areas are carefully manicured and lovingly cared for. And not just once every six weeks. Squads of (council?) gardeners move around the city tending to the grass and the trees. And when I say "tending to the trees", I don't mean giving them a bit of a trim. The trees are all shaped. They aren't hacked back a bit, each tree is shaped. There are streets with rows of trees that are cut to look like fat, bass drums perched on wooden sticks. The trees in the shopping mall car park are cut to look like birds.
I am often asked what is the difference between London and Tijuana or England and Mexico. When comparing the countries, the first thing I have to say is that Mexico is immensely bigger (mind-boggling bigger) than England but England is green. England is very green, whereas (the) Mexico (I know) is brown. When it comes to comparing the cities, again the Mexican city wins in the size category (mainly because the city is spread out and there are few buildings taller than two stories). Tijuana is a huge sprawling city built in a bowl (there's a beautiful picture of Tijuana at night here). However, and here's the strange bit, I'd say that Tijuana was also greener than London. Oh, I know London has its parks but so does Tijuana. And Tijuana has its streets. Its streets that are four lanes wide with a row of trees down the middle of the street. Its streets that have, not just trees and grass on its pavements but has areas that whole corner gardens appear. Its streets that have roundabouts covered in grass (and often statues). All of this greener is tended to with great love and care. If England is seen as a nation of gardeners I would suggest that Mexico comes a close second.