March, 2018 My Mexico Clown Trip
I was in Mexico for a week. Mexico City. It was a great trip except everyone laughed at me. Well, I was a clown.
Where to start?
The drive to the airport was fun until the driver, who was going at a safe 10 miles under the speed limit, said he was afraid of heights as we drove onto a bridge and he slowed down to a crawl because bridges get slick he informed me.
We made it and I made it onto the plane. Mexico bound! On the plane there was a lace curtain separating first class from us commoners. It was fun to count the seconds before the first class air hostess (they had their own) tackled someone from our section who dared to try and use their golden toilet bathroom. I was close enough to smell their gourmet meals with wine while I feasted on my coffee and cookie.
At first the two seats next to me were empty. I wondered who may occupy them. Perhaps two Sports Illustrated Models? The conversation we could have had. Which was your favorite bathing suit? What were the shooting locals like? Was the relationship between Jean Paul Sarte and Simone de Beauvior sincere or existential?
But no…two young guys took the seats and one of them stuffed his carryon on top of mine in the overhead bin. But I was not bitter.
Then the landing and….Mexico! At the hotel I met the rest of the silly group.
We were a group of about 30 clowns from all over the world clowning with Patch Adams, THE Patch Adams. Our first day of clowning was at a hospital. We brought many smiles to the patients and staff. The doctors had a lot of patience. If you say this out loud it will be funny.
I was referred to as ‘old’ by one clown and as a geezer by another. I was ready to return home.
The next day we went to a school for young children. From the school we walked to a building with a large gymnasium and were joined by other schools. We had about 200 three and four year old children and through a clown mix up about 5 clowns. Everything went very well. The children were well behaved and attentive. I did some magic and we played games and sang songs. I discovered quickly that 3 and 4 year olds have much more energy than I do.
The next trip was a highlight for me and several other clowns: a women’s prison. There, we clowned for mothers and their children. At this high security prison (we had our hands stamped by something invisible. Then we had to place our hands into not one but two machines) children stay with their mothers until they are 6 years old. I did, and don’t, want to think about the HELL they must go through when they separate. But on this day there were more smiles than could be counted. I did a magic trick and a girl named Jimena grabbed my arm and led me to her mother to show her the trick. Jimena’s friend Ashley joined us along with her mother as I did my magic and we played games and sang songs. Later a girl name Lorie took hold of my large stethoscope that is really a plunger connected to an ear piece and connected to me by my neck. She turned it into a phone as she walked, not very slowly, talking into it and listening to it. I had to lean down and follow.
It was the kind of day that made me realize why I do this: to show people in difficult situations that they have friends and can know love. This experience went beyond balloons and magic tricks. It went to caring from the heart, and receiving from the heart.
The week was full of diamonds. I almost fell for a trick my friend Jim S. has done to me many times. We were standing outside Frida Kahlo’s house and museum which is called the Blue House. It is completely painted in blue. I was explaining this to the clowns and someone (Rebecca) asked why it is called the blue house. I reached out and touched the blue wall and was about to explain when I stopped myself. I’ve fallen for tricks like this before (JIM!!) but not this time…but close.
The attitude in Cocoyacan, Mexico, where we were, was sunny and smiling and friendly. Maybe because we were clowns but the same upbeat attitude was there when I was not in clown attire.
We danced tango and salsa and just moved to music where ever and whenever we heard it.
On the final day we went to a very poor area I had been to last year. It is a community set up next to a train track. On the way there, the bus was stuck. Two things you do not want to hear while on a bus on a train track: The bus is stuck. A train is coming.
But the train was very slow and far away. There were construction workers who helped us and we were freed.
This community had homes made of tin and wood. Some had no running water nor electricity. But again there was joy in the air. A group of university students go there every Saturday and volunteer their services. The hugs and greetings they received confirmed the great work they do.
Thus, adios Mexico, as the song says. This trip will remain in my heart for many years to come.