Feature: Where is 'Away'?

Published November 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 10

by William Hillyard

photos by Guillermo Arias

Tanker truck delivers water in Tijuana neighborhood

At low tide, you could walk to Mexico, around the crusty palisade of the border fence, without even getting your shoes wet.  The thinnest can slip between the stakes, as kids do, dashing into America—‘look at me, mom!’—and slipping back again over the line.  The Pacific’s relentless waves and salt spray have long ago eaten the fence’s metallic flesh, leaving a disheveled skeleton of rusty spikes, 12 feet tall, like the broken and bent teeth of a giant scaly comb.  Dogs wander back and forth, around the pickets of steel—sections of railroad track actually, driven endwise into the sand—and sniff the cluttered beach, crossing the invisible line, the abstraction of the international border.  

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