You're right, the guard could fit right in that commercial! I feel a bit guilty when I look at that photo. He posed for me because he wanted me to mail him a copy of the photo when I got home. Pre-digital, color photos were more special than they are now. He wrote his address on a slip of paper and put it in my passport, but I lost the paper and never sent him the photo. 33 years of guilt. So if anyone will be passing through Juarez immigration northbound and wants to try passing on the photo, please PM me your email address and I'll email you the full-resolution scan for printing. This guy must be 70 by now and must have retired but perhaps the existing officers would recognize him.
Sorry, Pokie, the last time I was in touch with Phil was 2008. I don't know his new address.
Travel will never be the same as before cellphones, internet, GPS, and Streetview. "The Death of Distance" was published back in 1997. It is so much easier, safer and predictable to travel now--and that's a good thing of course--but most of the exotic mystery is gone. You know exactly what to expect and exactly where before you get there, and while you are there your friends back home know exactly where you are. No waiting for you to return after a month of disappearance and for you to take your films to the lab for developing so that you can bore them with your slide projector and regale them with stories of situations and places totally foreign to their experience. Hanoi has more public WiFi than the USA now; you can Skype for free with your smartphone while you walk most downtown streets.
Except out in the bush of course, and that's what the dual-purpose bikes are for.