La Rukiña de México

Lu Rukiña surveys Mexico.

If you don’t think dogs are aware of border crossings, guess again. The different noises and smells, and surely the way everything looks, got Rooki’s attention within 15 seconds of crossing into Nogales, Mexico.

The first order of business was to obtain the necessary car permit, which required a stop at a customs checkpoint and visits to an immigration officer who checked all documents, then to a copying office to make sufficient dupes of everything, then to a payment counter and then back to immigration. A fairly involved production, but only a minute fraction of what Mexican nationals have to go through to enter the States.

It was at the copy office that I realized that the Kahoo is going to need her first road name. Orville’s name was unpronounceable in any Asian tongue, and an old lady in the Himalaya named him Ram Bahadur (which had overtones of a certain type of, shall we say, prowess? on account of how big and strong he was compared to the local dogs). That name stuck, and in Nepal, Orville became renowned as Ram Bahadur. Here, the gentleman at the copy office took an immediate liking to Roo, and asked what her name was. When I said Roo, it began a long series of back-and-forth attempts to pronounce it and repeat it. I don’t think ‘Roo’ will work too well.

Of course, I give her new nicknames just about every other day, and one of those will serve her well down here: La Rukiña, pronounced La Rookeenya.

La Rukiña and I drove all day until just after dark. She, being so strong and healthy now, had indicated once or twice that she wanted to check out the inviting Sonoran desert, but I declined.

When we arrived to see the last moments of the sun setting into some high cloud over the Sea of Cortez, an array of blues and golds that was staggering, I was not feeling good. I was resolved to grab the first available room, no questions asked. I should have asked some questions. Some joint on the edge of town was flying a big banner to advertise that they were practically giving rooms away. Once we settled in, I found out why. Some sort of pump was broken. At first I thought it was a two-note hip-hop bass reverberating through the entire hotel, possibly from some hidden nightclub somewhere. BOOM-BUM. BOOM-BUM. Every four seconds. But no. It was a pump with a shot bearing or loose on its mount buried deep in the innards of the building and shaking the whole place. At first Rooki was a bit nervous and went to hide in a corner. But she acclimated well and before long she was up on the bed.

After all my promises to her yesterday while she was cooped up in the car that she would get to have some fun mañana, I took her to the beach first thing. And she ran and chased seagulls and met a dog named Juno from Idaho. Suffice it to say that La Rukiña now thinks this is the greatest place in the world. In the accompanying photo she is surveying the territory after her many morning ablutions in the Sea of Cortez. The World’s Greatest Mouse Hunter has shifted her attention to seagulls.

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Many of you have sent emails warning or worrying about Rooki and me traveling in Mexico because of all the news we hear in the States of drug cartel violence and crime.

General Khun Sa, the most notorious opium warlord of the Golden Triangle, at his jungle redoubt.

That’s a subject I know something about. Here’s an image I took in the Golden Triangle in Burma 20 years ago of one General Khun Sa. He was the most notorious opium warlord of all time, controlling an area the size of England. The State Department described him as the most evil man in the world. He personally accounted for 90 percent of the heroin on the streets of America and Europe. He was reputed to have killed 11 journalists. Once I got in to see him, with the help of the CIA agent described in the authoritative work on the subject to be, “perhaps the most effective agent ever,” and a DIA colonel, he ran out of patience with me, too, after I kept bugging him about a hit he ordered and that didn’t go off well. In the middle of the night he ordered that my cameraman and I be taken out and shot. Anyway, that’s all a story for another time, but suffice it to say that I am now abundantly cautious about remaining safely out of the clutches of anyone. 

Except La Rukiña.

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The Kindle Book

Kindle cover.

Kindle cover.

A huge thank you goes out to all of you who downloaded our new Kindle book from Amazon. The biggest Muchas Gracias goes out to those of you who reviewed it on Amazon. Because of that, the e-book briefly shot up to #2 in one of the dog categories, albeit in an obscure category. That’s how important the reviews are. Nothing is more essential. The book will be free again, but it has to be organized because Amazon only permits another four free days out of the next 88. So, right now it’s priced at 99¢. So anyone else so inclined, please leave a word about whatever you think no the page there. It really, really needs them….

And again, THANK YOU SO MUCH. Seeing that bit of good news at the end of a long day was really something.