ITEM: A pair of white slip-on sneakers
DATE: Semana Santa 2010
LOCATION: Barra Vieja, Mexico
When I woke in the morning to take a piss by the edge of the lagoon they were gone; a pair of Ked knock-offs I had bought two days earlier, expressly for this trip to the beach, from one of those anonymous shoe shops near the Zocalo with glass cases full of business loafers and tennis shoes. I paid 120 pesos for them. Real Keds cost 500 pesos. The night before I had put them outside the tent next to my friend's rubber flip-flops. As I scanned the sand and dirt around the restaurant and picnic tables, empty of vacationers in the early morning, I convinced myself that the shoes must have been taken by one of the stray dogs that prowled endlessly though the palapas of Barra Vieja—and every Mexican beach town, I imagine—partly because a dog's preference for smelly canvas shoes seemed the best way to explain the flip-flops' calm persistence outside the tent, but more so because one day into my first trip outside the city felt too early to start making generalizations about Mexicans stealing from gringos on vacation.