One day after nightfall, Milo finally managed to wade across the Rio Grande, splashing exhaustedly against the flow of surreptitious human traffic.

Heeeyy! Gringo, un cierto buen consejo!" someone had hissed at him, midstream. "You’re going the wrong way, man!”

After Milo finally hoisted himself onto Mexico's northern lip, he spent the rest of the night shivering beside a small, smoky reluctant fire. It had seemed to take hours to organize and build it. He'd barely managed to strip off and wring his clothes out before the sun came up.

He continued south by the back roads, hitching dusty rides on ancient flatbed trucks. Milo didn’t like the border towns, or Mexico City. Or maybe it was his imaginary friends that didn't. He was so tired, it was getting hard to tell his thoughts and their little comments apart. He tried not to consider whether his thoughts and their utterances were all the same thing anyway, if they were products of his apparently disintegrating mind.

He kept on the move as best he could, sleeping on the ground or in odd culverts to keep the morning dew off him. Finally, growing fear of snakes and other life forms with stingers forced him to become slightly more discriminating about his accommodations.

Oaxaca is beautiful any time of year; the part Milo found most beautiful was that in the midst of it all, there were so many places to hide.

There are also mescal and salvia divinora, among other things. And understandably, considering the availability of these drugs, there were also bizarre, multi-coloured wooden carvings and papier-mache figures and masks of fantastic beings -- alebrijes -- part human, part animal.

He appreciated the handiwork, and even laid down a few pesos to buy a couple, unable to fend away the entreaties of artisans in the market. But he didn’t really like them; alebrijes were too much like what Milo saw every time he closed his eyes without chugging a stiff drink first.