Archive for March 26th, 2015|Daily archive page

Hey, Mom . . .

Bewildered. The day today was bewildering. I woke up not really wanting to leave what I believed to be a safe, comfortable, inexpensive and interesting place. I also woke up thinking I had to leave, I'm old enough to have experienced being on the move and staying in a place one day too long. You don't want to do that twice.

The ride was really fresh, an early start and killer pot-holes aside, mostly decent roads. Much more green than brown, much more gentle and rolling than shark-toothed and rugged. Only had to wait ten minutes or so for construction; that's a first.

My faux pas was at one of the ubiquitous police stops. It was municipal police this time, not the usual Feds or Army or WTF – are you really cops? As usual, they were civil and just doing their job, whatever that is.

I was traveling down a very rural and isolated road and a nice enough fellow told me to pull over. We went through the usual strained pleasantries and he said great, move on drive safe; it's dangerous here, so be careful for the cartels. He wasn't kidding.

I put my helmet back on and then another fellow walked over and told me to shut off the bike again. Then he said open up all your cases.

At this point I know the routine; I've been through it a hundred times. It's always, “Yes Sir, no Sir, three bags full sir.” But, for some reason, I flipped. I took off my helmet and said, “You've got to be fucking kidding!” The ten seconds of silence made time stop. I may have done this a hundred times, but I never did THIS once. In retrospect, the theme music would have been from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. But that's only in retrospect. At the time, it was cold silence.

In my heart, I was ready for the cuffs. On my face, who knows? Then, he motioned his head for me to move on. At first I thought he motioned me to move on over to the side of the road for whatever was going to happen next. The poor prick had to motion about five more times until I understood he was telling me to move on, down the road. Looked like he had a tick, but evidently, I was free to go. A few of the other uniforms were giving me subtle go, go, go hand signs. So, I went.

Yeah. That was a mistake on my part. To say I was lucky is an understatement, to say I was stupid is an understatement. To say I won't do that again is a certainty.

So, the main reason I'm bewildered is because I can't seem to answer this question: Why do I love Mexico so much? It's certainly not for the police checks, the topes, the insane drivers, the relentless jake-brake truck traffic, the beeping taxis, the poverty, the toxic living conditions, the dust, the moldy filth, the blasting bull horns, the murderous drug and criminal elements, the desperation or the even the weather. It's not any of those things. But, I am as sure as I can be, I do love this country.

And, that's why I'm bewildered.

As I write this I'm in a little sea-side peninsula town called Tamiahua. It's about 7:00 pm, just came back from an excellent supper in a water front restaurant two blocks from my hotel. No one else was eating but a daughter and her very aged mother; it reminded me of my sister and how she devoted so much to my mom. It reminded me how thankful I was for my sister's care; it made me miss my mom, watching them.

The Hotel Barrera is nothing to write home about, but it's okay – great staff, we laughed together at least three times already. The sun is starting to drop over the courtyard, the church bells are either calling or releasing the faithful. I can hear some of the shopkeepers closing their shops, shutting their rusty gates. The birds are loud and busy, but there's also a stillness in the air. I hear children playing, it sounds like they know their play is quickly drawing to a close.

It's all so familiar, and different, and there's not enough time to be bewildered. Just grateful.