Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tried to Run Away and Got Tripped Up

Tried to Run Away and Got Tripped Up
            Lani, who lives in Etzatlan near Guadalajara, invited me to spend a few days with her. Lani and my cousin Nancie are long time friends. Nancie has been nagging me to go to Etzatlan but it just hadn’t worked out yet. We three women spent a day together in Mazatlan in mid-December.  Lani lives in Etzatlan full time. So, yes, thank you, Lani. I would love to visit. Even in Paradise, one can use a change of scenery.
            Besides, I am at a decision point and would gladly run off and leave the decision to simmer on the back burner. In a couple weeks I will be looking at a sweet little apartment for rent in Old Mazatlan. I have to decide whether to take the rental and test-drive the area or stay in my little studio and continue to look for a house to purchase. High finance is so confusing to me.
            A trip to the Guadalajara area seemed just the diversion I wanted. I meant to spend this week there. The trip did not quite unfold the way I thought it would.
            The bus terminal in Mazatlan is much like an aeropuerto. Every autobus company uses the terminal. So Friday I went downtown. Lani had suggested I get a ticket to Magdalena where she would pick me up, a short drive from her home.
            The young lady at the counter turned the computer toward me so I could see the screen. There are no direct runs to Magdalena. The computer has its limitations. It did not suggest that I go from here to there to Magdalena. Neither did the woman at the counter. Of course, we had a bit of a language barrier. I turned and left. Emailed Lani of my lack of progress.
            Lani then suggested I go to Tepic and from there purchase a ticket to Magdalena. My friend Lupe offered to go to the terminal and get the ticket for me. He phoned me from the terminal. The only bus to Tepic left Mazatlan at two o’clock in the afternoon. And with the crush of going-home-from-holiday traffic, there were no tickets on that run until Tuesday. Tepic is a major terminal, so the scenario didn’t make sense.
I had visions of being stranded overnight in the Tepic terminal waiting for the possibly one and only bus to Magdalena. I figured I would not be taking a trip this week, so unpacked my bags.
            I had been stranded in Tepic before and all this confusion brought the memory back with clarity. Kathy, Mary and I had boarded the bus in Puerto Vallarta, destination Mazatlan. The volume on the movie topped out, the air conditioner was set to ‘ice’. Everybody carried a blanket. We were dressed for the tropics.
            We pulled into Tepic in the middle of the night. With hand signals, the driver indicated to us “fifteen minutes”. Everybody got off the bus. Kathy and I followed. Mary went to the toilet facility at the back of the bus, saying she would be out in a minute.
            We bought ice-cream bars from one of the many vendors and walked back to the bus, scanning for Mary. When we arrived where the bus had been parked, no bus. No Mary. Everything we owned was on the bus—clothing, money, passports. Mary. We looked at one another, eyes big as platters, did the only thing we knew to do, exploded with hysterical laughter. So did everybody around us. Except for one thing. They knew the secret so their laughter was even more riotous. Finally a young man with some English took pity and explained that the bus went to take on fuel and would be back.
            That night Lupe stopped by, “I don’t think you understood me. Buses from everywhere go through Mazatlan. You could go to the terminal early in the morning, wait for a bus to come through which has an available seat, and take that bus.”
            “Oh.” Now I understand. My vivid imagination once more kicked in and I could picture  trying to decipher the unintelligible (to me) Spanish code blaring from the speakers announcing that Bus # 000 from Durango to Tepic leaving gate # ABC in twenty minutes, struggling to get a ticket, find the gate and get on that bus.
            Meanwhile, Lani called me. She now suggested I take a Primera Plus bus direct from Mazatlan to Zapopan and she could pick me up there. Problem solved. I went on line and reserved a ticket for next week. One ticket, terminal to terminal. I breathed a sigh of relief. 
            Kathy reminded me to take earplugs, a blanket and snacks, just in case the bus breaks down. Nothing can trip me up now. Can it?
Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door
January 9, 2014

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