Monday, December 1, 2014

Wild Women On Holiday

Wild Women On Holiday
            My friend Kathy from British Columbia flew in this week. For the next three weeks I will be with Kathy on holiday, staying up the street six blocks from where I have my apartment, at the El Cid Resort. Evelyn from Harlem in New York City will join us in a few days.

            The three of us have a propensity for getting in trouble. We don’t intend trouble. Trouble, like a heat seeking missile, finds us. As another friend says with a shrug, “It happens.”

            Although Evelyn, Kathy and I come from diverse backgrounds, we share a love of laughter and fun, books and music. We enjoy doing things we’ve never done before, exploring places new to us. 

            Like the time we took a bus from Acapulco to Mazatlan. On a snack stop at the bus terminal in Tepic, we got off the bus to get an ice cream and stretch our legs. We didn’t dare wander too far. When we’d finished our snack and went back, the bus was gone. So was our money, our identity, our passports, our luggage.  All we had taken off the bus with us was a few pesos for ice cream. In that moment of realization at three o’clock in the morning, alone and friendless in a strange town, with not even a handkerchief in which to sob, we did the only thing we could do. We looked at one another through saucer eyes and burst out laughing. Holding our guts laughing. Finding the humor laughter. Holding off the panic laughter. For five minutes we provided entertainment to the forty or so folks around us. They laughed too, at us, with us, who knows.

            Finally a young man with English language skills took pity, explained to us that the bus simply left to take on petrol. It would be back. The bus returned.

            Another bus adventure occurred the time we signed up for the Christmas shopping tour to Guadalajara. This time Kathy’s husband Richard came along. We got to the first stop, a flea market of gigantic proportions, coincidentally, at three o’clock in the morning. We were stunned. What would we do at that time of night? Well, who could have known? The streets were packed with vendors and shoppers.

We joined the throng. We had two hours to shop. Keeping track of one another was impossible. When any one of us stopped to look at wares, it was as if we were cut out of the moving herd. Kathy stopped to listen to street music. I noticed Evelyn checking out some wild exotic jewelry. I worked hard at keeping track of the street where the bus was parked, making sure I didn’t go too far afield. Not twenty meters from the bus I found a small shop crammed with sewing notions.

            Evelyn and then Kathy met back at the bus. I joined them from the little tienda where I was picking laces and buttons. Where was Richard? Kathy had lost him. Other passengers were returning. They soon realized our predicament. Where was the tall skinny gringo? We fanned out, scanning above the crowds. One of our fellow passengers found him several blocks away, unconcerned, quite contentedly enjoying the hubbub of shoppers, music, jugglers and other entertainment.

            After a full day shopping, late at night, we boarded the bus for home, everyone talking softly. Sure enough, about three a.m., the bus broke down. It wasn’t our fault. We don’t take responsibility. It was just part of the adventure. We sat stranded on the side of the road several hours before a relief bus could pick us up and carry us on to Mazatlan.

            We haven’t planned anything definite for this holiday. We haven’t bought bus tickets. We are considering a trip to Magdalena near Guadalajara, to tour an opal mine. If we plan it right, if we take a morning bus and stay overnight, we might be able to avoid the three o’clock in the morning adventures. Not that any of us are superstitious.

            However, so far: We have locked ourselves out of our room. We started a trip downtown without shoes—not an option. We ordered a meal with no money. We stood in the elevator and waited for it to shoosh us to the lobby without pushing a button.

            When Evelyn arrives we can triple the fun. We aren’t looking for it. No invitation has been sent out. But Trouble might find us. 

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

October 23, 2014

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