Mexican Memories

A while ago I wrote about my experiences in Acapulco. I should have mentioned that we had a number of tour guides who were supposed to stay with us during our entire visit to Mexico. The one man I vividly remember was Gorge Adams, whose mother was from Mexico and father from Chicago.

We left Acapulco by bus; we were supposedly headed for Mexico City, which is where the Lions Club International Convention was being held.

When we boarded the bus, we couldn’t help but notice that the entire dashboard and driver’s area appeared to be a miniature shrine. There were statues of various saints, rosary beads, a crucifix or two, and a number of other religious icons.

After all the passengers were boarded, the driver got on and knelt before his makeshift altar. After several minutes of fervent prayer, he finally got behind the wheel and we began the trip. It seemed as though the first half hour of the trip was all uphill. Acapulco is at sea level, but we were soon high in the mountains.

That’s when we realized why our driver was so serious about his prayer life. The roads through the mountains were narrow and winding… and guardrails were non-existent. Those of us on the right side of the bus often felt as though we were in an aircraft flying precariously close to the mountains. The drop-off was frighteningly steep and seemed even more frightening when our bus had to pass a vehicle coming in the other direction.

The scariest part of the ride came while we were slowly winding our way up a hill. That’s when the driver of the trailer truck that had been following closely behind lost his patience and decided to pass us. For the next few miles, we were traveling side by side. Our driver wasn’t about to slow down to let the trucker get by and the trucker was just as determined to keep going until he got in front of us. All this time we are going around one blind bend after another.

The trucker finally made it past us and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

After traveling for a couple of hours, we arrived in the town of Taxco. Taxco is a town known for its silversmiths. We were given an hour or so to find the banos, grab something to eat, and spend money with the local merchants. Finally, we all re-boarded the bus and headed for Mexico City. Unfortunately, we never arrived in the capitol city.

Instead, the bus driver pulled in front of a hotel in the industrial town of Toluca… about forty miles west of Mexico City. That’s when we realized Gorge, and the other tour-guides, were no longer with us. They may have jumped ship in Taxco – knowing our travel agent had been unable to book hotel rooms in Mexico City. We were literally dumped at a “no tell” motel.

We had no choice but to check in. That’s when we discovered that none of the rooms had any furniture into which we could place our clothes. There was nothing except a few hooks on the walls. Obviously, these rooms could have been rented by the hour.

In case anyone is wondering, the restaurant at this ‘hotel’ is where I made the fuax pas of ordering a glass of orange gravy. None of the employees spoke English very well. At one point I went into the kitchen with my Spanish/English dictionary and rewrote the menu in English so that members of our group could have some idea of what they were ordering.

I wish I could say it helped, but this eatery would never have made it on the “Fine Dining” Tour.

One member of our group was confined to a wheel chair, which made it difficult getting him on and off buses, so we rented a car. One side benefit of that move was that we were able to take a side trip to the pyramids in Teotihuacan.

The city of Teotihuacan, which was built long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, was much larger than any other city in the world at that time.  It included the Pyramid of the Sun, Pyramid of the Moon, and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent… as well as a number of other magnificent structures.

Being a fairly young man at the time, I decided to climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun and take some pictures. I soon learned something interesting about pyramids… the higher one goes, the steeper the steps.

It took me close to forty-five minutes to reach the top, but before I could take any pride in my accomplishment, I was met with a chorus of voices. The loudest came from a man asking, “Would you like a nice cold Coca-Cola, Senior?” I looked around and saw a miniature mercado. I could have bought silver bracelets and other trinkets, various snack food items, and lots of ice-cold soft drinks. These vendors had climbed that same hill as I, but they brought coolers filled with ice and soda, and all the other items they were hoping to sell.

I’d say they definitely lessened my feeling of accomplishment and severely damaged my ego. I refused a cold drink and returned to the ground to continue exploring the area with the other mere mortals.

I’m sorry I have no photographs to share with you on this article. I’m afraid they have been misplaced.

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