Central America | Mexico | Istmo & Gulf of Mexico | Veracruz | Xalapa – A Bad Day
Im not sure yesterday could have gotten any worse. I tried leaving San Miguel early, that was a success. I was out on the road around nine. Driving, driving, driving. All seemed well, until I got to Mexico City. What a joke. I spent about three hours driving around, up and down the same highway, looking for what looked like an highway around the city. Thank goodness I never had to go inside the actual city, it would have been a mess. I would probably still be there now. The city was so filled with smog and exhaust fumes that I am still congested today. Darrin said that it was the dirtiest city in the world, from what I have seen thus far, he is right. I went to Walmart and bought a map. I dont think they did any preparatory reports, and simply threw up another big store. Because the place was filled with people working, and millions of dollars worth of fresh inventory, but maybe ten people in the whole place actually shopping. The gigantic parking lot was empty. Not only that, but you had to pay two pesos just to get into the lot. I wonder what those campers back in the states would do if they started charging to put their RVs there. It was almost depressing. Back home you always hear what a great nation the United States is, and how they lead the world in everything. It seems like all I hear out here is that they have a huge trade deficit and that many countries are angry with us. It is odd that I dont get the same feeling back home. However, things are still really cheap here. This room is huge, solid wood, cedar chests and vestibules, hand carved chairs, and a loft with a second bedroom. All this for thirty-three dollars. Im going to have to say that the dollar is still very strong. Is that right? Thirty-three? Im going to have to check the receipt. Yup. Thirty-three dollars. I think they gave me the traveling-alone-guy-in-a-wheelchair discount. That is now. Everything is like it was back in San Miguel, paradise. Yesterday that was not the case. About an hour after the five hour Mexico City escapade, a tractor trailer turned over and blocked the two lane mountain pass that I was on. Traffic was stopped for hours and up for miles. These guys came up to my car and tried to get me to go on this dirt road that lead around the side of the mountain and came out at the other side of the accident. I had a hundred excuses for them, actually, I was just afraid that they were going to get me back there, and then rob me. I saw a lot of cars go with them, however, I only saw a few come out the other side. I figured there was safety in numbers and stayed on the highway. I may have taken longer, but I still have all of my stuff. Plus the road was this dirt path that was all rutted up and it would have been impossible for my van to make it. Eventually traffic did start moving again. I started to know what a blood clot looks like from inside the body. I often imagine each of the cars as a cell in the body, and each of the people driving its nucleus. Each going to their own place with their own agenda. I guess right now I am sort of like some kind of renegade virus or something, with no proper agenda. I guess I am more like cancer than anything else. Thats a real positive outlook for myself. Im laying on the bed in just my underwear. I love to laze around naked in a new fresh hotel room. Especially one this nice. Anyway, back to the tragedy that was yesterday. I stopped off at one of these roadside places to get a blanket. I already had my Moms feather comforter, but I wanted something to put up in windows for when I am camping. I spent my last 100 pesos on a tapestry with a lady gathering peace lilies. That has been my them for this trip, peace lilies. I bought a poster of a lady also gathering peace lilies from the Diego Rivera museum. By now it is pitch black and I cant see anything. My eyes just dont work at night, and I am still on this two lane road, so I am worrying that I am going to be left of center and not even know it. I stop off at the gas station to fill up before I get too far out in the middle of nowhere and realize that I spent my last pesos on that tapestry. I start hollering for the guy to stop filling. I search around the car for some spare change and come up with about seventy pesos. He had filled it to a hundred and twenty. I was short. I had bank cards but none of them would work. It started to be this big scene. I couldnt understand anything. We made a deal that if I left my cell phone that I could go and get the money. However, the station closed at ten. I sped off into the dark trying to guestimate where this bank was. Thats what most of my days are, calculated mistakes. He said all these words, all I could pull out was four kilometers. I go driving down the road and yes, about four kilometers down the road is a town. I look at the clock and only have fifteen minutes to find the bank, get the money, and get back to the station. Finding the bank ended up being more of an impossibility that I had thought. I started circling around in the town. I started getting lost. Finally I see a big sign with to big As side by side. Alcoholic Anonymous. I pull over and go crashing through the doors. Carro. Banko. Telephono. Gas, um. Banko. There were two Mexican sitting in a yellow smoky room, staring at this insane gringo. I tried to continue, but after a minute, realized that once again, I had underestimated, and nobody, not even at an AA meeting was going to be able to decipher my Spanish and get me to the bank in time. I stopped and took a deep breath. Hola, me llamo Dustin. Yo tengo Alcoholism. A smile reached across one of the Mexicans faces. The other still stuck in disbelief. The one that smiled replied, Hola Dustin. I stopped worrying about the phone. I stopped worrying about the car. I stopped for an hour or so and talked, or tried to talk, to these two Mexicans sitting in a room of Alcoholics Anonymous. It was pretty cool. They had me tell my story. I did. They had a picture of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob on the wall. Bill looked like he was giving me a stern disapproving glare. Bob just looked away. I wanted to make a good impression. I think I came across as a disheveled recovering drunk. Go figure. I guess that is the best I can do. They pointed me in the direction of the bank. I continued to get lost in this grid like maze of two story buildings and speed bumps. This one speed bump was so huge that the entire underside of my car dragged bottom. I found my way out of the town, no bank, no pesos, no phone, and continued in the direction of Veracruz. I was actually on my way to Jalapa, or Xalapa, depending on what sign you look at. It took me until I got here before I figured out they are the same place. Later that night I pulled into a service station and my power steering started to whirr. I knew I had messed something up on one of those speed bumps. I slept in the car and ripped my Moms feather comforter on the copper that is on the floor of the van. I was just waiting for the Mexican police to come to the van door and wake me up. Fortunately, they let me sleep. Ill spend the rest of the day using all the Kings men to put Humpty together again.