Sunday, December 24, 2006

December 24, 2006
We all arrived home last night at about six, tired but happy.

The Muy Muy Tour
On our family trips we typically stumble onto a saying that sort of sums up the entire experience. For this trip it happened on my birthday (Dec. 19). After a hectic and fun day in historic El Fuerte, Tomas, Deena and I were sitting on the edge of the plaza sharing a flan (pudding meets cake signature dessert of Mexico) watching the local parade of humanity. In the Spanish tradition, the locals congregates in the center of town in the evening, walking around the small park in packs, while the trucks and cars do the same on the surrounding roadway.

As we were sitting and chatting at a sidewalk table, we noticed an old beat-up Ford Grand Marquis rattling and edging out of a parking space along the curb. Some kids had double-parked in the lane next to the Ford, and the driver and his teenage friends were leaning on the driver’s side of the car, checking out the chiquitas lapping the square. Behind them, the ancient Marquis edged out and backed around the right bumper, coming so close the Ford turned the front wheel of the kid’s car. The kids were oblivious to the bump and somehow the Marquis just managed to squeak out, rumbling off down the street in a cloud of Bardahl. Tommy said, “Holy Gyza, did you see that?” And I said, shaking my head, “Yes, es muy Mexicana.”

We all laughed at the absurdity of it, the kids oblivious to the coughing wreck of a Detroit dinosaur pushing out into traffic, and leaving paint on the tires and the curb. It was somehow a moving metaphor for the entire country and for the rest of the trip we had numerous chances to employ our new phrase. When cars would come out of side streets and literally challenge the taxi or bus we were riding in we would look at each other and shrug, saying in unison, “Muy Mexicano.”

On our last full day in Chihuahua we jumped in a cab and told the driver to take us to the bus station so we could buy our tickets for the next day’s journey to Juarez. The mega-terminal was way out on the outskirts of town and after we bought our tickets, the taxi driver shot out into rush hour traffic and angled around cars to get onto the expressway and return us to our hotel. As he headed up the onramp there was a stop sign (alto!) at the foot of the ramp to insure a steady flow of traffic, and our cabbie never slowed down, but simply drove up on the shoulder of the freeway to the left of the stopped car in front of us, and careened onto the crowded freeway, prompting Deena to gasp, “Muy! Muy!” which was, of course, shorthand for our earlier saying.

As we flew home last night, we all laughed and agreed that this was the “Muy Muy Tour.” We had several close calls but we all got out alive with a smile on our faces. What a country! What a trip!

“Nothing dulls faster than the cutting edge.”
—Andrew Weed

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