The flights to San Miguel were typical – one too darn hot and cramped, a three-year-old sitting behind my seat, kicking and jamming her toes in my lower back while her mother drank. The other flight (yes I took two) was freezing cold and much smaller, but I was blessed enough to have my own seat – no cramping. However, the woman behind me, who was of very large stature, kept tugging and pulling on my seat each time she moved around.
I found myself starstruck on the second plane as Yann Martel boarded with his family and nearly fell on top of me getting to his seat. It was in that moment that I realized I was riding with a plane full of writers – an airborn writing community.
Customs was a breeze. Riding the shuttle to Franny’s house wasn’t!!!! The roads are in poor condition and many of the individuals on the road drive EXTREMELY fast, swerving in and out of traffic. I buckled up tight and prayed to the Lord as I bumped up and down in the back row of the van – paybacks for the all the times I hit a big bump in the day care van and sent kids launching in the air. I was honestly suffering from motion sickness when I arrived at Franny’s door. Somehow, even though my destination was the first coming into town, I was the last to be dropped off. That is alright though as I really got to see San Miguel!
The roads are very narrow and made of cobblestone. Drivers tend to understand the “language of the road” and know when to yield or go. While heading up the street, we were met with flashing lights and redirected traffic. Our driver of course ignored the road black and moved head on toward a massive body of individuals walking down the street. In the last few moments, I realized it was a traditional funeral procession – music, mourners, casket…all one large group of entangled bodies creeping across the cobblestones. It was beautiful.
I wandered down the road at about 7:30 to the Longhorn Smokehouse. I will admit I was scared and nervous at first. But Franny walks everywhere and assured me nothing bad will happen. Everything looks the same so I had to pay careful attention to landmarks, signs, and other noticeable markings as the streets are not always clearly marked. Thank God for my GPS!!!
I had fajita tacos with the most amazing salsa! I did laugh though – as I ate, a stray dog came waltzing out of the kitchen and disappeared into the night.
Walking back to Franny’s apartment, I experienced something that I haven’t seen since high school. The school children (middle school – young adult) were flocking the streets, cruising and socializing. Several groups, as they passed me in the streets, mocked me, calling me filthy names. One young man yelled out, “Pinche pendeja!” I of course ignored him and kept walking.
I may be Hispanic, but I am whitest Mexican you will find. I remember, during Chic Chicana, in high school, being made fun of my many of the group members because I wasn’t Mexican enough…