(The continuing story to El Viaje)
When the bus pulled into the station the woman was dismayed to find that it appeared to not be in the city’s downtown section at all, but rather in a more residential area. She collected her large roller suitcase and walked quickly over to where a row of taxi cabs and their drivers waited to take people to their final destinations.
She approached a driver who seemed to be around the age of her father. “Necesito ir aqui” she said to the man, pointing to the address in her guidebook of a bed and breakfast she had circled.
“Acapantzingo” he asked, referring to the name of the colonia or neighborhood where the bed and breakfast was located.
“Ochenta y cinco pesos” he said for the fare amount.
The woman had no idea if she was being ripped off or not but she agreed to the 85 pesos as she was anxious to get to the bed and breakfast, desperately hoping there would indeed be an available room.
As the taxi made its way through Cuernavaca, the sight of its tiny alley-like streets, men in cowboy hats, and taquerias (taco shops) brought a smile to the woman’s face, the first that appeared there in a long time. At a traffic light, she even rolled down the taxi window, as she wanted to see if she could yet breathe in Mexico’s scent, and no longer smell the scent of her former life.
The smell of tortillas cooking wafted through the air and even elicited a minor growl from her stomach. The taxi driver looked back at the woman in his rearview window with a twinkle in his eyes and asked her,
The woman nervously laughed, embarrassed for a stranger to have heard the sound her stomach made. She told him she was actually very hungry and was hoping she would be able to eat an actual meal as soon as she secured a room for the night.
When the cab pulled up to the bed and breakfast she asked if he wouldn’t mind waiting, in case she would need to continue on with her quest for accommodations. He agreed, not even bothering to quote her a fare this time.
She opened up the front door and immediately was greeted by a middle-aged couple who did not appear to be Mexican, this being confirmed as soon as she was greeted with a British accented “hello.”
“I realize this is a bit of a long shot, but I was wondering if you had any available rooms?” she asked the couple. “I normally don’t travel so unprepared but this viaje was more impromptu than anything else.”
“As a matter of fact we do” the man told her. “We had a cancellation just this morning for our mint chocolate room. How long were you planning on staying?”
The woman thought to herself forever, as the tones of the bed and breakfast were incredibly soothing, the site of the pool just beyond the portico glass doors, one step shy of heaven. “A week if that would be an option.”
“Certainly” the man told her. “Rates include a three course breakfast every morning.”
After settling up the financial particulars of her stay, the woman went back outside to the driver and asked him if she could use his services a little while longer. The couple had recommended the name of a restaurant that was located in the city’s zocalo, the main square or plaza that was a feature in many Latin American cities.
Within minutes they had arrived at the restaurant. The couple had described Casa Hidalgo as offering slightly more upscale Mexican fare, and featuring one of the prettiest dining views in all of Cuernavaca, overlooking the zocalo and the Palacio de Cortes, the famous conquistador Cortez’s palace that he had built for himself in the New World. As she handed the money to the driver thanking him, he told her “buena suerte con todo.” Although she hadn’t said a word about her problems or her life to him, it was as if he knew. It was as if he knew the reason of her viaje to Mexico and this is why he wished her good luck with everything.
When asked if she wanted to dine indoors or outside on the terrace, she immediately chose the latter. The sun had already started to set, the lights on the terrace were already illuminated, she was captivated with it all, the striking nature of the sky’s look, and the bustling activity of the people below her in the zocalo.
While sipping her mojito, the woman thought to herself that at last she had come home. Not a home in the literal sense, but more figuratively speaking. Home represented the semblance of peace she now felt sitting out on the terrace, and she was actually looking forward to planning her next couple or dozen steps. Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua? She didn’t know for sure all where the untraveled road would take, she just knew that this viaje was definitely a road she was meant to go on, and one that would have her eventually come full circle.
El Viaje-Part IIPosted on February 1, 2012
(The continuing story to El Viaje)