Saturday, May 29, 2010

Excerpt: RIDING A BUS IN MEXICO

“Now see, amor, with patience we are there.” Or were we? As I listened to Joe in conversation with the cashier, it became apparent that something was wrong. Body language betrayed the woman as she kept shaking her head as she curled her lips inside her mouth. Very concerned I asked Joe what was happening. I couldn’t understand what she was saying, and now with even more confusion, it was difficult to dicipher. Without thinking I left my seat, and coveted post as pillow, but not without noticing how my half sleeping friend timbered in to the lap of my other compadre. I enquired again about our travel plans, when as if by design, a suggestion was offered to me by way of a tug on my braid.

“What you say es Que Pasa? That is what you mean to say... Que Pasa?” Beside me stood a boy about 9 years of age holding a hanger dangling small leather purses and belts. A strap around his neck was latched to a tray that rested against his torso. It was stocked with gum, candy and chips. He looked just like one of those cigarette girls in a 1950’s movie, only his face was smudged and his sweaty clothes were somewhat tattered. His head adorned a glittering blue and gold sombrero, one that any tourist would die for, and he was almost barefoot as his roped sandals were worn and fraid. “You will not be train traveling today. No more tickets, so you ride the bus. I know where lunch is.”


“The bus?” I was about to enquire more, but my attention was diverted away from the boy, as I was pushed a few inches closer to Joe by an irritable crowd still waiting to be told sold-out. He and the cashier continued to exchanged words that I understood little of; however, discontent and exasperation about to flood away from each one's brow, made interpretation easy.

“We had reservations!” Joe said in English eyeing the cashier. I could only guess what he said turning toward my direction because whatever it was, it was all in Spanish. The woman rattled off something more. Joe was obviously distressed but being considerate, he continued to do his best to include me in the conversation as did the boy who was still standing next to me. “The only seats left are for passengers boarding in Hermasio. I offered to pay more, even for regular seats. She keeps saying that first class is filled and they won’t sell anymore seats because they have other passengers to pick up down route.”


“In Hemosillo...” I replied. “We had reservations. Did you tell her that?” Joe, who was clearly exhausted and feathering both hands through his hair, shrugged and nodded a pitiful yes.

“All the people paid the money for da tickets before you husband.” I looked at the kid, tried not to sneer, thanked him, then handed him a couple quarters and actually heard a Beat it Kid! come out of my mouth. But he didn’t leave. “Ah,” he said, “this is good, but where I take you for lunch, we will need more.”

“Why are you making friends?” Joe asked. Before I could defend myself, he had already turned his attention back to the cashier. “Isn’t there anything... I mean...” then corrected his language to continue in Spanish. A quick 9 seconds later in attempt to interpret, he told me everything he knew still using Spanish, then back toward the cashier, “I know you are - then back to me, Spanish, Spanish, Spanish, back to her with English, English, English, but not before he ended with, “Oh Dios mio!” with both hands back in his hair squeezing his head as if trying to remove it.

I couldn’t help myself. I just had to... “Oh my gosh...I’m starring in an episode of the I Love Lucy show. Tell me again, Ricky Ricardo!” I chuckled, but Joe clearly was not amused, turned back toward the stubborn ticket-taker.

“Oh jes! That is me! Ricardo. Mi nombre es Ricardo.” the little boy piped as he lurched for my suitcase. “Lucy, I take care of you and Ricardo, my friends, one of my same name.”

“I’m not Lucy, my name is Peri and he’s Joe. Leave, now.” I said through gritted teeth turning away from the kid for the 75th time.

“Ricardo. Ricardo. I am Ricardo just like you friend,” and then he bowed. I was a sucker. I just had too...


“What friend?” I replied.

“You friend, Lucy-Perita, you, the lady with Ricardo!”

“We’re not friends - I mean - look... Ricardo, we're busy. I’m not going to purchase any more of your lovely items. I am not a customer anymore. Get going now. Shew!” I jestured waving my hand.

“That is right. You was customer, now you my friend.”


Trying to listen to Joe and the clerk, while trying not to listen to the kid, I let down my guard. “Ok.” I said. “I’ll buy that small purse,” I said pointing not to any one in particular, “but then you have to leave. We are busy here.” I started digging through my shoulder bag, around everything I didn't need, but packed anyway, when I found my coin purse, snapped it open and handed the kid a dollar.

“Ah. That one, she is brown so you will need this one.” I practiced patience while the little salesman untangled a turqouise and black change purse, definately something else to die for, thanked him, and then quickly turned my back with another jesture shewing him away.


“But Lucy-Perita, you man,” I heard coming from behind me.


"My friend to you, I am -"


"I know, I know, Ricardo. Ricardo, you must simply go somewhere else now. Not here. Beside, you are losing business."


"Jes! Somewhere else, and that is why I take you to the bus. The bus, he is somewhere else away from the train. I take you there and you will have lunch, and soon you will bus travel to Guadalajara." Who did this kid think he was? A fortune teller? I was about to thump the little guy when Joe turned to me in surrender and defeat.


"So, what are we doing?" I asked softly.


"Yes, Senior, Que Pasa? but I know what to do. I take you to the bus and you will be okay. Your lady, she is hungry."


2 comments:

Cori G. said...

Did this happen when you were in Mexico City? I don't think I would have enjoyed that trip ;-(.

xoxo Cori

Robin said...

Yes. The two big guys, the line, the mix-up, the kid, the bus, San Luis, ...