Thursday, November 13, 2008

How to Arrive at Someplace You Didn't Think You Were Going

So, yesterday, Wednesday, I left Morelia about midday, after spending a large part of the morning fighting with the Arizona State pension office and my annuity company to try to get all my pension details arranged. Via long distance. Very long distance.

My plan was to go to Valle de Bravo. A pretty town on Lake Avandaro, up in the mountains. I asked the lady at the bus station in Morelia, and she said there was no direct service, but sold me a ticket to someplace called "The Monument," from where I could catch a connection on to Valle. That should have been a clue. Normally, on a bus, you want to go from one town to another town. Not to a statue. Well, the trip was pleasant enough, if you forget the lack of a bathroom onboard during a long trip on winding roads. This was a second-class bus. Not the chicken bus, but definitely a step down from deluxe or first. And then the bus stopped in the middle of nowhere to pick up this old, old guy with a guitar slung across his belly. "No, no, please no," I thought to myself. But to no avail. Sure enough, he climbed onto the bus, moved about half way down the aisle...still standing.....right next to where I was seated, and began to tune the instrument (directly into my left ear) and then sing. Sort of. I guess you could call it singing. For about 45 minutes. Please God, let this end. Even my thumb pressed against my ear didn't phase the old guy. And on he went. The concert was concluded with a passed hat. I declined.

The scenery was something out of "Sound of Music." High mountains, thick pine forests, twisty narrow roads, and every now and then, a break in the trees with wide pastures and tiny farms. Cows wandered alongside the trail. I asked the driver and his sidekick nicely if they'd let me know where the hell "The Monument" was since I didn't have a damn clue. Oh, yes, they assured me. Just a little way beyond Zitacuaro. And so we went. And as I was watching the Alpine panorama whiz by, I also see a big bronze statue set at the confluence of two roads, marked with an outsized plaque. "The Monument?," I wondered? The bus driver never called it. At that point the shadows were getting longer. It was around 5:30 p.m. Up in the mountains, it was getting much cooler. I thought to myself, "Self, you don't want to be standing the middle of B.F.E. (for those of you who understand the abbreviation, great....if not, substitute "nowhere" waiting for a connecting bus to Valle at night with all my worldly possessions stacked around my feet?" Self answered, "are you NUTS!" So, I said nothing and the driver said nothing, and off we continued to Toluca. A town. Rod took a cab and went to a real five-story hotel and took a nice hot shower. I found a Chinese food joint, had supper and went to bed

And that, children, is how you arrive at someplace you didn't think you were going to.