We left in the nick of time it seems. Ric managed to stay one day ahead of the snowstorm all the way to Phoenix. He was, however, unable to outrun all the hard core Republicans once he got there but that’s another rant. Iggy was happy to have a yard for a day, even if it was plastic, and we were happy for a little company other than our dog, thanks Tammy and Jeff. We hit the Mexico border loaded down with valuable chachkas, our kitchen sink and, unbeknownst to us at the time, a wicked flu virus. We made it through customs so quickly and easily I wondered if we were actually at the border. All the kvetching and fretting over the sink was for naught, so there’s the first road lesson…the Mexicans don’t really care about your new kitchen sink carefully hidden under bags of dog food and clothes, hell, they don’t even care about your dog. I think they care that you don’t have 80 kilos of ganja hidden in said sink but given the distinct lack of interest in our vehicle or its contents, we probably could have.
It was a long hot day to Navojoa, at one point it hit 38 degrees. Air conditioning, check. Pulled into the Best Western with only moments to spare (the last Pemex station had been a looong ways back), got a room and a beer and then the fever, chills and hacking cough kicked in full bore. This is an ab workout I do not recommend. Ric succumbed less than I, but we were both feeling mighty sorry for ourselves. My lack of desire for either coffee or a cold class of vino blanco had me considerably worried. So I poured myself into bed and Ric had dinner with his new best amigos, also travelling down from Canada. Al and Marylou liked our dog, and Ric liked the antlers straddling the headlights on their Chevy van (once a car guy, always a car guy). So they struck up a conversation that ended in a break from his hacking wife for him, and some good ol’ chicken soup for me.
Next stop was Mazatlan, with its cool ocean breeze, soft sand and beachside Coronitas. At least this flu bug had not fully diminished my desire for beer, good or bad. We had a roadside taco that was universally declared to be the worst taco either of us had ever eaten. But we took comfort in the fact that all the sodium we were consuming must have killed any pesky ecoli so thank god for that, taste be damned. Mazatlan was exactly what we needed it to be, especially for Iggy, who’d been a real trouper in his dog cave behind the drivers seat. I think if he knew that was a kitchen sink taking up all his room he’d be a little miffed. But the cramped quarters were all but forgotten as soon as he sniffed that ocean breeze. He then became a ball chasing, surf leaping sand magnet. And i got my coronita. And more chicken soup.
The next day we limped into Ajijic near Lake Chapala, to stay with my dad who was alerted to our diminished state and was at the ready with a massive pot of chicken soup – I seriously was not tired of this meal plan yet. Dad took me to the clinic today where the nice young doctora gave me a shot in the butt of something she assured would stop the coughing…I wasn’t about to argue. She also wants me back there tomorrow for shot #2 so i guess we’re hanging in Ajijic for an extra day. Which is fine by all of us because this is a pretty special place. A beautiful lake, cobblestone streets, roosters, street merchants calling out their wares, music blaring from car windows and casa doorways, and lots of friendly smiles and greetings. People actually say ‘good day’ to random strangers here, a custom we try to continue in Calgary, with only minimal success, and usually only at the dog park. But I digress. It feels good to be back, even if we are a little under the weather. And it feels like home, even though we’re not quite there yet. Apparently my garden in Merida looks more like Beirut than a blissful Utopian enclave, and with 4 more days of driving still ahead, we’ll take this reprieve as a chance to refuel and just enjoy the moment. Hasta la proxima vas.