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 Sinclairification by Grant Sinclair

Zipolete, 28, 29, 30 May 1999

28 May 2009

This was perhaps the most enjoyable, relaxing part of this trip for me.  Three days on the Pacific Coast of Ziploete in South Oaxaca were perfect.  Every day we would wake up, walk to the ocean, eat something and maybe sleep in a hammock.  We would swim, play, sing or do nothing.  No responsibilities, No Worries.  The treasure, however, was the rocky ride getting there.

This is where we learn a lesson in tolerance.  No, not how much alcohol a person can drink before the ruin their shoes, I’m talking about patience.  Composure.  Keeping your cool.  Also having a strong stomach doesn’t hurt.  In order to get from Oaxaca to Zipolete, we (Catrina, Tahirih, Many Keith, Jodi, Maggie, Amy, Starla, Andrea and Dr. and Mrs. Vougel) had to take public transportation.  Fine, no problem, I’ve ridden on buses before.  This, however, was a little different.  We were forewarned by the people who had taken this route to take some Dramamine to keep our stomachs calm.  I didn’t, and I was fine.  However…

The bus ride was about 11 hours long.  I will say that again, because it’s a really, really long time to be on a damn bus.  Eleven hours.  Not on a straight road like I-75, either.  These roads twisted and turned at frightening speeds through the Mexican jungle, and up and down a mountain range.  Sure, it may not sound that badly sitting here reading it, but it was awakening.  The situation we ran into, however was that the bus would stop every time there was a person on the side of the road who needed a ride, so we would travel about six miles every twenty minutes.  Really.

Ordinarily I don’t have a problem with picking up people on a bus route, but that’s when I’m in a city.  We’re all trying to get someplace, man!  Let’s move it!  It was our mistake that we did not take the direct bus, but instead took what is known as the “collectivo” route.  Same route, only this one picks up people along the way.

The only problem with picking people up is that this was a sold out trip.  There were no places left for people to sit, so instead of the driver telling people they can’t get on, they file into the aisle.  That was okay, until there were so many people that the line went all the way to the front of the bus, where I was sitting with Mandy.  Tahirih and Keith were across the aisle from us, and the crowding was so bad, one woman gave Tahirih her baby to hold.  I didn’t expect that.  Mandy was immediately jealous, nudging me and encouraging me, “Hey.  Get us a kid, man.”

The most uncomfortable part of the bus ride was when an older man was in the aisle next to me.  Fine.  Then he starts to hit me with his bag.  And give me dirty looks.  And an elbow here and there to my head while he’s pretending to look the other way and not notice.  I got angry, but I controlled myself.  I was calming down, but got really upset after the line had cleared out and he could have stood anyplace, but instead stood RIGHT NEXT TO ME.  I got angry again, but was quickly subdued by my friends.

After the bus ride was over, we piled into a couple of taxicabs and headed to our hotel rooms.  These were rustic, authentic beach rooms, with little more than a door, pair of beds, toilet and shower to it.  We all slept really well that night, but the sound of clanging hammers not 50 feet from my head shook me from my slumber at about 7:30 the next morning.  I went downstairs to tell them to stop, but they explained to me that it wasn’t the hotel, it was the business next to it.  Different business, same building. They stopped for about a half-hour, then began, but we were all up weather we wanted to be or not.

The next days were filled with nothing.  My fondest memories include lying in a hammock neighboring Maggie’s, being swung back and forth by Catrina, playing “Havana Daydreamin’” on my guitar, the only part of Maggie that was visible to me was her finger, swinging carelessly to the beat of the music.  I remember splashing in the Pacific Ocean, an old friend of mine who I have now visited from three different directions.  It has been on the South (Mexico), West (California), and East (Australia).

I remember fishing my friends out of the sea,staying up late to play music for them under a beautiful, perfect Mexican Pacific moon, and two for one specials on really bad drinks.  I remember thinking that life may never be like this again, but enjoy it now.  And we all did.  Aside from the fact a couple of my friends got ill on God knows what (food, fruit, water, I don’t know), it was a successful trip.  There were no casualties, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  Granted, it was only two days, but it was great.

The trip back to Oaxaca was a lot smoother.  That, and I was doped up on Dramamine.  A few people spent a few extra dollars on a different bus that was direct.  It was air conditioned, had televisions, and curtains.  I pulled my curtain closed as soon as I got on board and went to sleep.  I woke up in time for dinner, which was as pictureesque as the weekend had been.  It was at an outdoor restaurant, where we ate pizza and had a perfect view of the mountains as the sun began to sink slowly behind them.

It did not take us another eleven hours to get back, because this was the direct bus.  I didn’t see much through my eyelids, though I did stay awake long enough to watch Sinbad the Sailor, I think.  It was all in Spanish and featured a man in the lead role who was like the Latino Jim Carrey.  However, this film was in black and white, so it was before many of us ever saw Jim.  The trip ended nicely, and we all had to go back to school the next day, but it was worth it.

© 2009

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