Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hola Colima

Getting to the bus station was a voyage in itself – switching from the blue line to the olive green one at the Hidalgo stop and then from the olive green to the yellow at the La Raza stop only to disembark one stop later at Autobuses del Norte. For such a modern and efficient metro system, I can’t figure out for the life of me why there are escalators at some stations, but NOT at the one that connects to the bus station. As I emerged from the metro, my jaw lowered in astonishment of the crowd ahead. At 8:20 p.m. on a Tuesday night I hadn’t expected such a mob. I found the ETN counter and was further surprised that there wasn’t a bus for Colima at 9:30, as is shown on their website, but instead one at 9:45 and one at 9:55. When the attendant asked which one I wanted, I wasn’t sure if it was a rhetorical question so I waited a moment before uttering “9:30” and wanted to follow it by saying, “duh”- until I saw that the only three seats remaining were in the last rows, right by the toilet. So, I opted for the 9:55 where I had a single seat right up front.

It was the perfect start to the trip when I was able to move to two empty seats and have room to lie down. I was lulled to sleep by the desperate cries from the little girl behind me, begging her grandma to unbuckle her seatbelt even though her grandma insisted that she would fall. I woke up several times during the ten-hour ride, including when we reached Guadalajara, about 7 hours from Mexico City, to change drivers. I was pretty awake at that point so I listened to the rest of my audio book, Naked, by David Sedaris. The book is made up of such funny stories that I went to sleep with a smile on my face for another couple of hours.

When I next awoke we were pulling into the extremely tranquil Colima bus station, another world from big city station from which we had left. Blanca and Blanca Yazmin met me there and they looked so much the same, just a bit older, and were driving the same dark brown square shaped car that I remember from four years ago.

Blanca had told me on the phone that they had moved just a couple blocks away from the three bedroom, one bathroom apartment that I had known. I was really surprised when we stopped in front of a nice sized purple house and then was quite impressed upon seeing all of its space and two bathrooms, three bedrooms and a large patio area in back.

After I had some scrambled eggs and orange juice I slept until one o’clock. By then Scarlett had taken off with her boyfriend Enrique and Blanca, Yazmin, Azul and I sat around talking until 3:00 p.m. when we went to lunch at my favorite restaurant, Mi Ranchito. There I had my usual, chicken fajitas. Nostalgia often plays with one’s mind, making memories sweeter than reality, but in this case everything was better, except for the slow service. The tortillas were home made and the thickest and freshest I’ve ever had.

From there we drove to Colima’s center, just about a five-minute drive from the house. Along the way Blanca pointed out all of the new stores, of which there are many. Much has been added across from the small shopping center, Plaza Country. Now there is the bakery El Globo, a bank, a cell phone, Burger King and Waldo’s (a dollar store) and then, like the sign of the apocalypse, sits Sam’s Club.

The new stores have spurred more traffic and life into Colima. The center is also much livelier and prettier than I remembered. As we walked around, I was reminded of Colima’s humidity and thankful that at least it was a cloudy day. In this coldest month of January, Colima’s weather averages highs in the 80s Farenheit and lows in the upper 50s with humidity being more than 50%. On our way back home, we stopped at Sam’s Club, which sits on the main street that led to where Carrie had lived. We spent the night relaxing in front of the TV, watching The OC, Reunion and Related. When Pepe came back from work, it was just like old times with the whole family spending the evening relaxing in the living room.