Saturday, January 07, 2006

The One (Horse) That Got Away

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For lunch today we went to a place about twenty minutes from the house, in the middle of nowhere. As soon as we got out of the car, we were surrounded by beautiful vistas, the Colima Volcano being one of them (it last erupted in 1991). Before lunch, Scarlett and Azul dared to fly by zip line (tirolesa) across the property, over a go-cart track and a pond. They kept prodding me to do the same, refusing to accept that I like to keep my feet on the ground. And while they each paid 300 pesos for the privilege of zipping along a thin rope line, I insisted they’d have to pay me 5000 pesos to get me to do that.

After that excitement, we sat down to a hearty lunch full of “borrego", goat meat, for the rest of the family and “arrachera”, skirt steak, for me. I tried a bite of the “borrego", it had been four years since I tasted it in Querétaro; I still found it to be pretty tasty but chewy and fatty. I placed my “arrachera” onto a heavenly thick homemade tortilla that I first coated in refried beans and topped off with a dousing of lime juice.

Once we finished lunch, the girls and I made our way to the horse – there was only one available so we took turns of about five minutes each. After Scarlett rode it all the way down the hill, it was my turn next. While Azul tried to take a picture of me on the horse, he seemed impatient, as if he had somewhere to be. Once upon the horse, I started off walking slowly, with Blanca walking alongside, holding a “leash”. When she realized that I knew how to steer with the reins, she dropped the “leash.” The horse took off when, with the heels of my gym shoes, I gave him the slightest jab (apparently the one that put him over the edge). We started into a trot that quickly became a cantor and whatever is faster than that, I wanted to stop so I pulled back on the reins and yelped “para” (stop) and “no” – but the horse had a plan of its own. Every time I pulled back on the reins, his head went up and back, he slowed momentarily and then took off even faster. I didn’t want him going up on his hind legs and knocking me off, so I didn’t pull too hard on the reins. So, instead of being bucked off, the horse continued flying along, but made its way off of the dirt road and to the right side, under the trees. What was under the trees for the horse was right at face level for me – while still going full speed ahead, and being smacked in the face by a couple of branches I managed to make the horse stop. At that point I sweared up a storm, calling the horse everything but “glue”. Then, I felt warm liquid trickling down my face and looked at my yellow collared shirt that was covered in blood and yelled out, “I’m bleeding!” Blanca Yazmin caught up and took the “leash” so I dismounted, and to add insult to injury, fell onto the ground and scraped my elbows.

As I walked back up the hill, first Scarlett and Azul met me, followed by their mom. Blanca had come down when she said she couldn’t see us anymore. When I looked up at the restaurant, I could see Pepe shaking his fists in the air, as if he were cheering, so I knew he wasn’t yet aware of the bloody mess. I walked back up the mountain and reached the restaurant where I washed off my face with bottled water and then pressed ice against my forehead that minimized the massive lump to what looked like a giant mosquito bite.

I’ve spent five months in “dangerous” Mexico City – no problem. I leave the city for a short weekend in Colima, go to lunch in the middle of nowhere, take a 30-second horseback ride and just like that - problem.