How many one-legged men did you see yesterday?
At the end of our 6 hour drive from Tampico to the Tobago Resort in Vera Cruz, on Costa Esmerelda, I told David that we had seen four one-legged men. But I take that back. There was one on crutches at the first toll booth after we saw the half dead cat in the middle of the road, and before I didn't see the half foot tope until I caught some air over it. There was another one on crutches buying something right before we passed the ripe dead dog in the middle of the road. Then there was the one who sat in the middle of the road painting the white lines with one hand and waving his begging cap in the other. That one created our second half hour traffic jam. I am not sure that the last three counted because we had seen them on our last trip to Vera Cruz. They wait at the topes to collect. We do wonder at this phenomenon, and on the way home we will check to see if the missing leg is always the one on the right.
Driving is always an experience in Mexico, but if you do it enough, you know that it is best to take the long way around Tuxpan to avoid traffic and getting lost. You know that even though the third lane is not literally there, it can be there if you want it to be. You know which towns sport the bigger topes, which ones sport the skinny ones and which ones qualify as tourist topes or smooth vanilla like humps. Topes are the speed bumps that the Mexicans use to keep the speeders humble. Police are few and far between in this neck of the world.
Although “with the approaching Semana Santa holiday season, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico want to alert U.S citizens of the possibility of highway robberies and car jackings on popular transit routes into the interior of Mexico, including on toll roads (“cuotas”),” the traffic is so heavy that we feel quite safe. These instances take place and night, which is when we refuse to travel, not because I only have one headlight, and it is impossible to see, but because the topes and potholes take us by surprise.
Our long drive landed us in one of my most favorite places in Mexico, Taboga Resort on Costa Esmerelda[[http://www.taboga.com.mx/en/. It has been a lovely beginning to my spring break. On Thursday, I will send David back to Putney, Vermont, and meet my father in Mexico City for the remainder of my break. Then it is smooth sailing to the end of the year when I will drive my car (sin rust -- I am having some cheap body work done) back to New England for a two month stay before I return to Tampico for chapter two of my life here.