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Bereft in deathly bloom

Achtung children! Swear-words ahead!

This episode of our serialised melodrama begins with recurrent character Jimmy P arriving in Ciudad de Mexico for the Dia de Muertos long weekend. Saturday was spent at my number one bohemian barrio, Coyoacán. This being a cultural centre, they didn’t disappoint, with coloured sawdust pavement murals and alters in the main squares, and the Cultural Museum putting on a display of alters in styles from across the country (I think; from minute to minute I have no idea what the dang is going on in this country) and a pantomime for the chil’uns teaching the kids about the wisdom of not being shyte-scared of the skeletons everywhere. I suspect we got the gist, even if the finer points floated off on the wind encoded in a tongue I haven’t grasped. After the show finished we went to La Casa Azul, the Frida Khalo museum, at which skeleton Fridas and Diegos tormented each other in their special, demented way. Saucy wench, she had pictures of Marx, Engels, Stalin and Mao above her bed (never mind that number 3 on that list murdered her sometime bedfellow, Leon Trotsky), and a mirror in the canopy. Lots of lovely paintings about her busted-up womb, too. After another visit to Trotsky (it seemed polite), we found what is surely now my new local, Bar Bizarro. Walls adorned with Bela Lugosi and bat-winged, partially-skeletal babies hanging from the ceiling? Indeed. Even if the precarious iron spiral staircase offers a challenge while carting up my spanky new terracotta Catrina, the guidebook, and two pints. We got chatting to a pair of locals, who we spent several hours with until the boy one worked out what we had hours earlier, that the girl one was sick of company and he was blowing the precarious balancing act that is getting a newly warm bed.

On the Sunday, we thought it clever to head out of the city to the country town of Mixquic (pronounced ‘miss-kick’, though after the thusly-revealed excitements, Jimmy P was heard to use ‘shit-kick’). It seemed easy enough: metro to Tasqueña, bus to Mixquic. The first leg was fine, what with my fine-indeed PT master-skills, but Tasqueña (how that name now fills me with dread) is cyclopean (thankyou, Señor Lovecraft) and we couldn’t find our bus amongst the multitude of others. A stupid thing to do is ask a taxi rank attendant where the bus is, and then believe their lies about it being too late to catch the bus, and how one should get a taxi. Then, a stupid thing to do is believe the driver when he gets shitty in deadlock in some town somewhere and tells one it’s really close and one should walk. More stupid is not only giving the bastard the full agreed price, but also, also, a tip. After determining where we were, and how very far from Mixquic, and inventing elaborate karmic scenarios as to what happened to that turd on the way back, we found the bus which it was ‘too late to get’ happily rolling up the road.

The fully occupied interior hummed with atmosphere under the orange glow of indicator lights, wired in as replacements for busted fluros, as we stood in the aisle and bounced along the randomly paved road. Finally, I was in South America. As the bus thinned out, we got seats right down the back, like the cool kids we are, and it was from there that we experienced the bus running over the gutter, or something of the like, and lurching maybe another kilometre down the road, until the driver pulls over, walks down the aisle to the back, opens up the hatch to the engine, reaches in, manually turns it off, fiddles around, comes out dripping oil, and gets out the back door without a word. We wait to see how the locals react, and after they start filing out, we do likewise and find the muffler and much of the exhaust system sitting out the front of the bus.

We set out down the spartan, dusty country road, with sparse and dead corn and interstitial frontier stores on either side, as utes, pick-ups and taxies with people sitting in the backs (yep, even the taxies had their boots loaded with a cargo of three or four people) periodically lit the scene a fitting reddish-orange with their tail lights. This is how we arrived in Mixquic.

This lunar cycle

April 2015
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