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Trying to leave Mixquic at 2am, the majority of traffic was inbound rather than outbound, and the majority of bus drivers and guys who hang out the bus door (like bus squires? Yes, this will do) unhelpful and obnoxious. However, with the help of some young folk who delayed their night to help us, and a fellow directing traffic with little else to do when not waving his rag to shoo cars, we got on a bus, with the understanding we would change at some point.

It was at this point, when we got away from the crowds, that we saw the authentic Day of the Dead observances. Down a quiet residential road, many of the gates in the walls surrounding the properties were open, and families were solemnly keeping vigil in fold-up chairs and tending the wood fires they kept on the foot paths. Occasionally children threw fire crackers into the fires, or waved and then ran off to hide when we waved back, to the amusement of their older relatives. Sadly, from a mostly moving bus we could not take photographic record of these small and poignant scenes.

After only a few kilometres (not ‘kays’, other English speakers look at you funny when you say that), we were dropped at a deserted intersection with the rest of our fellow travellers, and told to wait for another scheduled bus. That never came. This was when the temperature seemed to plunge. Soon, an intersection window washer turned up and started directing people into taxies, random passing cars that would stop, or any other mode of transport that presented itself. His motives are still a mystery to me, ranging from why he was allocating transport, to why he had his detergent and squeegee at 2.30am at an intersection abandoned except for bus refugees. Eventually, a privately operated bus (imagine a standard bus, with the same paint job, but done up like the muscle car of a, erm… young man in Australia of Mediterranean descent, sticker obscuring most of the windscreen, black lit interior and all) pulls up, and the window washer convinces him to turn around and starts herding people aboard, declaring the destination to be Tasqueña. Suddenly, a massive crowd appears from no-where and pushes onto the bus. Despite Jimmy P’s certainty he saw this very bus involved in a crash earlier in the day, we assume safety in numbers and follow along. The window washer adopts the role of bus squire, and we are off, with the back door of the bus open for most of the trip, and the lady nearest to it, and thus most blasted by cold air and most at risk of falling out, screaming out for it to be closed at random intervals. All this for the equivalent of 50 cents.

Several kilometres down the road, the window washer bus squire decides he would rather go elsewhere than Tasqueña. A mother in her fifties with her three early-twenties young’uns shouts him down, and we are back on the way to Tasqueña.

Getting to Tasqueña half an our later, the station is empty, the washer squire gives us vague directions to head north before his new charter operation moves off elsewhere. We head through the abandoned and massive Tasqueña bus station, with only the woman in her 50s and kids, and decide to more or less stay close to them as far as out paths coincide. A couple of kilometres down the road, the same private bus passes us, but headed back to Tasqueña. Strange. Eventually crossing a major highway and trying to hail a taxi, a member of the family chases us down the road, asks us where we are going, and insists we can’t get a taxi or walk as it isn’t safe. At 3am, in the freezing cold, this family insists on waiting with us until they can hail a taxi they are comfortable with us taking and introducing us as their friends so as we might be even safer.

This was the tone of the day. Despite the fact we were jibbed on the way to Mixquic by an unscrupulous taxi driver, and encountered cranky PT staff at other points, one bus squire where the taxi dumped us waited with us to ensure we got a correct bus, while at Mixquic locals concerned for our safety urged us to be cautious, and outbound we were helped at Mixquic by young people who had better things to do, and again at Tasqueña by this family. These truly are good people who go out of their way to offer assistance to visitors.

After well earnt sleep to ease out aching joints, JP and I went back to Coyoacán on the Monday for to purchase more skeletons. Finding some nice ones, but fearing we were ripped off, we headed back to the Metro via another market, and at each step were stopped by clearly well-educated and affluent Mexicans, delighted with our purchases and enquiring where we had found them. We were many times informed we had in fact found excellent bargains. Photos of my procurements are in the gallery. Sadly I failed to take pictures of James’, and this is a pity as apparently it has been banished to some dark cupboard.

And thus, Dia de Muertos is finished until another year passes.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
docmatrix
Nov. 9th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
That was such a good night. We got to make the locals chuckle by acting like typical gringos, experience some proper Mexican culture, enjoy some whacky adventures and get shown again just how awesome and friendly the locals are.

I'll try to get my photos organised soon, and I'll take a pic of my Catrina to show off to all. I'll also make sure to get our new album cover posted up somewhere too...

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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