SMr Road Trip Mississippi to Nicaragua
Day 10 - October 12th - San Juan del Río, Mexico to Puebla, Mexico
We awoke early looking out our window at a gorgeous view of the courtyard. Two peacocks stretched their feathers and I tried calling to them, but I sounded more like a screeching turkey and the peacocks retreated behind the shrubbery. In the lobby of Misión San Gil, cafe de ollo (boiling coffee), was being served from a simmering ceramic pot and ladled into ancient looking ceramic cups. We wasted no time getting back onto the road and stopped in downtown San Juan del Río to see a little of it before leaving town. We wandered into an old abandoned building in San Juan del Río just before heading out.
Eli assured us that Shakira was just fine to hit the road today ... 30 miles later the engine died again on highway 57 to Mexico City! We couldn't help but laugh as we cursed Shakira's name. But again luck was on our side as we rolled into a small town that must have been the mecánico capital of the world. The streets were literally lined with tire shops, radiator shops, and specialty shops for every part of the car. Amanda left Eli and I at the car as we flipped through the tech manual and tried each fuse from a newly purchased bag of them that we had picked up after discovering that we had blown a fuse.
Amanda headed just down the street and located an electrical shop whose owner introduced her to a very trustworthy electrician. He soon pulled up in a rusty old Datsun with his 12 year old son riding shotgun. We took Manuel, the electrician, and his son to where Shakira lay resting. Eli stayed behind to assist with the electrician and Amanda and I left to get some breakfast.
A little while after we arrived at the restaurant, Eli rolled up in Shakira. She was sporting a brand new "hot-wired" system connecting the battery to the fuel pump solenoid. We all ordered huevos rancheros for 30 pesos each, less than 3 dollars. I left a big tip for our lovely waitress and her family. We walked out of the restaurant with smiles and well wishes after having had great food and spectacular service.
Our original goal was to make it to Oaxaca City, and our route led us straight through Mexico City. The traffic in Mexico City was oppressive, the air pollution rivaling that of Monterrey. We passed by a huge music festival that was clogging the roads with excited young festival goers. While stuck in the traffic, a stressed driver in a black Escalade pulled up next to us, the tinted back windows rolled down, and we were accosted by several pretty Latinas.
"Are you going to Corona Capital?"
they asked, which was apparently the name of the music festival. Attempting to answer
and instead explain what exactly we were doing, they interrupted blowing kisses my way and repeating,
to me, which gave us all a good laugh. They kept forcing their wild-eyed driver to try and maneuver the Escalade up beside us, giggling and flirting in the stop and go traffic. Eli was loving every second and was very tempted to stop the car and buy tickets to "Corona Capital."
I will say, the drive in and through Mexico City was a struggle for all of us, but the drive out of the city about wiped it from our memory. As the roads started becoming a bit more steep and the sun began to set, we pulled over and had a moment of silence for the beauty that was suddenly all around us. (Oh...and also because Shakira's old hips weren't taking the inclines well.)
The decision to bear straight through the center of Mexico City turned what should have been a 2 hour and 45 minute trip into an eight hour day. Five hours of which we spent sitting in traffic being visually undressed by Latina lovas in black Escalades. Puebla is a far cry from our goal of Oaxaca City, but it's where we ended up. We pulled into a Marriott. The bellman's teeth shook from the sound of Shakira's engine, as we parked behind a shiny BMW. We slumped into our room, dirty and ragged after a stress filled, wild ride through one of the biggest cities in the world.