Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Van ride, wild ride!

Against my better judgment I volunteered to take the young people to a youth activity this past Saturday...the whole way across Mexico City. Although the distances are not huge, maybe 45 miles, the traffic and construction which further confounded the traffic is outrageous. No one who drives in the U.S., except maybe those who live in large cities, can even comprehend how challenging it is to drive 45 miles in Mexico City, much of it through the heart of Mexico City.

How many people fit into a 2003 Astro van? Turns out a lot of kids who said they were going didn't, which was good and bad. It was bad because the video conference theme, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," by Josh Harris was good. It was bad, because I'm not sure how we could have fit many more than the 11 people that ended up squeezing in the van.

11 people...that's 4 in the back seat, 4 in the middle seat, and one small kid on the wooden box that my dear father made (not as a seat...but it works), between the two front seats. We were off...a bit late, but hey, this is Mexico!

There are about 5 ways to get from where we live to where the conference was, none of them very good options. People who live outside of Mexico City hardly ever have to drive through it now, as several new bypasses have been built, including the "Arco Norte" that goes from San Juan del Río to Puebla, and the "Circuito Exterior Mexiquense" which bypasses the northern part of the city. We actually took advantage of part of this toll road, managing to go FAST for about 10 minutes. The speed limit in Mexico, as I fairly frequently remind people, is "as fast as you can go!" Usually that's not very fast. Oftentimes it's painfully, agonizingly slow.

I won't describe the whole trip...I'll just hit the high (low) points. About 40 minutes into our 1 hour and 40 minute trip, I heard a bit of commotion coming from the back seat. Apparently someone had thrown up. Yes, yes, someone indeed had! I pulled over, and we cleaned up as best we could, the scent being convincing covered over by my son's Axe deodorant (don't ask). As 10 of the 11 of us poured out onto a sidewalk, I saw a policeman giving us extra attention, and sure enough, he came over and asked me for my papers. He was hoping that I hadn't had my van inspected, but alas I had. We continued on our way.

About an hour later, as we were now getting close to our destination, kid #2 decided to hurl. This boy was the one seated between my seat and the passenger seat (on previously mentioned wooden box), so David Gómez grabbed him quickly and held him head-first out the front passenger-side window. That was pretty. Even more so when...it...dried.

On the way back to pick the group up, I got hit in my front windshield by...a small, black bolt. It just fell out of the sky and was caught by one of my windshield wipers. I kept it just for fun. Fortunately it did not nick my window.

Our return trip was much nicer! No vomit. No police. Almost too tame!

I've included a picture of the van ride, taken even before things got dicey. Notice Tiffany's face.

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