I waited until the day we left for Queretaro to call and tell my friend Patsy (we go waaayyy back) that we had changed our itinerary and would be seeing her that evening. What fun! It had been three years since I had seen her and Jose…in fact since June 13, 2006 when they drove into Oaxaca the night the municipal police tried to tear gas the striking teachers out of the zocalo. Haven’t seen her in Oaxaca since!
After she and Jose married in Oregon five years ago, they moved to Mexico so they could be near Jose’s aging mother after so many years working up north. A trained ESL teacher, they survive on what she makes teaching English in her home (cracker boxes are thanks to low-income housing by ex President Vicente Fox) and Jose’s meager computerized and complex mechanic work. Even though born of Mexican parents in San Francisco CA, Patsy feels isolated and lonely in this new country, she says. Interesting…
Parked the car in her fenced yard…in the care of her dog…and got a nice hotel in downtown San Juan del Rio. Drinks and dinner on me. My great pleasure. And I unloaded a few treasured magazines and books for Patsy.
The next morning after breakfast and coffee, Patty and Jose led us out to the toll road toward Mexico City so we wouldn’t have to use my GPS like we did during a Saturday fiesta day on the way in. Grrrrr. A brand new toll road cuts off after a few miles, however, toward Pueblo where we could then go on to Oaxaca. Open about a year. So we didn’t have to traverse Mexico City which can be crazy even on a Sunday. Cars are only allowed in the city on alternate days with licenses that end with even/odd numbers and we didn’t know which day was which…so the new Puebla toll road…as expensive as it was…about $30…was worth every penny.
Incidently, drivers are completely covered by Mexican insurance on the divided toll roads. Just keep your pay stub. Some are federally owned and some are owned by private corporations which are fenced to keep the animals out. A solar powered phone can be accessed every few meters from which a call to the Green Angels will bring out an ambulance and trained medical personnel. Or a mechanic. Repairs and replacement parts are free. A totaled car is replaced. A medical facility at the end of the toll will provide intermediate emergency care until transport to a nearby hospital. Now, why can’t the U.S. do this if Mexico can!?