The size that it is makes Mexico a challenging country to navigate as vast distances are required to travel from one landmark city to another. Part of the fun of the place is that people like to travel these vast distances by bus which, for anyone who has had the horror of using a replacement bus service in london, may seem barbaric!!! But I have to point out that these are no ordinary busses. The comfortable, air-conditioned cabin with its reclining chairs and Toilet facilities, which would impress a Frenchman if found beside an autoroute in the Dordogne, are as nicer place as any to spend 10 consecutive hours in the same place. And fortunately the road to Tampico provided us with a splendid view.
Unfortunately the view of the tropical mountain pass was obstructed by a rather large Mexican and my bodies uncanny ability to find itself fatigued when in a moving vehicle. But from what I could make out it looked like it would have been a nice place too stop off and have a gander at. But spontaneous idolness is not a part of the job description for a Mexican bus driver who sees the journey as a race between himself and the estimated time of arrival. This was good news for us as we arrived in Tampico after around 9 hours and 3 minutes of travel.
Pao's sister Melissa picked us up from the bus stop and took us to Pao home. It was far hotter than in Mexico City (thank god) but the moistness in the air and the cooling sea breeze made it quite comfortable. The evening's sun was setting fast so we quickly decided to make our way to Pao's families country club (they were members, they didn't own it). It was an idillic place as far away from Lucha Libre as it is possible to be. Behind the infinity pool there was a golf course, behind which there was a beautiful estuary behind which there was the orange setting sun. Even the oil refineries in the distance we a thing of beauty in the abstract. This was a place where you could make the most out of doing nothing.
We were in Tampico until saturday so we had time to go to the beach, the pool and repeat. on wednesday we went to the beach which had waves twice the size of the ones in Santa Monica and currents that, if they were a man trying it on with a lady would have been coming on a little to strong. They sucked you in and pulled you left from right and then the waves chucked you forwards. This time I had the foresight to not wear my sunglasses in the ocean so there was no damage done.
Pao's family has a beach house so close that it is practically on the beach which has its own shared pool if the sea isn't tranquil enough for you (which was true in our case). We had the sea food smorgasbords to end all smorgasbords for lunch. I didn't know there were so many different ways to eat crabs!!! It was simply delicious.
In the evening we went to see Grown Ups in the local cinema. The Mexican cinematic experience is thwarted by a slight lack of common sense which doesn't at all ruin what ever it is you are seeing but it does leave a cynical westerner like me wondering why they don't do things our way. When you buy a ticket in the uk one of the things you get with the ticket is a seat number so that you know where to sit. Unfortunately this uncomplicated piece of information was left out of the Mexican version of "Running a Cinema for Dummies" so all you get it the ticket, as for finding a seat you are left to your own devices. If you want to get a good seat then it seems you have to show up at the cinema before you've even had the idea that you want to see a film so that you are towards the front of the line which forms outside the doors for the screen of the film of your future choice. Alas we were not so forward thinking and were therefore right at the front, of the cinema. Fortunately Adam Sandler's latest comedy piece was not ruined by the distorted picture which happens when you sit so close.
There is one other addition to the Mexican cinematic experience, though I am told this isn't a regular occurrence. Before the film a mock star wars beginning started and Lau told me that the rolling Yellow font was a request to turn of mobile phones etc, so I paid no attention to it. Then, towards the end, suddenly all the women in the audiences stared shout "no!!!!!' "no!!!!!!!!" this needed no translation, something was up. Then the cries were of "propuesta!!!" "propuesta!!!" this did need a translation, Lau said it was a marriage proposal, for Olga, on their one year anniversary, or so the scrolling yellow font said, apparently. Well I was reliable informed that she said "si" so it was a nice start to the film about middle-aged men struggling through the mundane rapidity of Family life, I wonder if they stayed until the end? At least it wasn't Kramer Vs Kramer.
More to follow,