- Uff it smells strong!
- Why are we stopping?
- Shit! It's the police...
Jackie tasted the Mexican culture and liked it. She wanted to celebrate the day of the dead in Oaxaca city. Sofia and I dreamed of the beach. We parted with a promise. With certain people, chemistry hits like lightning. Jackie’s childlike spontaneity and eternal cheerfulness struck a chord within me. I knew we would meet again.
The days in the city dealing with the car paperwork strangled me. I craved the freedom to wander shirtless and barefoot. The freedom to read a book, to pause and ponder. The freedom to get high and be carried into an adventure. Far from her hectic Parisian life, Sofia also fancied freedom.
This time though, I couldn’t deliver on my pitch. There was no van, no campfire on the beach, no scenery-matching playlist, no adventures… This time, the trip would be a tiny less glamorous than what I had promised her. This time... we would take the bus.
To reach the Caribbean coast we had to endure a 23h-long bus ride. I had Mateo’s book but didn’t want to take a chance with it being bad. Sofia was reading Gael Faye’s testimony of the Rwandan genocide, not the brightest read. I picked Hilarity ensues by Tucker Max from the hostel bookshelf. The guy had a funny face on the cover.
Any responsible pothead knows to never travel with weed. Drugs are easy to find, especially in Mexico. We knew that but greed corrupted our sense of responsibility. We returned to the artsy terrace to say goodbye to Mateo and brainstormed on the best way to kill boredom for the upcoming 23 hours.
Mateo said it would be hard to sleep. The road went through the Chiapas mountains. Plus every Mexican bus driver is as at heart, a professional rally racer. Mateo recommended we took sleeping pills, or edibles to help our journey. He knew a guy, obviously. It’s always handy to befriend a former thug.
Sofia had had a bad experience with edibles, she opted out. I bought a triple chocolate weed brownie as big as my hand. We said goodbye to Mateo, bought some empanadas on the way and floated toward the bus terminal.
The bus left at 6pm, and the ride was worse than Mateo’s predictions. The driver overtook cars on steep curves, making the bus swing like a pendulum with every turn. It was a challenge not to puke, let alone sleep. Three hours on the trip, the chocolate brownie was calling me. I tore the packaging and a strong smell of weed filled the air. At that exact moment the bus stopped, and the police walked in.
I threw away the packaging and shoved the brownie in my mouth, gulping it down in two seconds. My breath was stinking of weed, we had no gum. The policeman was getting closer. Sofia handed me an empanada that I stuffed into my face, then another one. He reached our seats. My heart was pounding. Sofia, calm as an angel, handed him our passports with a shy smile. He checked our visas and returned them with a nod. “GHHACHHHHIAAA” I said. The policeman walked away. Close call.
Shortly after I started Tucker Max’s book. His stories were raw and hilarious, everyone of them funnier than the previous one. A brainless page turner, my kind of reading. The more I read the louder I laughed. At some point I scared Sofia with my choking, falling of my seat while tears streamed down my face. Not sure who deserved the credit but indeed, hilarity ensued.
Sofia couldn't stand the bus anymore. She woke me up in Merida, at noon the next day. The brownie had knocked me out, I slept for 14 hours straight! With tiny eyes and a dumb smile, I followed her wherever she roamed, laughing by myself.
Adventures can happen anywhere, even on a bus ride.