the next morning, my feelings had followed my behaviors and i felt okay. besides, we were going to see old ruins, an activity of which i am a big fan, so i woke with excited anticipation.
the day began early. we were to meet downstairs at 7am to get on the road because it was an hour and a half drive. i should have known better by then, but i still felt frustrated when we didn’t leave until 9:30.
the feeling only grew when, after an hour and a half passed and we were still driving without an apparent destination, i realized we were lost. the mexicans hadn’t prepared. they hadn’t looked up directions, but just kind of proceeded on distant memories, driving in the general direction of the pyramids. we stopped, asked for directions, and turned around several times. two hours passed, and then three. linda and i gave each other exasperated looks. another day, wasted.
finally we arrived. i let the frustration go, replaced by my earlier feelings of excited anticipation. you could see pyramids in the distance, and we got to choose which one to visit first. we chose the one with paintings still visible and parked. getting out of the van, and not having to face teaching, the failed execution of my meticulously planned curriculum, or abused women was like a breath of fresh air. everyone seemed released from the burden of the week’s activities. my advisor was jolly even.
i borrowed thor’s camera and took to documenting our trip. i took the liberty of occasionally walking away from the group to capture the ruins, climbing up pyramids or walking off the beaten path to get a new angle, or to take a detail shot of the construction. we walked around for about two hours, in and out of pyramids, through cavernous rooms with stone carvings and painted walls. those that had been preserved were spectacular in their rich colors and designs. then thor asked if we were hungry at all, which, of course we were because it’d been a long morning and breakfast was at 7am. he suggested stopping to eat somewhere quick, or getting a quick snack like ice cream and then continuing on to the next pyramid.
the mexicans had other ideas.
we loaded back into the van and drove around for 30 minutes, passing several restaurants. i wasn’t sure what criteria they were using to make a decision, so i just waited to see. finally we pulled into an empty restaurant. not really a good sign, but they seemed to be okay with it. we sat down. i ordered a shot of tequila and another cocktail. because fuck. yes.
the food came. it was hit or miss. then, a huge platter arrived with little bowls on it. linda looked at it with disgust and pushed away her plate. i wasn’t sure what the big deal was so i peered into the little bowls.
the little bowls were filled with insects. some of them might have even been moving but i don’t really remember.
one of the mexicans took a tortilla and dumped a little pile of insects on it. he might have added some lettuce and salsa. then he rolled it up and took a huge bite. my stomach turned. i drank my tequila.
thor told me to try it. i said no, but by the end of my *next* shot of tequila, i was ready. there were three puny little insects in the bowl. i picked out a medium sized one and put it on my tongue while thor took a picture. linda scooted her chair away from me in revulsion. i took the plunge and pulled my tongue into my mouth. the little insect rolled around a little before i ground it in my teeth. the shell disintegrated with a small crunch. it tasted a little like barbequed chicken. i smiled and put my arms in the victory position while thor took another picture.
by the time the meal had ended, it started to rain. we tried to go to another pyramid but it had closed. it was the end of the day already. we’d spent 2 hours waiting and 3 hours driving to spend two hours at an actual pyramid and another 1 or 2 hours sitting at a restaurant. we had to head back to our hotel.
the next day, we were to leave to our next mexican destination: hermosillo. i was SO happy to be leaving mexico city, to leave the dirt, grime, dejection, pain, and frustration behind. i teased linda, who for some unexplainable reason had chosen a flight that left at 6am, and would have to wake up at 3:30am to get to the airport. meanwhile, i relaxed in PJs, packed in leisure and spent the evening watching netflix and playing candy crush. we’d made it! in hermosillo, we would be staying in a lovely hotel, with a pool and exercise room and good food. the city was nice, clean, and relatively similar to where we lived in the states. it was going to be a vacation, compared to the last week. i fell asleep peacefully, ready to turn the page and escape mexico city.
little did i know…that mexico city wouldn’t let us go so easily…