My wallet went missing, I just had enough pesos to get the bus to the airport. My flight was at 2pm and it was now 10:30am, the buses ran on the hour. I said my goodbyes to the man and lady of the house. Steve translated that they wanted me to return again and that I seemed to really enjoy tequila,
‘I look haggard don’t I?’
‘No, but you did spend all of yesterday in Tequila trying tequila.’
‘I know I did! I have four bottles of the stuff to prove as much.’
I hugged my buddy the Golden Retriever whom I christened Charlie, the only one I could understand and who could understand me. Then Steve went and broke it to me that Charlie was a bitch.
‘How did I miss that?’
Steve and I said our goodbyes as he headed deeper south and I went up to Austin. I had seen the bus station before so I thought I knew where I was going but of course I got completely lost. The intense heat slowed me down as I started hunching under the weight of my backpack. I missed the 11am bus and I knew it would be too late if I managed to find the next bus.
I had 700 pesos to my name which I knew was not enough for a taxi but I flagged one all the same. I asked him how much to the airport and of course he didn’t understand me so I took out my language book and pointed to the example which was,
‘How much is it to Buenos Aires?’
Which ensued a frantic few minutes of me explaining that I did not want to go to Argentina but to the airporto! He told me I didn’t have enough but he still let me in.
He had a moustache to be proud of that dripped like liquorice over the sides of his lips. His face was covered in stubble and his gut rested lazily over his belt. He wore a short sleeved stained short and immediately I saw my Dad except in Mexican form, I warmed to him instantly.
Then there was the taxi. I went to fasten my seat-belt and he gestured not to because there was no holder. The dashboard was ripped to pieces. The side view mirrors were held to the car with black plumbing tape. There was a cavity in the middle console which was were the radio should of been. Also it could not go over 40 mph. He took my money and put in the cigarette holder and put my luggage in the back seat. The ride felt like I was being pushed along in a shopping trolley/cart.
A few miles into the journey he tells me that what I gave him was not enough for a drink. I looked at his belly in anger. Then he pointed to my MP3 player and waved at were the radio used to be. Thus ensued a fight of words that neither of us understood but I was not going to part with my dance music. We reached a silent stand off and then he pulled into a gas/petrol station to water down the overheating engine. I was riding a coffin.
Off we chugged once more only for the bickering to resume. I was starting to worry that he would leave me on the side of the road. But then a flash of genius.
I rifled through my luggage with my derriére draped outside the side window and then I grasped the golden liquid and handed it to him.
He nodded and grinned deeply, placing it in the middle console.
The lesson I learned that day is that if your product it is great it transcends language and acts as a substitute currency of sorts whether that is emotional, monetary or shared memory of good times.
*The tequila pictured was not the tequila given, it was from a tiny farm just outside Tequila.