Somewhere between Ajijic and Talaquepaque I decided that it was time for me to start carrying a big girl purse. For about the past six years, I have basically carried a wallet on a string. I am not the conventional purse type. So as we boarded the bus to take us back to Guadalajara, I proudly showed off my woven backpack. Now mind you, I had absolutely nothing to put in my new purse/backpack, but I figured I could google common purse items when we returned to San Carlos and then stock it full.
In the meantime, I loaded it up the next morning with my wallet on a string, my Kindle, and my passport for our quick trip to the glass blowing factory and arts and crafts stores in Tonalá. I did not for a minute think I was going to have time to read, and no, one does not need a passport to travel from Guadalajara to Tonalá. It is just that I really had no where else to put these things, and I was new to the whole purse thing. I put on my backpack and proceeded to the taxi that was waiting. Then I immediately took it off because have you ever tried to sit in a taxi with a backpack on?
There is a complicated button and a string closure that I had not quite mastered. Okay, not exactly complicated, but time consuming. I figured it would be easier, and a whole lot quicker, if I had my old purse out and ready to go when it came time to pay the driver. Once I had it, I began the process of closing the backpack again. Business attended to, I sat back and enjoyed the ride.
Steve, another friend from the tour, and I chatted with the driver along the way. After introductions were made, he was most interested in talking to us about hiring him for the half day trip. Three more members of our group were in the taxi behind us. We let Rodrigo know that we needed to discuss the plan with the other group before making a decision.
After a quick stop at a glass factory outside of town, we all jumped back into our taxis and headed to the central shopping area. We consulted with the other group upon arrival and decided we would just wander around and look for another cab to take us back to the hotel later. We figured we could cover more ground on foot, and it was not necessary for Rodrigo and his buddy to sit around and wait for us.
We had just walked out of the first shop we visited when Steve, who was walking behind me, asked me where my backpack was. Wow. I guess I was really going to stink at this purse thing. It was, of course, in the cab. For some reason, I remained fairly calm about the fact that my Kindle and passport were now gone. I had my cash and my temporary resident card. I was not leaving Mexico anytime soon. And really, I preferred reading books I could hold in my hand. Steve, however, was not as calm about this. He had been carrying a backpack the entire trip so far and had not lost it once.
We did the only thing we could do. We called one of our tour guides, who was at the hotel. We explained what happened and gave him the name of the cab driver. How many Rodrigos could there possibly be driving a cab in the second largest city in Mexico, right?
Please bear with me here as I digress.
I often hear the phrase “That’s Mexico” from north of the border friends and acquaintances, community members, and posters on ex-pat sites. And when they use those words, they mean them in the same way southerners mean “bless his heart”. “That’s Mexico” is used repeatedly in a derogatory, demeaning way. Any complaint, any inconvenience, any difference is immediately followed by the phrase “That’s Mexico”. No, really, it is not.
Within five minutes we heard back from our tour guide. Rodrigo had been located. He confirmed that the backpack was still in the backseat. He was racing toward the hotel, where he would leave my bag for me at the front desk. He was at the hotel when I returned to assure me my backpack was there, unopened and safe.
That’s Mexico, at least the one that I know.