Last Mexico City Tourist Standing. My Very First Riot!
Best of: I recently updated this site. As part of that process I reviewed and removed most of the posts. Many of the photos and texts had fallen into space long ago. I will be re-entering the ones I like the best. This one was written while in Mexico City last October. There were guns.
This episode has an overlap with the Welcome Riot. I wrote the piece twice and couldn’t decide between My First Riot and this post. Thus, you are privy to both which is all right because this was a riot, dang it!
If I Ever Get Out of Mexico City alive.
At the moment, I am standing in front of the Benito Juarez International Airport. Having backed off on the ‘sorta promise’ made that I would order a car service to the hotel– I hail a taxi. (Do you know how much those car services charge?)
The taxi slows and I hobble in. Somehow Tomas manages to shove my bags in his trunk. Where could I be safer? The streets are lined with soldiers. Police, flashing lights. Bullet proof shirts are the new black. They come with masks. Some of these guys must be on the good side.
Tomas, my taxi driver, and I are only ten blocks out—if alleys count as blocks–from the airport, when a simple plan takes a major dive. Tomas stomps on the brakes, whirls, and shouts at his back seat passenger, me, “No! No! We cannot get to the Hilton from here! No! Not for you!”
Or, something like that. The only words I’m sure of are “No!” and “No Hilton!”
I babble my rehearsed speech about how important I am to the United States Government. (Yeah. That would be why I hadn’t ordered a private car.) I drop in names from the right and left wings of the government, movie stars, and a couple of Kardashians. That way Tomas would know what kind of risk he was taking to mess with this woman in black stretch jeans. The jeans that end up almost costing my life.
My man Tomas points to the panicky noise bursting out of the radio. As if the actual riot soundtrack would help me comprehend my situationin his dash. A very excited Mexican official of some sort is shouting orders. My Spanish savvy is no more able to comprehend what Radio Excited Man is saying what I couldn’t understand when Tomas gave the explanation a go. I can do okay with Spanish if people speak very slowly. Thus, my weak bilingual-ness was of little use at the moment. Maybe later, once I was tied to a chair with a bag over my head, they’d speak more slowly.
From the radio I pick up a few words—“bomberos, cerrrados, mas peligroso.” Something about water tanks—not the kind where you go fishing. The only word I’m sure about is “peligroso” since that’s what is used on panels to warn guests that the recently mopped floor is dangerous. To be fair, “bomberos” are firemen.
I look at Tomas. Tomas throws up his hands and manages to communicate that my goose is cooked. He will not take me to my hotel. I frown and fake reaching for my cell phone. He doesn’t flinch. I pull out my dead-battery, last century, Walmart $22 dollar flip-phone decorated with neon tape so I can find it in the dark, when I’m actually trying to find the similarly taped television remote.
Tomas isn’t sure what I’m holding. He cocks his head a little sideways, the way Sammie Dog does when he can’t quite figure out what he’s looking at.
Now, you’re thinking, “Run! Run crazy lady, run!”
I did check to see if the lock was down on my door. I might have even leapt out into the traffic if the computer–on which I am now sharing–hadn’t been in the trunk. But, oh well. What’s to worry? Tomas will get me out of this.
I ask Tomas, in slow, but pretty good Spanish, what our plan was.
He points to the screams on the radio again and shrugs.
He shrugged. He is so calm. Not like those passengers squealing around me when our incoming flight had to re-route due to swarms of huge black helicopters circling downtown Mexico City.
Hmmm . . . several such helicopters hover above. Hmm. Why are the crowds along the streets screaming and running?
Next: Last Mexico Tourist Standing: “Boots, Orthopedic Open-toed Boots, on the Ground Across Mexico City!”