there is no escape from the reality of death
I had traveled to an area a couple hundred kilometers or more south of Mexico City. I had been traveling over uninteresting highways, but now I had finally reached my destination – a small village tucked away in a scenic area off the highway. I was walking, and as soon as I turned off the highway unto a small road surrounded with dense vegetation, I could feel the difference. The surroundings were lush and primitive, just what I wanted. By the time I made it to the streets of the village, I had decided I would probably stay for about a week, and I hoped to come back on a regular basis. The first thing I needed right now was a place to spend the night.
As I walked past small adobe houses, I hoped to see a sign advertising "Room for Rent," but I quickly reached the end of the street without seeing anything. On both sides ahead of me rose tall mountains. Only now did I notice that the village extended into the valley between the mountains, and that the part of the village in the valley looked much larger and appeared to have some buildings larger than those around me now. I saw a path which looked like a short-cut - off the little road I was treading - to the main part of the village and when a woman walked down the path, I followed her.
Following the woman, I gradually realized we were walking through the white hallways of a large building. The present hallway led through one room after the other, most of which contained beds. I thought the intrusive hallway left little privacy for the people in the rooms, although no one was in any of the beds at the moment. As the woman and I continued walking, I began thinking that these rooms might be for rent and that I might be able to rent one for myself tonight. The rooms, however, were sparsely furnished, and with the lack of privacy, they didn't much appeal to me. I would only take one if nothing better were available. At one point the hallway branched into two directions, one branch going down some steps lower than the other branch. The woman took the lower branch and I took the upper one. I continued on my way alone through the labyrinth trying to find my way out.
Again I found myself walking down a small road surrounded by jungle. I looked back and saw that I had exited the large white building where the many rooms had been. I didn't have a good feeling about that building, and I thought I would only return there if necessary. Ahead of me lay the rest of the village, where I hoped to have better luck. Meanwhile, I noticed the sound of the jungle all around me, especially the parrots in the trees overhead, and I was thrilled at the feeling of being where I was.
I was carrying a back pack on my back, and I thought I also had a sleeping bag. If necessary I could sleep out on the ground, although that thought didn't really appeal to me, especially since there seemed to be large numbers of insects in the area. In my right hand I was carrying a sledge hammer, using it as a walking cane, with the hammer part in my hand. I also noticed I wasn't wearing any shoes, but only socks, a fact which bothered me, because I was concerned about what someone might think when I went inside to rent a room. I didn't know how I would explain my shoeless feet and I knew I needed to buy some nice white tennis shoes as soon as possible. Otherwise, I didn't feel any discomfort from being without shoes.
As I approached the main part of the village, I could see what looked like a warehouse nearby. Through the large open doors of the warehouse I could see men working inside. I also slowly realized that large machines were quickly filling bags with potatoes. Ears of corn were also apparently being bagged. The potatoes would fall down from the machines above into the bags below. I was impressed by how fast the bags were being filled.
Watching the enterprise, I soon began thinking I might be able to use what I was seeing to my advantage. I recalled that the Mexican peso had recently been devalued by 30%, which meant that goods could be bought more cheaply in Mexico. If I, for example, were to buy truckloads of potatoes and haul them to the United States, I should be able to make a handy profit.
The idea intrigued me. I would need to become acquainted with the people in Mexico and establish business relationships. I would then need to find a market for the potatoes in the United States. I realized this village was a long haul from the United States, but if I were going to be traveling to the village anyway, I might as well make a profit at it. I would need a truck and I might have to borrow money to buy one. I didn't think borrowing the money would be difficult, and I began imagining the interview where I would seek the funds. The interviewer, a man dressed in a brown suit, would ask me about myself. I would tell him that I was a lawyer and that I loved the law. I would explain that I wanted to use some of my other skills, such as my knowledge of Spanish. I thought I would get the loan.
When I reached the main part of the village, I was driving my 1985 red BMW. I was slightly disconcerted by being in the car, because I knew I would need a place to park, something with which I hadn't been concerned when I had been walking. I drove past several large buildings, but I didn't see anything which looked like a hotel. Finally, ahead of me on my left, I saw a five or six story building with a hotel sign on it. The building - constructed of brick and probably 50-100 years old - appeared to have been elegant at one time, and I wondered if it had been well maintained inside.
Close to the building was a brick church of an elaborate architectural design. The church had several intricate spires and arches, and might have had writing on it. I thought that the church was quite peculiar and that it might not even be a Christian church. The church made me want to stay in this village and get to know the people more than ever.
I parked the car and stepped out. I was still only wearing socks and I was still concerned by what someone might think. I headed for the building with the hotel sign, wondering how much a room would cost. I thought the room would probably cost about $30 (more than I wanted to spend), but if the hotel were a good one, it would be worth it. When I started to walk into the building, however, I suddenly realized that the first floor of the building had been converted into a hardware store and wasn't a hotel at all. I backed up and looked at the face of the hotel again. I now saw a second sign which said "tercero piso" which apparently meant that the hotel was on the third floor. Also on the sign was a picture of a man pointing to a second entrance. When I looked at the second entrance, I thought I saw a man going through it, so I walked over to it.
When I reached the second entrance, I was immediately surprised. The door was small – only about 20 centimeters wide and 60 centimeters tall. I could see large stone steps inside which led upwards.
I also noticed that spider webs were covering the entrance. The spider webs surprised me since I thought I had just seen someone go through the door. I couldn't figure how a spider could have made a web so fast after that last person had passed through. After I picked up a stick and began tearing down the well formed web, the webbing of which led to the center of the web, I thought I saw a yellow spider scurrying across the web.
As I scraped off the webbing from the stick on a rock next to me, large black ants suddenly appeared and ran up to the web which hang from my stick. Obviously the ants wanted to eat the spider, although I didn't think I had actually captured the spider in the web on my stick. It looked as if the ants weren't interested in eating the web, although I wasn't sure of that. As I scraped the last of the web off the stick, a large brown roach about five centimeters long ran up and bit my left index finger.
I took the stick and pressed it down on the roach to kill it, but to my chagrin, the body of the roach came off, leaving its head attached to my finger. I tried to pull off the head, but it didn't want to come off at first. Finally I did manage to pull the head of the roach off my finger.
As I prepared to pass through the little doorway, I was concerned that my back pack wouldn't fit. My back pack, however, was the least of my worries – my head wouldn't even fit through the doorway. This was indeed a dilemma. How did the hotel hope to have people enter when the doorway was so small?
I backed up, looked again, and saw yet another normal-sized door through which I walked and found myself in a basement pilled full of junk. I headed toward another door at the rear of the basement, hoping that it would lead to the stairs of the hotel.
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