[ Ciudad de Mexico ]
[ 2022-Jan-30: Though it now lies far behind me, the route between #Suchil and #Zacatecas was challenging: short-yet-eventful. I told you about the unexpected rodeo near San Jose de Mesillas, and the rainstorm anniversary party in Corrales. What I never got around to sharing was more subtle, but for me truly special: it was a quiet evening of go-carts, camaraderie, and kindness at the literal end of the road: a ranch town named Santa Rosa, near #Fresnillo, Zacatecas. ]
I rolled into this tiny community late in the afternoon, sun-burnt, spent, and starving. My maps and the frequent road signs had my hopes up: surely Santa Rosa would have a small eatery. That meant fresh food! Cold soda!
But no. The tiny road through town was deserted except for some men working on a car in front of their house; the stores were closed. I asked the men about food, and they sent me around a corner to the town’s small tienda (a small convenience store, basically) where I could at least get the usual chips, pastries, and a cold drink.
The tienda was closed, too, but this is normal: in small villages you often need to ask around or ring a bell—somehow alert the proprietor to your presence. While I was sorting this out, a small group gathered to examine the afternoon’s oddity, aka me, and ask about my strange bike, my journey and my origins. They sent someone to fetch the shopkeeper. Another asked me if I liked chicken (“yes”). The men who had been working on the car joined us and bought a six-pack of Modelo from the now-open tienda. They asked if I drank beer (“yes”). A cold cerveza appeared in my hand.
Soon after, a well-dressed, graceful woman appeared from the house next to the tienda. Let’s call her “The Matriarch”® The Matriarch greeted me formally (yet warmly, welcoming), handing me a plate full of freshly prepared chicken tacos. Insanely delicious chicken tacos. (Apropos nothing, all the town’s dogs immediately stopped what they were doing and surrounded The Matriarch, obediently and lovingly—no doubts about who looks out for them and fills their bellies!)
For the next two hours or so I sat there with these wonderful strangers, sharing stories, laughs, hopes, cervezas, and go-cart rides. (More on the go-carts appears in the image captions.) After darkness settled in, one of the women produced a key, unlocking a small building where she (I think) served as the town barber and beautician. Furniture was cleared, the floor swept, mats summoned, and I was instructed to make myself at home. My new friends shook my hand, said goodnight and goodbye, and left me to enjoy my makeshift motel room.
The next morning, Santa Rosa still slept as I rode away. The sun just peeking over the horizon, I followed my GPS out of town onto the unpaved road beyond. Soon I was riding past dew-covered wildflowers and the morning’s shift of farm workers driving tractors out into the fields between Santa Rosa and Ermita de los Correa. It was a new day; it would bring a new set of towns and strangers and challenges and stories.
Such is the nature of this life: strangers are met and become friends, misconceptions are dispelled and lessons learned, and I am humbled again and again (and again) by the kindness and graciousness of these, my fellow humans.
And with that, I bid you farewell, adieu, and adiós,