PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Birth of the Blowfish - PV Ch. 2

So, transportation. That will be the theme of my second chapter of my trip to Puerto Vallarta a few years back. The first evening, we decided to go into the city. Our resort was actually in Nuevo Vallarta, and we were informed we could go by taxi or bus. All the taxi drivers wanted far more than our combined busfare, so we decided to wait & take the bus.

Now, I am impossibly gregarious to strangers here in Kansas City. But I was not raised on reading "Cosmo" or "Teen", I grew up reading "Woman's Day" and "Family Circle", with cautionary tales of overdosing on PCP and being kidnapped and sold into slavery and hooligans robbing you blind in foreign lands. Weekly women's service publications: the true source of all my irrational fears, I'm sure of it. So we get on our bus, which happens to be the main transport for all the employees of the resorts, and we are the only gringos on the bus. I lead us back to a section of open seats, adopting my "in a foreign place" body language and do not say anything to anyone. So you can imagine my horror as Shelley, normally the most reserved one in our trio, is suddenly CHATTING UP A STORM at various natives, asking them if they're taking the bus into town, and at every stop, inquiring if this is our stop? Is this our stop? Do we get off here now? I am sure we will be kidnapped and sold to a Mexican brothel as soon as we get off the bus because now we have been marked as "NAIVE: KIDNAP FIRST". After several rounds of her trying to speak to people who did not speak Englilsh, I was clenched-jaw whispering, "SHELLEY. THEY ARE NOT GOING INTO TOWN. QUIT ASKING THEM. I WILL TELL YOU WHEN TO GET OFF THE BUS!!!!!!"

We get to Puerto Vallarta. We disembark. Leading our razzmatazz team of Foreign Voluptuous Ladies (FVL), I stride off towards the heart of the city. I get almost a block, and realize I no longer have Shelley & Meredith behind me. I turn around, fully expecting to see them being pushed into a windowless van, and instead I see them patiently smiling & nodding at some shysters trying to tell them they need to take a Jeep tour with the lure of a FREE MAP. I go back. Again with the dramatic whisper: "COME ON." They are giggling, and we are marching single file. I begin a lecture, straight from the pages of "Woman's Day" on How to Behave in a Foriegn Land. Because of my love of the metaphors, I come up with the best: the Blowfish.

You must BE the blowfish. You are puffed out, and nobody can come close. NO STOPPING. You don't even speak. Look like we come here all the time. You do not care what they think or what they want. Just BE the blowfish. And from that point on, it was a one-word command we all used. Want to buy some silver, lady? BLOWFISH! Maps? Jeep Tour? Lace tablecloth? BLOWFISH!

We took a taxi cab home, and I did think that we might perhaps die, because while the roads in Missouri can be bad? The roads in Mexico are atrocious. And they travel at extremely high speeds, in cars the size of Ford Festivas. But I'll give our cabbie props for his sense of humor: as we passed a large dirt track that apparently combined racing and bumper cars (for fun!), he elbowed me and pointed, saying: "Driving school!"

I laughed, but I was also making sure we were staying on the same road we'd gone into town on - and weren't being driven to Tijuana to be used as drug mules for the Mexican Mafia. The Blowfish never lets down her guard.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:40 AM