Two o'clock in the morning. Middle of nowhere, Mexico. It was three years ago (almost to the day), and Max and I were on our very first real adventure together. Despite obvious disapproval from our friends (even the Mexican ones) because of the dangerous state of the country, and continual warnings from my concerned parents, we packed our bags late one night and headed down south in the affectionately named, "4-25 Ride".
This was a car Max had bought at an auction a couple months prior for $425.00 (hence the name). And though it barely ran most days, it had proven itself on a previous trip to Mexico where I remember Max telling me that at one point he was stranded and had to repair a leaky piece underneath with something that can only be described as bubble gum.
We drove all through the night and crossed the border into Mexico just after the sun came up. We felt like two rebel runaways, sweating our faces off in our air-conditioning-less ride, picking up 25 cent fruit at every stand we passed, and not even thinking about the fact that I had to be back to work in just a few short days. Sure there were drug wars going on all over the country (and especially at the borders), but Max wasn't concerned one bit, and though it crossed my mind a time or two, I was more worried about when I was going to try my first real Mexican street tacos. (Which were INCREDIBLE, despite the fact that our teenaged chef was profusely sweating directly into the pan of questionable meat).
The salty Mexican air blew through the windows of the 4-25 Ride as we drove and drove and drove, following the coastline all the way down.
Finally, at 2 o'clock in the morning, we reached the Tajin Ruins. Our plan was to "camp out" around the entrance and start exploring bright and early the next morning. So, bleary eyed and exhausted we drove down the winding dirt roads in search of a good hiding spot to spend the next few hours. It took much longer than I expected, but finally Max stopped the car after spotting a couple good hammock trees....literally in the middle of nowhere.
As is often the case, I was much more concerned about the situation than Max was. He set up the hammock and as I lay there, trying to sleep, a few thoughts kept playing in my mind; "Where are we? What animals are making those strange noises? Do they have the same kind of animals that we do? What is the punishment for trespassing in Mexico? Prison?"
I woke up to the sound of a car speeding down the dirt road just as the sun was coming up. Max was still fast asleep, but I knew my fears had been realized as the car slowed right down and came to a stop just before the hammock. I was totally paralyzed. My heart was pounding out of my chest, and I held my breath. This was it. They had found us and would surely take us to prison for intruding on their land! I shut my eyes, bracing for the worst, pretending to be asleep--because that's all I knew how to do.
And then the most interesting thing happened.
I peeked one eye open just in time to see the man get out of his car, walk into the field, puke his guts out, then get back in his car, turn around, and drive away.
Sometimes you just win the lottery of life.
We spent the next few days exploring, eating way more fruit than I thought possible, and, of course, falling deeper and deeper for each other with each new experience. But despite all the fun we had, Max will never understand one thing; and that's how close we came to spending the rest of our courtship in a Mexican prison. Dramatic? Possibly. But you never know.
Can't wait for Mexico round 2 coming up in 9 days and counting!!!