The journey from Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas is a long one of 11 hours, not because of the distance, but because the road is so narrow and windy.

Like many travellers, we decided the 11 hours would be best spent sleeping, and bought 2 tickets for a night bus. First class reclining comfort, a bathroom, and a security pat-down proved that they were indeed "mas comodo, mas seguro". I was sure to get a good night's sleep, I thought to myself as the bus took off with a muted rumble, lulling me to sleep.

At about 2 in the morning, I woke up. The bus was stopped, the engine off. I rubbed my sleepy eyes, wondering if the bus driver was taking a pee stop or if we were at an intermediate terminal taking on more passengers.

All I saw out the window with my myopic eyes was a high wall. Probably a terminal, I thought to myself, and snuggled back into my coat to sleep some more.

I woke up again. We were still stopped. Passengers were whispering in the darkness. What the hell? This time I fumbled into my purse and pulled out my glasses.

Outside my window was not a wall, but a massive cliff rising into the night. Beyond it and high above, hundreds of stars blazed brightly. I frowned. We were in the middle of no where.

"Tumi?" I nudged Kenzo next to me who was also awake and drinking water. "What's happening?"

"I don't know, but we've been stopped for 3 hours."

Crap, I thought, as different scenarios raced through my mind. Did we brake down? Run out of gas again? Did the driver have a heart attack?

And then a small doubt arose amidst my throughts. "Whenever possible, take the bus during the daytime to reduce the chance of robbery," our guidebook on Mexico had warned. Back in Colima, there had been a highway dubbed Ruta de Los Muertes, because of its rampant roadside terrorism. The small doubt in my mind was snowballing.

The words of our former hostel-mate Katja rang in my ears. "I would only take a first class bus to San Cristobal... you know the political climate is still touchy there, with the Zapatistas." I'd seen a Zapatista doll at the market earlier that day. It was a figure sheathed in black garb, carrying an assault rifle.

A pickup truck passing in the other direction briefly illuminated the bus' bare surroundings and the cliff to my left. Words scrawled onto the rock in white paint suddenly became visible. "JOB 33:16" glowed brightly, among several other ghostly bible verses whose book names were unknown to me, surely translated into Spanish.

Kenzo seemed to have the same apprehension as I, as he covered me protectively with his arm in the lonely, dark bus. I slowly pulled out my wallet, removed a card, and slid it into my security belt. Whoever they were out there, they were not getting their hands on my VISA.

To be continued...

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    Delia said...

    Job 33: 14-33
    14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—
    though man may not perceive it.

    15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on men
    as they slumber in their beds,

    16 he may speak in their ears
    and terrify them with warnings,

    17 to turn man from wrongdoing
    and keep him from pride,

    18 to preserve his soul from the pit, [b]
    his life from perishing by the sword. [c]

    19 Or a man may be chastened on a bed of pain
    with constant distress in his bones,

    20 so that his very being finds food repulsive
    and his soul loathes the choicest meal.

    21 His flesh wastes away to nothing,
    and his bones, once hidden, now stick out.

    22 His soul draws near to the pit, [d]
    and his life to the messengers of death. [e]

    23 "Yet if there is an angel on his side
    as a mediator, one out of a thousand,
    to tell a man what is right for him,

    24 to be gracious to him and say,
    'Spare him from going down to the pit [f] ;
    I have found a ransom for him'-

    25 then his flesh is renewed like a child's;
    it is restored as in the days of his youth.

    26 He prays to God and finds favor with him,
    he sees God's face and shouts for joy;
    he is restored by God to his righteous state.

    27 Then he comes to men and says,
    'I sinned, and perverted what was right,
    but I did not get what I deserved.

    28 He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, [g]
    and I will live to enjoy the light.'

    29 "God does all these things to a man—
    twice, even three times-

    30 to turn back his soul from the pit, [h]
    that the light of life may shine on him.

    31 "Pay attention, Job, and listen to me;
    be silent, and I will speak.

    32 If you have anything to say, answer me;
    speak up, for I want you to be cleared.

    33 But if not, then listen to me;
    be silent, and I will teach you wisdom."

  1. ... on January 23, 2009 at 4:13 PM  
  2. Kered said...

    Wow, you're the queen of suspense, Angelica.

    ... "Tumi"? Is this a nickname for Kenzo? :)

  3. ... on January 25, 2009 at 12:38 PM