Saturday, June 13, 2009

El León No Duerme Esta Noche

We went to the neighboring city of León last night. I needed to get my cell phone fixed, and León is the closest place with a big mall with big Telcel service centers. So we went and made a night of it.

We took a second-class bus from Lagos to Leon. The bus station in Leon is surprisingly close to a Metrobus line – a Metrobus being a cross between a Metro and a bus, basically a bus with its own dedicated center lane, a very popular strategy these days for transportation improvements in Mexican cities, as seen in the brand new Metrobus lines in Guadalajara and Mexico City. (Sorry – I find urban infrastructure fascinating!) The time it took us to get from our apartment in Lagos to the mall in Leon was probably about an hour and forty-five minutes. By car it would have been closer to thirty minutes. Such is our life without a car. Still, the system of bus lines in Mexico to get you from place to place: Pretty amazing.

There are two parts to the CentroMax Mall in Leon: The regular mall, and the shoe mall. Yes, there is a whole mall, the Galeria del Zapato, dedicated only to shoes. Chris says that this is because Leon is part of a leather goods region and so they’re known for their shoes, but this regional strength does nothing to lessen the presence of globalization: International brands like Florsheim and Converse are just as common as the more local Flexi brand. Chris looked for some new professional shoes – both of us seem to have worn our shoes down to their last soles this year – but to no avail.

We continued on to the regular mall, where we hoped to catch a movie. Since Chris was nice enough to take me to an animated movie last week (did you see Up yet? Go!), I decided not to push for the action-adventure of Wolverine or Star Trek (but I’m still holding out for Transformers!). We finally decided on Angeles y Demonios - Angels and Demons. Yes, we saw The DaVinci Code and thought it was an awful movie, and yet somehow we were still sucked in like a moth to a flame by the double-draw of Tom Hanks and evocative religious intrigue. Ah, well. At least Cinepolis was offering this particular flick in English with subtitles instead of the normal Spanish-dubbed standard. (Yes, dubbed into Spanish is a great way to practice your Spanish. Really! It’s how I prepared to come to Mexico! But sometimes, every once in a while, a movie in your own language is a special treat.)

The movie was okay. Definitely better than the last one by a long shot, though I still could have done without the overwrought speechifying about science and religion. But this was pretty fun for us: Tom Hanks – er, Dr. Robert Langdon – spends a lot of time in the Vatican Archives – just like Chris, who also spends lots of time in church archives! Except that this caused Chris to notice all kinds of flaws. She kept whispering to me: “Are you kidding me? No way they would be in that archive without a face mask and gloves!” “What?! No way they would let him touch that book if it’s really that old – and definitely not with his bare hands!” “There is no way you could smuggle something like that out of an archive. You go through so many security checkpoints it would be impossible. In Mexico City you couldn’t even take a notebook into the archive! And you’re telling me in the Vatican Archives these two can just walk right in?!” “Ok, now he doesn’t even read Latin? You’re telling me he’s a Harvard academic studying Catholicism and he doesn’t read Latin? Do you think Fulbright would fund me if I said, uh, I can’t actually read Spanish?!” Meet my wife, heroine of a new – and much more realistic – religious mystery series… The archbishop of San Jan de Los Lagos has been kidnapped, and only one academic can find him in time…

After the movie we turned in our ticket stubs for a free brownie sundae at Chili’s, then raced to a taxi stand to catch the last bus back to Lagos. As usual, it was a lot of hurrying up to wait around. We found the bus, but no one was there to drive it yet, and it looked like we might be the only ones riding it tonight. About ten minutes after the scheduled departure time, another gentleman showed up and asked us if this was the bus to Lagos. We confirmed that it was.

Then he asked where the driver was. We said we didn’t know, we were waiting for him, too. “I think he must be drunk!” Uh…ok…we laugh politely. He walks around the bus, then comes back with a grin. “Yes, he’s back there drinking! I want the guera (white girl) to drive!” Ha, ha…we continue to smile politely and gently play along, but it’s late and we just want to go home. We’re going to assume he’s just joking and hope that he, too, has not been drinking, though at this point we have our doubts.

We finally board the bus, twenty-five minutes after the scheduled departure time, and almost immediately fall asleep. We’re back in Lagos by midnight, our night out complete.

1 comment:

From Michigan with Love said...

Tom Hanks has magic hands that are not harmful to ancient books! And he was kidding about the Latin thing:-)