I surprised BF with a Tulum trip and we soaked up salty blue, delicious, windy, underwater caving, blazing, pyramid-gazing, path-climbing, crazyhappy, rocky, starry beautiful, challenging, mind-expanding experiences.
Also, driving in Mexico is fun.
Until you get pulled over by state border patrol police sporting AK-47s (intimidating) and Raybans (hot).
Why the hell are we getting pulled over?
Him: You probably shouldn’t say anything.
Me: I’m not talking.
We are promptly ejected from the car and BF and hot Mexican terminator #1 are Spanishing…permiso de conducir…mas español…traficante de drogas…still hablaing…placa de matrícula…yo no comprendo.
I’m sitting on the side of the road, looking at the other border patrols sitting under a flap of canvas-like material supported by four thin, metal poles. They’ve got a red cooler and I think I see Gatorade but it could be a mirage, wishful thinking because it’s sweltering. The heat is beating me cranky but then my eye catches a flat-top concrete building that’s the same color as the dirt I’m sitting in and I feel anxious as I picture holding cells in there, holding people for what reason and how long I don’t know. Then I start thinking about having to spend the night there and that’s no good so I force myself to look away. So I switch to staring at their guns. I can’t help it. I’m terrified and fascinated.
And this doesn’t feel real.
Him: Do you have the rental car agreement?
Me: I don’t know. I check my purse. Nope. Can I check the glove compartment?
Him: Spanishes my question.
AK-47 man #5 opens the door for me and I look in the compartment…nada.
Me: It’s not there. Crap, where is it? Did you check your bag?
Him: No, I know it’s not in there but I’ll check. Do you have any idea where it is? Basically, that’s my license. My American one means shit here. Since he doesn’t live in America, how’s he to know it’s not fake?
Me: Right. That makes total sense and I’m forcing my brain to speedfire retrace our steps…beachwalkingcetlibanksmarg- oh crap. I know where it is.
Me: In our room, in the safe deposit box, too many fucking miles away to matter, basically.
Him: Why- but he stops, knowing that it’s useless.
BF updates AK-47 #1 about the definitive lack of legitimizing paperwork.
Him: He wants my passport.
Me: Do you even have it? No fucking way. You will never see that shit again.
Him: Yeah, I’m not going to give it, duh. We need to call the rental car company and see if they’ll vouch for us. Because right now they have every right to think we’re smuggling drugs.
Him: The latest cartel trick is switching rental plates and right now we have nothing that verifies who we are. So we’re not guilty but we’re not innocent.
Thank god their number is saved in the phone; I dial and hand it over to BF.
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While I’m sleepyangrytiredhungryscaredasfuck, BF and #1 are passing the phone so many times it might as well be a hacky sack.
Him: The guy totally remembered us and everything checked out so now they want to search everything.
Me: Okay. I have never been so happy at the prospect of a thorough search because this means we’re making progress. A little relief sets in. WAIT. DO we have drugs in the car? I’m superrapido thinking, going over last night especially hard.
Because drugs are really easy to come by in Mexico, especially if your BF speaks near-fluent Spanish. And you pick up a Mexican hitchhiker who tells you from which house to buy the shit after offering to smoke you up at his house.
HUGE Thank. Fucking. God.
The guys even wish BF a feliz cumpleaños. Actually, they’re like, heh heh…cumpleaños because they think it’s hilarious that we were held up for multiple hours in the Mexican desert on his birthday.
They’re right, it is hilarious. Because we’re driving away, screaming joyous freedom and elation after sweating bullets for some hours. He, experience junkie that he is, loves everything that just happened. But more than that, seeing him so deliriously happy and free makes my little heart burst. These moments of pure abandon are rare in his life as he debates and thinks, thinks really hard these days about who (s)he wants to be.
So what just happened was priceless in the best possible way.
Happy (last) birthday, sweet.