Thursday, October 01, 2020

back to school

If our life plans always turned out the way we thought they should, life would be a rather boring proposition.

At least, they would be for me.

That has not always been true. I have not always been so philosophical about life's bumps, as my friend Nancy can tell you. The mere mention of "tea pot" causes me to still blush.

But I have almost always been adventurous on my travels. Getting lost, whether in the alleys of Venice or the slums of Alexandria or Salvador, has taught me more lessons than any planned itinerary.

If you hope that is an introduction to a plan-gone-bad on our trip to Ciudad Guzmán, you will be disappointed. Everything went as planned -- except for the opening act.

For some unknown reason I could not sleep last night. It may have had something to do with my multiple bathroom visits. Whatever the reason, when our departure time of 9 AM arrived, Omar and Yoana were ready to go. I could barely walk a straight line across the patio. Not a particularly good way to start our 7-hour car journey.

I had thought of handing the car keys over to Omar. But this was a father's duty that needed doing. And I was going to do it.

Somewhere around Manzanillo, my system started working again. From then on, it was a boring trip -- merely because nothing happened other than what we had planned.

The day could not have been better for traveling. I usually dislike drives to and through Manzanillo. The traffic usually impedes me getting my adrenalin glands a good workout.

Not today. With the usual exception of the few miles through the mountains outside of Colima where trucks act as slow-moving pace cars, there was little traffic. I do not mind the slow lanes of traffic there because that part of the highway has some of the most stunning views of the valleys leading up to the highlands. We even had the added attraction of a cicada chorus.

Through the miracle of Google Maps, we drove straight to the university, arriving over an hour early.

I wish I could tell you more about the facilities, but the school had imposed some rather effective and stringent virus-avoidance procedures. No one was admitted on the school grounds unless they had a class or needed to conduct business. That meant Yoana and I stood around in front of the school while Omar went inside. 

This is the sole interior shot I was able to get before the security guard chased me away.

We were not alone. Small knots of masked students stood around waiting for their classes to begin. Twice, the security guard at the gate came out to tell the students to break up into smaller groups and to put more distance between themselves. They all complied.

Omar was inside for no more than 15 minutes. He emerged with his photo identification that will prevent anyone from taking the admission examination for him when he returns in early November.

And I suppose I now have my answer why the transaction cannot take place on a computer. Identification is at issue.

The Escape's engine had barely cooled down when we climbed on board for a quick trip back to Barra de Navidad.

We did not get to see much of Ciudad Guzmán other than the couple of miles between the tollway and the university. But it was enough to tempt me to return. And, of course, I will -- assuming that this will be the presumptive alma mater of Omar.


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