I went to Teotitlan del Valle to teach English this afternoon. To arrive at the municipal building, I, along with four other maestros, had to take a bus. The bus stopped alongside the highway outside of town and the five of us, and a local with a large cardboard box, hopped into the back of a large white truck to convey us up the hill. At one point, the driver of the truck slammed on the brakes. And, the man with the box flew into me, nearly smashing me into the rear window of the cab. I screamed and he begged my pardon as we proceeded forward.
Once we reached the building, there were only a handful of students. Most others, as reported by Saul, a ten-year-old, were at the bull fight finals. He offered to show us the way. We made sure to practice English as we headed to the arena. We talked about horses and bulls and the weather.
When we arrived, we climbed to the highest point in the stands as the announcer, seeing us, began telling the crowd we were his long lost cousins. Nearly three-hundred and sixty degrees of a crowd eyed us. Red-faced, I waved.
As we waited for the show to start, we were offered a variety of snacks, including ice cream from a display box and, among many other things (for which I cannot recall the names), beer as a fundraiser for the local school.
The weather, it turns out, was an important topic. From the top of the stands, we could feel the wind pick up, and then the lluvia (rain) announced itself. It rained so intensely my paraguas (umbrella) appeared to be porous. The announcer continued his joking monologue, saying the rain had passed (although we could hardly hear him over the flood washing over us).
We had been in the stands for forty-five minutes. Most of the crowd had been there far longer; still there was no sign that the show would start anytime soon. Men began to whistle (as they did for the parade on Sunday) for the band to play and for the cowboys to enter the ring. A few cahuetes (fireworks with no color, mostly just sound and smoke) went off and a small boy sang earnestly. The bulls rolled up in the backs of various trailers; the cowboys hung on the fences. Still no show.
The last bus leaves Teotitlan for Centro at 6:30. Consequently, we tried to make our way down the sopping stands through a maze of umbrellas. (This is even more difficult than it sounds.) Unfortunately, the path to the stairs was impassable, so we had to jump off the side of the stands with a crowd of Mexicans watching and offering, “Cuidado (careful).”
No English classes, no bullfight, but an adventure nonetheless.