Bev Vines-Haines

Maybe someday Iíll write a book about how to end up in a Mexican prison.† Why not?† Iíve managed to do it often enough.†

The last time still has me a bit puzzled.† Iíd ridden a classic í47 Harley all the way to Mexico City from Minneapolis and wasnít in any mood for trouble.†

Not at first.

My problems started near Tepeyac Hill and the Shrine of Guadalupe.† Probably because, failing to calculate my timing as usual, I arrived December Twelfth, Our Lady of Guadalupe Day.† Mired in miles of traffic, I inched along the boulevard.† On my left, the median undulated with crowds of the faithful and penitent, on their knees, slowly shuffling toward the Shrine.† I tried to ignore them but could not.† They were mostly women, many elderly, knees bloodied, whispering prayers and kissing Rosary beads as they made their way slowly toward their goal.†††

Where were all the men?†

Large signs, many in English, attempted to divert touristís attention to a huge, multi-colored market, designed to amuse Americans with native crafts and sculpturs and seduce coveted dollars out of their pockets

But I was not deterred. I couldnít stop staring at that parade of women shuffling bare-kneed along that ever bloodier median.† One old woman looked up at me, eyes glistening with pain and faltering determination.† She had blocks to go before she reached the Shrine.† In truth, I doubted she would ever make it.†

I motioned to the seat behind me.† It was piled with a backpack and other items.

ďRide?Ē I gestured.

She shrugged, staring at my gear as if it were an actual mountain.

I maneuvered the bike onto the median, tossed my possessions to the ground and wiped the seat clean.

Stiff and sore from her efforts, she attempted to stand but couldnít.† I walked over, lifted her in my arms and placed her on the back of the bike.†

She wrapped her arms around my waist as we started down the median.† I revved the engine, warning people of our approach and marveled as that mass of humanity parted like the Red Sea.†

Once I delivered her to the front of the church, a group of agitated police officers grabbed me.† Handcuffed and a little roughed up, I watched as my Harley disappeared into a van.†† Then I was unceremoniously tossed in beside it.††

Mexico City jails are better than those along the border.† And truth be told, I can use another chapter in that book. †

First published: November, 2007
comments to the writer: knob'