My plane back from Guadalajara was scheduled to leave at 8:00 am. Since the airport was an hour away and I needed to be there 2 hours early, that meant I had to leave at 5:00. I was totally at the mercy of whoever the pastor found to take me to the airport. The other missionary with me did not have a vehicle. Though he lives in Guadalajara his truck is in the shop for repairs.
The pastor was supposed to be working on my ride. At 9:00 Friday night I asked him who was taking me to the airport. Somehow something so important to me did not seem that important to him. It slipped his mind. Fortunately Raul, one of the two men who was a possible driver, happened to be at the church with us that night. The pastor got it all lined out.
I told the other missionary who my driver would be. By his immediate reaction I knew I was in trouble. The missionary said that this man thinks nothing wrong with showing up to an event an hour and a half late. Something I could not afford.
Since Raul lived an hour away from the church that would mean he had to leave his house at 4:00 to come and get me. What were the chances of that working out? At the pastor’s suggestion Raul decided to sleep at the church with us and then go home after taking me to the airport.
A major birthday party was taking place at the church the next day for Raul’s daughter. I finally kicked the decorating crew out of the church building a little after 1:00 am so I could go to bed. I have no idea when Raul went to sleep. I slept from 1:30 to 4:45 and had the great joy of awakening my driver a couple minutes before 5:00.
A little trouble getting Raul’s wife from the girl’s sleeping area and finding the keys to the gate so we could leave and we were off.
A few blocks into the trip and Raul asked me if I was in a hurry. I said that I needed to be at the airport at 6:00. Whatever that took. He decided we were in a hurry. We took off and my seat tipped backwards. Quite a feat for a 30 year old Volkswagen Rabbit. We sped down the major north-south road in town flashing our lights at any car that was somewhat close to us warning them to get out of the way. We could not make a left hand turn at the intersection we wanted so he turned right onto a one way street going against us. Raul executed a nice U-turn and sent us off the direction of the airport.
I asked him to stop at an OXXO so I could get a cup of coffee (and steady my nerves). It took a few minutes to pour up the coffee and grab his wife a Coke.
When we got close to the airport there were speed bumps. My seat that tilted backwards every time we accelerated also slid violently forward when he slammed on his brakes for that first speed bump. “Knees, meet dashboard.”
Even with the stop at OXXO for the coffee I was at the airport in just over 30 minutes. Some of the time was made up because of there not being much traffic at 5:00 in the morning. But the rest of it was clearly due to some wild driving. I guess I don’t mind it so much if I am the one behind the wheel, but sitting helplessly in the passenger’s seat makes me a bit uncomfortable.