October 15, 2008
Before leaving Parral, I stopped at the gas station.
â€œHolaâ€ I say.
â€œHolaâ€ She returns.
â€œLleno (SP?) Por Favor.â€ (Fill up please)
I check the oil while she fills up the tank.
All gas stations are owned by the government and are called PEMEX.Â Itâ€™s all full serve, and almost all of them have good bathrooms.
Suddenly I realize what is quietly playing over the stations speakers.Â A Spanish crooner, doing his best, in Spanish, of Achy Breaky Heart.Â I let out a quick laugh, and my attendant looks at me questioningly.Â I smile back and looking up say â€œLa musica.â€Â She nods her head slightly and rolls her eyes.
Late in the afternoon, closing in on Durango, I stop for the fifth or sixth time for fuel.Â I have found that filling up after fifty miles is easier on my mind and body.Â As I pull in, I let out a soft groan.Â There are four 20-something women standing there waiting to help me.Â And not another customer in sight.
I stop, put the bike on the center stand, take off my helmet and smile.Â They smile back and giggle.Â The boldest one steps forward and asks something.Â I have no idea what she said so I tell her to fill it up.
The others giggle.
Four women, pushing each other on, I assume that they are going to be giggling a lot at the comments they make, which I cannot understand.
The women filling up the tank asks were I am from, and as usual say Los Angeles.Â And they smile at this.Â One makes a comment and the others laugh, looking at me.Â I just stand there with a stupid expression on my face.
After the fill up, and money exchange, one of the girls asks in pantomime if she can ride on the bike.Â She climbs aboard and twists the throttle.Â Then laughs while pantomiming that I climb on in front of her.Â I smile and chuckle.
One of the girls, who is taller and slimmer than the rest, steps forward and looks at my face and my eyes.Â She says a sentence in Spanish, which the only words I understand are â€˜Bonitaâ€™ and â€˜Ojoâ€™ (beauty, eyes).Â I tilt my head down for a moment, then look up, directly into her dark brown eyes, and say â€˜graciasâ€™.Â I donâ€™t know who blushed more.
In seconds I was in my bike and riding away.