Living your Dream is Accompanied by some Nightmares

The awesome Guadalajara posts have to be put on hold for the time being, as well as all photos on the blog for awhile.

When we left Guadalajara, we went to the biggest lake in Mexico about 40 minutes away. Lake Chapala was beautiful and is where Guadalajara and Mexico City (the two biggest cities in Mexico) pull their water from. A covering of water hyacinths lined the shore, and the lake clearly had much less water than its former days. The guidebooks and internet tell us Chapala is a small town with a large expatriot population, which is one of the main reasons we stopped to see it.

We walked around the two boardwalks in the small town, walked through its central park, and drove to several of the neighboring towns. Unfortunately, nobody swam in this lake, and we didn’t see evidence of the large expat population. Although there were some very nice hotels that offered spa services which leads me to believe Chapala is good for relaxing vacations.

That evening, we decided to have a late dinner and opted for Italian food. It was the best Italian food I have had anywhere in Latin America. Afterward, we parked on a side street and tried to sleep while the mosquitos ate us alive. I was surprised the mosquitos were a problem since I hadn’t seen or felt any bites throughout the entire day. After about an hour, I decided I needed to get out of the car and rummage through my things under the bed for the bug spray when The Guy tells me to wait for the car outside to leave. We watched them through the curtains and tinted windows and realized it was a police truck. They tapped on the window so we clambered out of our truck and stood as they blinded us with their flashlights.

The Guy asks if there is a problem and they begin questioning where we are from, where we are headed, and if there are others in the vehicle (where would we put them?). They tell us we have to be parked at a hotel because we cannot park in the street. The Guy gets a little agitated with this since there are plenty of cars parked in the street. We realize these policemen have their shirts unbuttoned, revealing T-shirts underneath. One of them has on a Mr. T T´shirt and is also wearing a gold chain. From this point forward, we lose patience for their questions. After furnishing copies of our passports and tourist permits, The Guy takes one look at me and does a double take. My left eye is very swollen and red. He tells me and I say exasperatedly, “I know!” The policemen also look at my eye and immediately tell us there is no problem. They just wanted to make sure our car was safe.

Yes, my pink eye was that bad. This experience was our first run-in with fake cops so it left a bad taste in our mouths and we opted to drive away. We parked at a truck stop about half an hour away but when we turned on the cabin lights, there were literally hundreds of bugs in the car with us. There would be no sleep, so we just kept driving. We arrived in Morelia, Michoacan at 4 in the morning and fell into a much needed sleep.

We awoke in the middle of a busy square and a real policeman tells us we have to move our car. It was very kind that he waited for us to wake up since we were legitimately blocking off one lane of traffic. Morelia is a larger colonial city but after walking around its streets for the day, we learned the city is not particularly geared for tourism. The stores are not located intuitively, rather they are sprawled out, and there is a clear lack of internet cafes and wifi capable restaurants.

There was a protest against terrorism in the street that day. The public bathrooms (which you pay about 33 cents to use) were difficult to locate. But all the same, it was a very beautiful city worth a visit.

In the afternoon, we walked back to our car and I realized that my bag of items that I use daily was missing. I had my contacts, alarm clock, headlamp, toothbrush, grooming supplies, and every single piece of favorite makeup in that bag. My journal with all the details of the places we’d been and private musings was also in it. I immediately became very upset and The Guy tells me there’s no way someone would take only that bag so we must have misplaced it. We dug through every nook and cranny in the car, but I already knew it was not there because I always pack things in the same place.

The plan prior to this realization was to eat dinner and we continued on that mission after I gathered myself together. I spent the entirety of dinner very upset, rationalizing that all the items could be (fairly) easily replaced, but feeling very disgruntled and unhappy. When you take only your favorite things and what you feel you need, it’s upsetting to lose any of it.

I figure I must have left it on the concrete wall after the cops were harrassing us. I suppose we were in a slight rush to leave and maybe tired, so hadn’t noticed it as we drove away. I felt angry with myself, and silly for being so attached to a bag of toiletries. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to remember all the details to my missing journal and upset that I’d lost the outlines to my Guadalajara posts, which I’d put a lot of thought and time into. Maybe the Universe was telling me that I need less than I want. By the time we were back at the car, I had accepted the loss and we even joked about it.

As we began preparing the car for sleep, I asked if the guy had moved my laptop bag. He looked at me with a blank stare and I just sat down on the sidewalk, completely defeated. Every single photo I’ve taken since 2005, every journal entry I’d ever made since 2001, every single track of music I’ve ever owned was on that laptop. I had every paper, cover letter, resume, important date, writing draft, outline for book ideas, etc. etc. etc. that I’d ever written on that stupid laptop. I’d also put $300 in the stolen backpack, thinking I’d take it out by the end of the day. The backpack contained my very favorite sheet music, electrical plugs for our devices, the tablet case that had a keyboard, and my replacement journal (!!!!) etc. etc. etc.

All I felt was defeated. I sort of laughed that I’d felt so badly over my lost toiletries, because it was legitimately comical in comparison. In my head, I knew this loss was much worse but I couldn’t really feel a thing. All I could do was rationalize that the Universe was telling me to let go of my need for material things, and to disconnect from technology just like I’d wanted.

The Guy hates when I say things like that. Someone robbed us, it is as simple as that. People are mean and it didn’t happen for any reason other than people are mean. It’s become something of a running joke that I say, “Things happen for a reason” and he responds, “Things happen.”

Some of my stuff might be replaced with my cloud storage, something I really should have paid more attention to.

Oh well.

As I sat there not speaking, not thinking, not feeling, The Guy went into overdrive and wanted to put distance between us and that city. Again, we went for a night drive.

This morning, we awoke in Tlalpujahua, a small indigenous artisan town. We realized this morning that the passenger’s side door won’t lock because someone had jammed something into the lock trying to pry it open. I’m posting from an internet cafe and thus, cannot include any photos for the time being. I’ll make my next post when I can get another laptop.

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