GaryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s log of his trip is fun to read and keep up with. Half the fun of any road trip is meeting the people along the way. We get to hear accents, see where and how they live, enjoy different scenery and all too often we meet some amazing characters.
One such memory and characters are of a trip I took to the tip of Baja back in 1971. I took my brother, a friend and a translator in my motor home to the tip of Baja and our first stop in Baja to get fuel was in Ensenada on the dusty quite main drag of town. Ensenada is the last big town or village you see until you get to La Paz which is hundreds of very Ã¢â‚¬Å“wildÃ¢â‚¬Â miles away on roads that are something you have to see to believe. Back in 1971 this was real adventure. Almost nobody spoke English, there were no phones or electricity and if you broke down nobody was going to come and help so you better be ready for whatever happened in any event. I pulled up to the gas pump and sitting in front of the small Pemex station was about 10 very young boys and an old man in a sombrero. Once the old man started the gas pump the boys all began climbing up the side of the motor home on each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s shoulders so they could wash every single window on the motor home, all the way around. Since their old pumps took so long to fill both tanks of the motor home this took some time. While we were waiting I began slicing and eating some salami and while I was slicing it I noticed the boys all peaking in the window and looking as if they were interested in the salami. So I reached out the door and offered a piece to one of the boys. He just loved it so I gave each of the other boys a piece. It was interesting to me how they would not crowd back in line for a second piece the way most American boys would have and yet they all seemed so excited about something as simple as a piece of salami. You would have thought I had given them a gold coin.
Finally, after our tank was full we paid for the gas but the old man began speaking Spanish to my interpreter and then he just took off running down the Ã¢â‚¬Å“middleÃ¢â‚¬Â of main street and disappeared around a corner waaay down the street! As I watched the old man disappear I asked my translator what was going on and he said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I don’t know, but the old man asked us to wait here.Ã¢â‚¬Â So we waited what seemed like a very long time since we were all excited to get back on our journey again. Finally what seemed like forever I could see way down the street the old man come running in his sandals out into the middle of the street where he stopped and he was waving his arms at someone as if to tell them to Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hurry up.Ã¢â‚¬Â Then here came a man pushing a large cart with a big umbrella. The kind they sell tamales and enchiladas from.
When the two of them finally reached the station the old man was out of breath but excited. After he got his breath he began talking to my translator again this time with sombrero in hand and tears in his eyes. He said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I just want to thank you for being so kind to my boys. Nobody has ever offered them such a nice gift or made them so happy so I want to show my appreciation and my friend is going to give you something.Ã¢â‚¬Â Then the man in the cart gave each of us a wonderful tamale each.
It was such a wonderful gesture and one I will never forget. Before we left I gave the old man and the tamale vendor each a salami and as we drove away the boys and the two old men stood and waved good bye.