Wednesday, October 13, 2010
A taxi ride.
We called called for a taxi to pick us up at Sister Christie's house. It was a man named Obidio who Jack said was not a member of the church but was a friend to the missionaries. I was mindful of the afternoon sun beginning to sink into the horizon.
"Don't be out after dark"
Obidio arrived a half hour later in a beat up white compact car. A light drizzle started to fall as we hugged Sister Christie again and then once more. We stuffed some of the luggage into the trunk and then put the biggest suitcase in the back with Todd and I scrunched in. This didn't look like any of the taxis I had ever ridden in but Jack spoke to Obidio like a friend. One of the windshield wipers was pulled away from the glass and hung in the air waving wildly back and forth. At least it was not the one on the drivers side. I don't know if it would have mattered anyway since Obidio created his own laws while driving. He maneuvered in and out of the heavy traffic creating new lanes and ignoring the ALTO (stop) signs altogether.
I reached for a seat belt.
If I had ever needed one before, this seemed like the time to have one.
I hoped that the fact that Todd and I were so wedged into the back that there could be no movement in case of a crash.
Todd and I kept exchanging glances, both so tired from the long day, that it had a dreamlike quality to the ride as if we might have been on Disney's newest attraction.
We noticed the gas gauge indicated that the car was on empty. I was relieved when Obidio pulled in to the gas station to fill it up. He hopped out and before I could finish my sentence he was back in the car pulling away.
I asked Jack if he even put any gas into the car.
He said that they only put a gallon or two in the tank because if the car gets stolen then they don't lose a big investment of a full tank of gas.
Obidio's car had already been stolen 5 times.
We needed a cell phone so that I could keep in contact with my girls at home and also call for taxis.
Jack suggested that we stop at a mall that was on the way to the hotel and asked Obidio to take us there and wait. He dropped us off at the door and said something in Spanish which I thought was "I am going to find a parking place."
The mall was busy and we being the only gringo's in the place was cause for intense staring. I wanted to take a picture but Jack recommended that I keep my camera in my pocket. We found a cell phone complete with charger and 180 minutes for 12 dollars american. I was impressed with the bargain.
We hurried out to the entrance to meet Obidio. It was dark by this time. He was not there. We walked around in the parking lot hoping to spot his vehicle.
Did he leave us? He did have all of Jack's luggage with the exception of a small bag left in the hotel. Not much of real monetary value but filled with all of Jack's memories from the last two years. Notebooks, journals, memory cards filled with pictures....I asked Jack, "So umm how well do you know Obidio? Is it possible that he could have left with all of your luggage." Jack said, "I don't think so."
Don't think so......
Jack's luggage is gone.
Was this what we were warned about?
Just as I tried to quell the rising panic within, a small beat up white compact car with one wiper waving in the air pulled up with it's driver eating an ice cream cone.
I was never more happy to see someone.