“What’s that sound,” I asked Diego.
“What sound,” he retorted.
“That metal hitting metal, scratchy sound, when you turn the wheel,” I clarified, a slight edge in my tone.
As we pulled up to the toll booth, I noticed him lifting the emergency brake.
“It’s our brakes, isn’t it. We have no brakes, right,” my voice trailed off in a high pitch. “Really? We still have 350 miles to go, with no brakes?!”
“Para Tiffiney. Para!,” is always Diego’s response when I bring his attention to something, he was trying to hide from me. These “somethings’ are typically something safety related. His idea of safety, and my idea of safety are about as far apart as the countries we were born to (Argentina and the left coast of the USA, respectively.)
But it was Sunday. And there were no brake shops open. So on we went. With no brakes.
I huffed into the back seat, angry he would put our family’s life in danger to save $500 before we left the states. We had the bus throughly inspected by a mechanic, to make sure it was safe. Were the brakes not part of this major inspection?
But we had driven over nearly 5,000 kilometers and well, the brakes were just done. Getting mad wasn’t going to change our situation.
With no where to go, and nothing to do, my anger subsided into excitement as we lumbered up the high mountain passes that would lead us to our new home in Oaxaca.
The landscape offered up everything I hoped it would. Impressive mountain peaks, thick green foliage, and rolling hills in all directions. The excitement in the car was almost palpable. Serafina had fallen asleep, but Jax nestled himself onto the ice chest between the two captains chairs in the front (Mexico laws, seat belts optional!) and could barely keep his little bootie still.
“Aren’t you excited mama?” he looked up at me with those big green eyes. “I’ve waited so long for this day.”
Together we all oohed and ahhed at the drastic rock peaks and the trees cascading down into the lush green valley. “Yes baby, I am. So excited.“
Unfortunately, the brakes would not be the only excitement to punctuate the end of our 3,000 mile road trip. About 30 minutes outside of Oaxaca, Serafina awoke, complaining of a tummy ache. I touched her forehead. She was burning up. I could hear the sound of her stomach over the roar of the engine. Not good. But once again, what could I do? We continued on.
Upon arrival to our hosts cafe, we were greeted with homemade frittata and carrot cake, despite our unannounced, early appearance. They had been moving house all weekend to make room for us, I felt like a big jerk.
And to make the best first impression possible we inadvertently spilled bright turquoise paint in the driveway of their new home (we were trying to help unload their car), and both kids spiked fevers in the night with vomiting and diarrhea.
I know. Could we have made a more graceful entry?
Hello Oaxaca! Here we are!
Coming in hot—no brakes!
Getting our brakes done, literally in the middle of the street. Cost = $40 USD. Feeling of safety = priceless.
A wiped-out Jaxon, sleeping inside the bus, while the brakes are finished in the middle of the street.
Can’t wait to explore this city. Just what I glimpsed last night, while holding a hot, feverish little girl, was enough to wet my curiosity for what waits for us in the beautiful little city, spilled all over the Sierra Madre mountain side.
Bright colored building framed with rock facades, stone laid streets and old growth trees canopy the neighborhoods. Plenty of charm and romance for my taste!
I’ll be sharing it all with you right here. Thanks for joining us!