Running with Speed Loco

Let’s take a run downtown, shall we? Just four pesos.

Public transportation passes the Ranchito frequently. It comes in the form of vans, Toyota, VW or Nissan.

Mexican drivers name these vehicles.

Marijuana Smoker, Insane Driver, Speed Kills. And one of our favorites: Speed Loco.

All of these names, boldly emblazoned on the windshield, inspire confidence in the passengers. You bet. Speed Loco makes it to the Plaza Grande in Pátzcuaro in about 60 seconds. It’s three miles from here.

We blast away from the corner, outside the little abarrotes store, with our facial skin pressed back against the bone. We appear to be snarling. Werewolves in transit.

Grab something as we hit the highway from Vieja Street. We angle in precariously at the foot of a hill on a blind corner.

Everybody goes full tilt.

Look, there! A glimpse of green as the Pemex station flashes by. The driver has the radio blasting Ranchero. One of Pátzcuaro’s favorite restaurants is there at the station. Gas station grub.

Quick, there on your left is the new residence that’s been under construction about a year, lots of rock, palm trees, quite impressive really. The owner’s fighting dogs and cocks are all caged around the house, which isn’t quite completed.

No matter. He’s moved in, and his beasts are ready to brawl.

Get your wagers ready.

The driver’s slammed into third now, and Lago de Pátzcuaro passes in the distance — a liquid blur. If we were moving slower, we’d notice the smell of pollution, maybe some dead fish. Better from afar — and at this velocity.

Round the traffic circle, just missing some slow-witted schoolchildren and a few cars. Our driver looks beatific.

Up Avenida las Americas now, a simple two-lane drag in spite of the elegant misnomer. We’re passing, there on your right, where yours truly lived for over two years, renting.

We pass the Ramírez funeral home. Caskets on display, but nobody dead today.

Then Mr. Gray’s Chopper Bar. Nobody dead there either.

After a hard right and a curb bounce at Siete Esquinas, the “seven corner” intersection that only has five corners, we arrive at the Plaza Chica, a block from our destination, the Plaza Grande.

Decelerating from Mach Something, our faces resume their normal skin tones. Our teeth and gums disappear. We exhale.

Let’s stumble off here, and walk the final block, providing time to recover from the ride. The trembling will vanish in moments.

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