The drive towards the toll road back north to Cuernavaca was filled with smaller villages as the road down had been. But as the day waned, the skies began to close in. The weather had been perfect, until this evening. The toll road which we had covered southbound the previous evening was now thick with northbound traffic from weekend revelers returning to Mexico, and we crawled into the Morelos exit at the south end of Cuernavaca. Thick clouds gathered, closed in, and started to bubble underneath. “It’s not the rainy season until February,” Beto chided, but right after we dropped him off at the Cuernavaca bus depot around 6:30pm, it started to pour. So rather than travel another two hours to camp on the mountain at Paso de Cortes, we opted to spend the night with old friends here.
But first, after seeing Beto safely off on the bus, we at a fine meal at Don Pollo, arrachera and roasted chicken, and that wonderful chipotle and cheese chicken soup.
Lacking phone numbers for Sister Rabago and her daughter, Gennie de Portugal, we invited ourselves to spend the night and they took us in warmly. Her husband, the Bishop, was on his way out on a business trip to Chihuahua. Sister Leticia Rabago now lives in the apartment under this house where we stayed last July, and her son moved here to Cuernavaca into her home so that both the Rabago and Portugal families can help care for her. She got very sick two weeks after our last visit in July, an unknown disease where she was producing too many red blood cells, so they treated her with chemo pills, which made her very sick, required hospitalization, got pneumonia, recovered, then couldn’t walk due to a displaced disk, but she’s opting out of surgery, and bearing the discomfort.
While visiting with mother and daughter in her room, I was offered a powdered sugar treat. I couldn’t bite it, so I tried to break it in half. It shattered and scattered crumbs and powdered sugar all over the carpet, and we had an embarrassing moment. I explained my debility, and while Jenny went to say goodbye to her husband and Sister Rabago took a phone call, we shook out the rug in the pouring rain. Returning, Jenny did some matchmaking for Susie, to a doctor in Toluca, so perhaps after Jenny introduces them via Facebook, we may be making a stop in Toluca.
Retiring to the children’s room (Diego would sleep with his grandmother), we hooked up to the internet and took turns catching up on e-mails via phone and laptop until midnight. “57 hours in Mexico seems like a week,” I wrote, “for all the roads and canyons and mountains we’ve seen, to say nothing of too much urban congestion. The toll road coming into Cuernavaca tonight was stop and go with weekend traffic from Acapulco to Mexico, and we were only too pleased to get off in Cuernavaca and find a safe haven.”
To my Mom, I added, “It’s late, but we have internet tonight, so a few more details while I have the laptop to type on instead of the phone. You asked who we had seen.
“Lily Dominguez Saltiel, Lily’s daughter (Lily Saltiel Miranda, Chavo’s daughter), picked us up at the airport. We arrived early, and she arrived earlier, so she was waiting for us while studying (a medical student is always studying) in the Burger King just outside of customs. We picked up the car at Turmix from the guard. No one else was there that late on a Friday night. We stopped at Costco in Polanco for supplies, then met my cousin Beto Levy Motola on the street outside his apartment to avoid the hassle of parking. We couldn’t see him next weekend because the casino in Las Vegas invited him to come up next Friday for four days to enjoy the Superbowl. He gave us the Sefardic memory book (1000 pesos), and we spent the night with Lily and Lily. David Saltiel Aelion’s son, Mauricio Arie Saltiel Gomez also visited us there, and we are meeting him in Teotihuacan tomorrow and taking him with us to his parent’s in Queretaro.
“We picked up Beto Nolla Saltiel on Saturday morning. His parents were with Gerardo’s parents in Veracruz. Beto traveled with us over the weekend, to Cuautla, San Gaspar, Las Estacas, and back to Cuernavaca, all in the garden state of Morelos, with greenhouses and nurseries everywhere making Susie ooh and ahh. In Cuautla, of course we saw my great aunt Carmen Chapan de Motola, plus her daughters, Dorita and Luisa, and many of their children and brothers with whom I’m less familiar. My first cousin, Santiago Levy Motola (Beto’s brother), was there, more because his wife, Rosy Beracha Motola, Dorita’s daughter, is Carmen’s granddaughter.
“Beyond that, I’ve written about our Mormon friends who have given us shelter last night and tonight.”