We were camped there because it was beautiful and because it was free. The best way to get to town (Uruapan, Michoacan), since we were living in our vehicle, was by bus. In this case the bus was a rather beat up van that was fitted with enough seats for about ten passengers. The van either came with rather loose suspension, or had been modified to navigate the dirt road at high speed without becoming airborne when it hit the potholes. The driver knew every pothole and was able to zig and zag and miss a surprising percentage of them.

The Presa (in this case, meaning dam) Calzontzin, which everyone simply called La Presa, was outside town then and the shuttle van passed nearby on its route between the Tarascan Indian settlement to the east and Uruapan to the west. I had been sent to town on an errand and was returning to La Presa and dozed off and missed my stop. Waking with a start, I told the driver, who looked mildly irritated. He said I would have to wait for the return trip.

She was sitting in the front seat right behind the door and had been talking to the driver since we left town (or at least as long as I was awake). She wasn't what I would call pretty, having quite a lot of facial hair. No, I don't mean she had a moustache. I mean she had hair over her entire face. It was fine hair but it still seemed a bit out of place. She was leaning so far toward the driver that I wondered how she managed to stay in the seat at all as the bus zigzagged. She seemed very friendly, at least toward the driver. By the time we reached the Tarascan village we were the only three left on board the shuttle.

I was barely seventeen at the time and when the driver mumbled, "be right back," in Spanish, I was completely clueless. The hairy-faced girl stepped off and the driver stepped off and followed her into what I assumed was her home. I sat in the shuttle and waited. And waited. Finally the driver came back out, looking a bit disheveled and buttoning his shirt as he returned to the shuttle. He was grinning like the cat that just ate the canary.


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