This is no ordinary picture. There is a magical story behind this photo. Want to hear it? Well, here it goes…
I was on my way to Los Angeles, California from Costa Rica, when I had an overnight transit in Mexico city, to be exact 7.00pm to 7.00am local time. It was my second time transitng through Mexico. The first was back in 2011 when I was visiting my sister in Canada, and had an overnight stay in Mexico airport. Actually the long transit was in El Salvador, but Salvador airport closed down at night, so they sent me to Mexico on another flight to spend the night there instead. At the time, I didn’t have a US visa, and with a Canada tourist visa they didn’t trust me. So the airport officials had seized my passport and a security guard was assigned to me, who sat with me all night in the airport until I caught my flight bound Canada the following morning when they handed me back my passport at the boarding gate!
So this second time, eight years later, on 22 September 2019 to be precise, I had a US visa hence wasn’t under any vigilance. I longed to get out of the airport and see some parts of Mexico city. But it was night and I was scared, as Mexico isn’t the safest country in the world and I didn’t want to take the chance to venture out alone at night. What if I got stuck somewhere in the middle of the night and couldn’t return in time to catch my early morning flight? So I decided to stay put in the airport and spend the next 12 hours doing nothing but bird watching. I went to the airport food court and ordered some food; nowadays they don’t give you food in airplanes and I was famished after my first flight from CR to Mexico. The night was still young; I sat down at a table to eat my food as slowly as possible and kill time. I finished the food pretty fast then got up and bought some more food. This too I finished very soon and sat there wondering what to do next. The food court was now filling up with more people until all tables were taken. That’s when a pleasant lady came to my table and asked if she could sit there. I nodded and she started eating her sandwich. I stared in silence; her food looked interesting with a lot of green leaves and strange looking seeds, super healthy I assumed. She caught me staring at her food and offered me some. I shyly declined but she insisted. So I took a bite of her sandwich and that’s how the ice was broken as we started chatting. She was a local going to catch a domestic flight to another city in Mexico (I forgot the name), when I told her how much I yearned to get out of the airport and see something in Mexico before I flew to Los Angeles in the morning, but alas I knew nothing or nobody there, hence I was stuck at the airport all night.
She immediately started suggesting different things I could do and places I could go, but none of them seemed pragmatic to me at the time, as I must admit I was quite scared to explore all by myself at night, having heard of numerous crime stories and kidnapping incidents that happened in the country regularly. Besides I had a conference to attend in LA the very next day after I reached the USA, so I needed to rest. But she insisted and quickly gobbled the rest of her food then took me downstairs at the arrival hall and started enquiring various options for me to see something in the city at night. We walked outside the airport and she asked a couple of bus drivers about their routes. They all accepted only pesos. The airport transport systems didn’t accept dollars and I didn’t want to change money into pesos without even knowing how much I would need, as the extra pesos would be useless to me later. Besides, I was on a budget trip and didn’t want to spend unnecessarily. I told her not to bother, but she continued to enquire for me. She was determined for me to see her country! And she was doing all this for me with very little time in her pockets, as she had to rush for her own flight and start the check-in process soon. She even offered to gift me some local currency but I declined to take her money. That’s when a new bus was entering the airport terminal we were at and she asked the metro bus driver about his route. He said he was going to do a round of the city and back, and the whole ride would take about 2 hours. She told him I had an overnight transit and that I longed to see some parts of Mexico city. When he heard that, he offered to take me on a ride in his bus for free! The lady and I looked at each other, and smiled. I asked her if it was safe and she nodded. I thanked her then hopped onto the bus as she left for her flight. Stupid me, didn’t even take down her number!
Soon the metro bus started its tour, as I rode around Mexico city looking outside in the dark, understanding nothing! After a while, the bus driver called for me and asked me to sit in the front near him. Then he started explaining the various historical sites in the city, when the ride got interesting for me as I started attaching meaning and significance to the inanimate edifices dotting the streets. About an hour later we reached the bus terminal. All passengers got off and the driver had about 30 minutes break before he had to drive back to the airport, his final shift for the night. I was prepared to sit in the terminal and wait for him, instead he offered to show me some more parts of the city in that time, but not in his own bus. I was nervous but sensing my fear, he showed me his identity card then pointed at the police stationed at every busstop, reassuring me that I was absolutely safe with him and we would take only public transport. I conceded and we both hopped onto another bus that was being driven by one of his colleagues on a different route, who took us to the place in the picture above: el monumento a la revolución mexicana.
Random pics I clicked from the metro bus
We got off the bus and he offered to take some pictures for me as souvenirs. Then we walked through the city to the nearest busstop, chatted with the police officials there, but no buses were coming soon, so we continued to walk some more and reached the next stop where we caught another bus back to the terminal. He used his entire break time to show me the city! Afterwards, we both hopped onto his bus and he drove me back to the airport collecting other passengers on the way. It was about midnight when we reached my destination, the airport, after over two hours of joy ride through the unknown city of Mexico. I was so blown away by the proceedings of the night, the spontaneous adventure I had had that I asked the driver to wait a few minutes at the airport terminal where he dropped me off. Then I rushed inside, found a currency exchanger and changed some dollars into pesos to tip him. He was very happy, smiling from ear to ear he took my leave. As I bade him goodbye, I couldn’t thank my stars enough for making all this possible for me that magical night, starting with meeting the pleasant lady at the airport food court, then this kind bus driver, my god-sent angels.
That lady was the perfect person sent to my table by the Universe, who was capable of helping me realize my wish. Anyone else in her place wouldn’t have bothered, or they would have stopped trying when I expressed my fears, but she went out of her way to dissolve my fears, so I could catch a glimpse of her country! And the bus driver was next in line who arrived at the nick of time, to fulfill my desire of seeing Mexico city at that odd hour. It was synchronicity at play, spontaneous fulfillment of desire, in a world without strangers!
Pictures by Joel Vilchis, the metro bus driver
To learn more about synchronicity, read: understanding synchronicity on our destiny path. I returned to the airport, entered a lounge and slept for a few hours before catching my morning flight. Thankfully I had my sleeping bag with me, so I wasn’t cold at night.
What happened next? Stay tuned to my next article coming soon: more magic in los angeles.