We're sitting in the bed of an old pickup, en route to MTY, lungs full of grippy, steely smog (with notes of something montane), half an hour away from a two-hour flight and then a four-hour bus ride. To Tulum.
The driver, the lone female in la banda that ran the hostel where we stayed last night—one of these brassy and prurient north Mexican chicks who, by my calculations, had beat me to my aspirational self by about ten years—she's sizing up the traffic, glancing at the vehicles on the road as they darted in and out of in her mirrors. She has the radio turned up real loud.
There's this girl with us, sort of, a friend of a friend of the driver. Back at the hostel, she had thrown her person-sized pack into the back of the truck and hopped into the passenger seat without a word, leaving me and Emi to join the canvas dummy and our own tattered bags there. And, without a word, we did.
Leaning against the cab, Emi is staring back at the cars inching forward. She's uncomfortable, unable to find the silver lining, but won't complain. She will not complain. And so the distillation begins, and later, after this half-hour ride and the two-hour flight and the four-hour bus drive is over, we'll be left with something much worse than a complaint.