The New York Times says in a recent travel piece that sunsets on the beach of Pie de la Cuesta are a "near-religious experience."
Families wander down to sit in the cool sand, couples honeymooning in Acapulco come out into the salt air, boys play soccer and other people just gaze at the orange sun as it dips behind the darkening waves, the Times wrote.
Joey and I thought it was a fine sunset, as sunsets go. We did not think it was spectacular. We were not entirely sure it was worth all that trouble and an entire day of our vacation, though parts of the day had been pleasant. (The hammock in the grass-roofed bar, for instance, was pretty darn nice.)
She and I walked along the sand as the sun dipped lower. Juan walked behind us. He was a determined man. Every now and then, he caught up to us and we'd tell him politely to leave us alone, and he'd fall back ... only to catch up again a little later.
He wanted to take us back to Acapulco, he said. We would have trouble finding another cab.
We quickened our pace. I was almost speed-walking toward the sunset. Yet somehow the big lumbering guy always managed to catch up. Once, I stopped so that Joey could take my picture. Just as she clicked the shutter, I felt a meaty hand on one shoulder and a heavy chin on the other shoulder: Juan, that trickster.
The sun set. We took its picture. Then we headed to the village to find a cab. Juan followed us.
He was right; we could not find one.
With great resignation and weariness, we climbed back into Juan's VW Beetle. "Take us back to the Hotel Tortuga," I said sternly. "Take us directly there."
And than I sank back in the seat with a feeling of fatalism. He would take us where he would take us; I'd done all I could.
I was tired. I was confused. Was he a bad man? A potential rapist? Or just a cab driver who thought he might be able to have a good time with a beautiful American woman? Was he dangerous? Was I over-reacting? Was I a hero? An idiot?
The cab sped through the Mexican night. He took us to our hotel.
I climbed out of the back seat, but as Joey tried to exit, he grabbed her hand. "A kiss, first," he said.
Joey was tired, too. She leaned over and pecked him on the cheek. He pulled her back again, and said something. From where I stood, out on the sidewalk, amongst the basket vendors and children selling Chiclets, I couldn't hear his words. But Joey gave an impatient shriek and leaped out of the cab.
We watched the VW Beetle drive off into the starry Acapulco night.
What did he say to you? I asked.
Joey looked at me and grimaced. He said, 'Once more, with the tongue.'
We looked at each other in silence. Finally, Joey spoke. Let's go get another beer, she said. And we did.
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