1964. We had recently left the busy port town of Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, the Free and Sovereign State of Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave. Now my wife, I and our sturdy Chevy station wagon were lost. Our sleekly printed, carefully drawn map did not show the unpaved road we were traveling. Ahead a thin man squatted as if waiting for a bus. We hoped his presence meant he knew where he was going – unlike the two of us. We hoped he knew where he was at.
But he didn’t respond to Spanish. As we asked questions, he stood and walked up the slender path leading away from our larger road. “No, Señor just some questions, por favor,” we called out. His Indian face turned away. He disappeared into a clump of spiny underbrush.
Finally, we hit a trail cut by wagon wheels that took us to what seemed a planned but abandoned building site. It sported cement benches facing a clear branch of a river, but no buildings. An ideal camping spot.
The next morning a rancher, riding a large, handsome horse, rode up. There was a rifle in his saddle’s scabbard. With his wide sombrero, he looked like a Revolutionary era photo.