Sunday, June 23, 2013

Honk if you are a friend

We were a few minutes into the drive from the airport heading towards the lodge when the traffic came to a stop.

"No normal. Accidente" Luis said.

Luis in his vehicle.

With all the twenty years of driving around tourists and being their guide, Luis hasn't bothered to pick up the English language.  I, despite all my fascination with Latin America ever since the visit to Venezuela twenty-five summers ago, haven't learnt Spanish.  I have tried, but no habla Espanol is easier.

So, Luis uses simple Spanish words and phrases, and I use simple English words and phrases.  Every once in a while he uses simple English words, and I use simple Spanish words.  Thus, we communicated a lot.  He loves to chat and I love to ask questions. We know about our families.  We are hermanos.

A couple of minutes later, we had the proof--an accident.  Once we passed that, the speed picked up.

All of a sudden, Luis honked.  I nearly jumped.

I rarely ever use the horn.  Back in Oregon, I have honked only under two conditions.  One, when driving through tunnels.  Well, who doesn't!  The other is in Corvallis when I pass a bunch of old pacifists who hold signs by the roadside, advocating for peace and anti-war.

Other than these, I can't recall honking over the past few years.

Luis noticed my reactions.   "I see amigo then ..." he pressed the horn.

Luis' amigos were constantly calling and texting him.  But, a safe driver that he is, Luis rarely ever answered them when driving.  And, no, those women are not his amigas--they happened to be there, and I decided to frame the shot this way for more color ;)

After that, I noticed Luis honking a lot as we passed people.  Sometimes a passing vehicle honked at us--Luis' friends, I figured.

Once, it was quite a few honks stringed together.  Hiding my mild annoyance, and with a facade of excitement, I exclaimed, "muchos amigos."

Luis laughed.

Sunday afternoon, through the drizzle, I rushed to the market to beat the five-o-clock closing time in order to buy a mango and a  ginger ale.  On my way back, it was a tad more than a light rain.  I was enjoying walking in the warm rain and recalling the rainy days of Neyveli and Sengottai when I thought I heard that familiar horn.

I turned my attention towards the road as the vehicle passed me.  I saw Luis waving at me.

I have a amigo in Orosi. His name is Luis.

Luis' taxi over a very scenic bridge that had lots of holes on the surface--holes big enough for a kid to easily fall through into the river below!


Shachi said...

Omg that bridge is so scary. Luis seems to be an interesting person. I have always ended up with interesting drivers during my travels.

Loving the travelogues. Keep them coming.

Ramesh said...

Having been born in the land of Horn OK Please, you can't morph into a honk free gringo !!!!

Try the Luis technique in eerily silent Eugene. Honk at the neighbour ; honk at the student and maybe you'll set off a global trend. Tra la la ...

Sriram Khé said...

Glad you like them, Shachi ... yes, interesting drivers can make a huge difference when traveling ...

The next time I meet with you,Ramesh, I should remember to bring along an air horn or a bicycle bell or something and greet you with loud sounds from them ;)
Oh, the gringo thing ... that post is coming ... soon ;)

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