Arrival (Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe)

The journey not the arrival matters.

T. S. Eliot

pilgrimsThe overnight flight from Portland to Houston was uneventful, as was the morning flight from Houston to Mexico City, as was the bus ride from Mexico City to San Miguel as well as the taxi ride from the bus terminal to the casita.  Also uneventful were the three hour waits in Houston for the connecting flight and at the Central Terminal del Norte for the bus.  The trip started at 10:30 pm Pacific time at the Portland airport and ended at 7 pm Central time at the casita.
dead tvs houston

traveler in prayer compAt the Houston airport I spotted a huge bank of dead TVs and a young man kneeling as if in prayer in front of a bank of monitors that showed destinations and departure times.  I passed through the Houston airport on my way to Portland, too, and missed my connecting flight, partly due to a delay in Mexico City (our plane showed up late) as well as due to immigration in the U.S. where 350 people were in line ahead of me.

truckThe taxi ride from the airport to the bus terminal, however, yielded  a trail of pilgrims (peregrinos) on their way from Mexico City to the basilica at Tepayac to honor the Virgin on her day (12 Dec.). The pilgrims, in all manner of clothing, traveling by foot and by bicycle, solo and with friends and family.  A a steady procession:  some carried images of the Virgin on their backs and others had statues of her.  Along the way vendors had food and drink for them.  There were trucks representing groups and clubs of pilgrims.

The bus terminal was busier than normal as some university students were already leaving for Christmas break, families were traveling a day in advance of the Virgen’s day, and some people carried wrapped Christmas presents.   After a night of presenting passports, crossing borders, going in and out of xray-like machines, it was a relief to be on the bus headed to San Miguel.  I knew I was in San Miguel when I heard a drum corps practicing.  During the night there were various fireworks and explosions and bell ringings in honor of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.



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