Melon Chino
The bus costs six pesos. The exchange rate is, more or less, 13.5 pesos to a dollar. I take the bus from the corner of Avenida Juarez and Ninos Heroes to the market by the Cineopolis. This morning, the route, that is teeming with people in the afternoons, is near empty. In fact, by the time I arrive at the grocery store, just the driver and I remain on the bus. At one point on the trip, this driver hits a pothole or a tope (speed bump) too fast, and I bounce into the air, striking my wrist on the seat in front of me. As I try to rub the pain away, I am grateful my bones are strong and that he takes the next obstacle at a lower speed.

The grocery store also is near empty. I note the day and time and make plans to do shopping at the same time next week.

I know this market now just as well as I have learned the market in my neighborhood in Sacramento, maybe better because they are always moving things around in the market at home. I find everything I want — except grapes and a sweet potato. I even find a taxi in a flash.

The driver has all sorts of questions. I am not sure where he is going with the questions, so I only respond politely, not asking him about himself, not starting a conversation. It isn’t that I don’t have the inclination to interrogate. I do. But, I’ve learned when someone is delivering me right to the door it is best not to seem too interested or friendly. It is hard not to be friendly.

I give him the 45 pesos and a 5 peso tip for helping me with my six bags of groceries. Mari helps me in the door, saying it is best I didn’t try to juggle the bags on the bus. (All I can think of is what a sight it would be if I and six grocery bags bounced from the seat!)

As I am unloading the apples and yogurt and bread, I hear the front bell and think nothing of it. Who would be ringing after me?

Mari comes to my room with my cantaloupe. My friendly chauffeur turned a corner and heard it bowl across his trunk, so he circled back and delivered it to me.

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