It is said that everything comes in threes. Although we enjoyed Oaxaca in so many ways, we had the purse incident and witnessed the teachers’ protest. What do you suppose the third “challenge” might have been?
On Wednesday morning, we decided it would be best to leave Oaxaca at 6 am. We wanted to be on our way, well ahead of any further protests that might occur over the course of the morning. This proved to be a wise decision because later on, 70,000 “teachers” marched through the streets, leaving 1.2 million children without classes.
But that was not the third issue WE had to deal with. Ours was the health of one of the group members. She had caught a bug of some kind and became dehydrated. We had a doctor “in the house” who declared that intravenous fluids were required, the sooner the better… And we’re on the road to Mexico City… what to do?
“Don’t worry,” said our bus driver. “There’s a Federal Highways Emergency Unit a little further up the way.”
I must admit I had visions of some ramshackle first aid station… and so I was thoroughly surprised when we drove into “La Palapa Km. 127.5” emergency medical facility.
When we pulled up I said, “We have a sick person on our bus.” The paramedic who came to greet me didn’t ask for ID or insurance or anything. He picked up his kit and said, “Take me to the patient.” The rest of the group piled off the bus and wandered through the cool, shady garden while our friend was cared for.
Eventually two other paramedics: Darío Pineda and Verónica Caballero came to assist Humberto Janeiro, the first on the scene. They moved their patient to a state-of-the-art ambulance where fluids were administered intravenously, her temperature was brought down, and medication was given to ease her discomfort. The doctor from our group said she was thoroughly impressed, as were we all… not only with the level of professionalism but by the kindness. Within an hour, we were on our way again, with a much-improved seatmate. We watched out the window as the three energetically waved us goodbye and wished us Godspeed. The total cost for the emergency medical service? Zero – Zip – Nada!
The negative events we witnessed in Oaxaca were all over the newspapers and TV. But Mexico is full of caring people, like Humberto, Darío and Verónica who work away every day in a positive way. I feel we need to applaud their positive efforts and get their stories out there.
In Mexico City, we spent our final hours at Xochimilco – the floating gardens of the county’s Capital.
I think all the Life Long Learning group members agreed that we had a huge amount of fun on this year’s tour and we saw a side of Mexico that doesn’t get a lot of coverage on the nightly newscasts.