“Did you know they’re carnivores?”
“Really?” I say while staring at a ladybug that fluttered right in front of me only to land on this gorgeous Agate necklace I was eying.
“They are good luck,” says the brown skinned woman in front of me. She is younger, in her mid-twenties maybe, short and a little stocky. She’s pretty with lovely cheekbones and thick black hair framing her face and falling to her mid-back. She pulls out a bracelet with a coconut shell pendant that has the Om symbol on it. “You seem like you’d like this,” she says.
I laugh, “Why do you say that?”
“I don’t know, something about your vibration…” she says.
I like her almost immediately. Not just because she’s flattered me, I know she just wants to sell me things and of course she’d pull the Om symbol for me. I’m wearing a red silk string around my wrist with a Chinese white jade pendant on it. My hair looks like the wild man of Borneo from the fun little bike ride I just had and I’m wearing a simple black tank top with rolled up jeans. The Om symbol is probably a very likely guess for the skilled eye. I know flattery is her expertise but it’s more that. I like her.
We get over the basics about where I’m from and how I came here alone. She is surprised that I’m biking on these “dangerous streets” and says I’m brave and I think to myself: if she only knew what biking at rush hour in Chicago was like. I tell her about the places I’ve visited so far on this trip and how when in a new place I always try to ask the women for directions as a means of engaging them and seldom often do they even answer. Sometimes they avoid eye contact all together so I won’t talk to them. I’ve learned if I need directions in this country I need to speak with the men.
I told her about when I was in this little indigenous town near the ruins I asked a lady selling Mexican sweet bread for a recommendation as to which bread to buy. She shyly nodded her head no, as though she had no idea which bread was good. I told her that I was a non-discriminating bread lover and would love whichever one she recommended regardless. She still refused to recommend one and barely spoke to me. I knew she spoke Spanish because I had heard her earlier with one of her daughters. I was puzzled as to why she wouldn’t speak to me.
“Yes, some women around here are like that. They don’t feel comfortable speaking with strangers or are afraid to. Some don’t think it’s their place to do so either.” She says. “Not me though, I’m free. I don’t have a husband telling me what to do and I have no children. I can travel and save up money and learn about the world by meeting people like you.”
“It’s so nice to meet a young woman who is independent and travels and has opinions and speaks up.” I say.
“It’s good to be open, take advantage of traveling while you can, I really miss it.” She responds.
Of course, I ended up buying the necklace, two actually, and the Om bracelet. I wear it every day, to remind me of her. She gave me so much hope for the young women in Mexico.