There I was in a room at hotel Continental in CD Juarez Mexico , feeling I have just done the stupidest thing I have ever done in my life..
I was in Juarez with no luggage, only my cellphone and suit and tie looking like Penn Jilette from Penn and Teller wearing a hat, and my only company was probably the only mosquito in miles around, and of course I had no fly swatter..
It was the strangest flight ever and it all was in a haze, day before yesterday I won the jackpot in the Kings birthday lottery, well actually it was a fifth of the jackpot because I had only a fifth of a ticket , but one fifth of 42 million was still over 8 million Euro ..
It was the only time I had bought a lottery ticket and right away 1st prize..
So, wearing suit and tie in a city where I have seen no one ever wears a suit and tie, I must be sticking out like a black fly on the North Pole ..
It was a good thing that I had the clarity of mind to get Mexican currency from a money machine, at least I could get something to eat in the restaurant down stairs..
I locked the mosquito in the room serving it right for following me ..
In the restaurant, the only thing I could recognize was Pizza and I ordered one by pointing the menu card, and there I found something that made me happy, they had Carta Blanca the best beer I have ever had in my entire life..
With a shock it came to mind that I had to speak Spanish again an that was a long time ago.. "y tambien una carta blanca" I added and the waiter nodded and wrote it down..
Again I thought "what the hell am I doing here" and almost directly the same thought answered this question, "are you stupid? you came to look for the love of your life to who you said goodbye 5 years ago that evening at your goodbye party the last time you were there"..
It never happened before that my own thoughts spoke to me like I was another person, but that voice made sense so I decided to listen to it .
It felt like being Disney's Pluto in the cartoon where his good conscience was talking in one ear trying to prevent the mischief that his bad conscience ( red withhorns) was talking in his other ear.
I took my cellphone and laid it in front of me on the table after activating the touch screen and there she was looking at me Maria from Mexico, after all these years her picture was still the wallpaper of my phone, it just moved to every new cellphone I had since the last time I met her ..
Of course that was the reason I was here, again after the many times I have visited this city just to be with her, I even learned to find my way here..
The contacts list of my phone was only a finger tap away, but I hesitated.. to call her with a Dutch Sim card would be very expensive, it was better to purchase a Mexican Sim card for my phone..
Hm.. that would be a task at this hour of day after all it already was almost 11 pm, maybe the waiter could help me. I thought about the right way to ask the question when he was already approaching with the beer I ordered. With a hand gesture I made him wait and told him "Quiero comprar una tarjeta SIM para mi celular" (I like to buy a sim card for my cellphone) and I half expected a negative answer but I was wrong , without changing his facial expression he answered me " movistar, telmex o america movil ?" three possible providers ..
Maybe it wasn't that a strange question after all , I decided for Movistar since I had used that in my previous visits .
I wanted to get my wallet but the waiter was already walking back to the rear of the restaurant .
Maria's smile was still shining at me from the screen of the phone, maybe it would scare the crap out of her to discover that I was here , maybe she would be happy to see me, hey I was rich now ..... "ding ding" went the voice in my head "why do you need this Sim card, you have more money than you can ever spend on the phone, moron! "
The Waiter returned with my pizza and a Sim card, I felt really embarrassed and I hope he would not notice it..
Well if he did, he did not show it, I paid him for the Sim card and put it the inside pocket of my jacket..
The pizza was huge like the wheel of a small car, I could never eat that alone ! and again I looked at the phone where the picture of Maria already turned black to save the phone battery..
One hour and five Carta Blanca beers later I paid the check and went back to my room, I opened the door and the mosquito flew out so I closed the door quickly to prevent it coming in again..
They say "New York, the city that never sleeps" well it is the same for the place where I was now, the traffic noise never stops, I laid down on the bed and in a distance I heard a truck horn blow the melody of La cucaracha and I fell asleep..
A Dutchman in the city of Juarez south of the border with El Paso Texas, probably the most out of place person in the world, but crazy enough for me it felt like being home.
The sound of the city of Juarez woke me up, the ever present nose of traffic just turned up a few points on the volume scale, from my window has a view on "Avenida 16 de septiembre" just around the corner I saw two buses of the city public transport with their heavy V8 diesels thundering through followed by two taxis hunting for costumers and a beer truck of my favorite brand..
That was my first look outside the hotel room window nothing changed since the last time ..
I got dressed, the black suit and tie started to look silly but It was the only I had with me, I smirked when I thought with a pair of black sunglasses I would look like a man in black from the movie.
I took some money from my wallet and put it in one of the pockets of my black suit pants ..
Downstairs I returned the Key-card of the room and turned to walk to the exit of the hall.. I hesitated for a moment, "call her" went the voice in my head, but my hands would not move to reach for my phone "it was not yet the right time" I decided and walked outside in to traffic ready for a stiff stroll to more familiar places in the city.
I started to walk southwards, it would not be that far to the Juarez Mercado, city market, maybe I could get some less conspicuous clothes there ..
The weather was great, and filled with optimism I walked the sidewalk of Avenida Lerdo and turned left at " AV 16 de Septiembre". A taxi pulled over in my direction, the driver inviting me in "taxi sir ?" I declined his offer, he was the first of many. I guess that is what you get walking there in a suit and tie and being mistaken for an American from the USA..
I remembered an earlier visit when two young guys approached me and gave me a push "hey Gringo" .. I thought I was in big trouble and bewildered I said "no amigo, no soy gringo, soy de Holanda" (no my friend I am no gringo I am from Holland) and these turned out to be a magic words that initiated a total change in attitude towards me.
"OOOOH Holanda" and these guys turned out to be soccer fans and knew the names of every player in the Dutch national soccer team..
Even though I knew nothing at all of that subject we had a nice talk and greeted each other and that was it. Being alongside this crowded street I hoped these words would not have lost their magic five years later.
Damn I was totally forgotten how large this city is and how long the streets are.
Fortunately the city market was easy to find and not really that far from where I was but it still took me a 2 hour walk 7 declined taxis, on AV 16 de Septiembre to get to my destination, the city market with it's outdoor cafe/restaurants it's leather shops for most visitors a place to go to ..
But the place wasn't like I remembered there was something strange I could not place well first I would have a bottle of Carta Blanca and then I would look for something to surprise Maria with..
Then the weirdest thing happened, I woke up in my bed in my own house ..
Again a dream had fooled me, but it wasn't a bad dream, but I was really angry with myself that I did not call Maria in the Hotel, Now I completely missed that part..
Well it was the day after our King's birthday and I got my lottery ticket, opened the website of the state lottery and filled in the number of the ticket..
It wasn't the jackpot, but I had a prize.. the lowest there was: only one single Euro ..
But hey, maybe , just maybe the dream will come true, on an other lottery ticket I now will buy every month, just one, because it keeps the dream alive ..