The main thoroughfares of the city appeared clogged with traffic of various vehicular proportions and it soon became evident that all of the taxis were in use. Continuing our walk, we spied a young man working in a garage. Sliding from beneath a worn chassis, he asked, "I help you?"
His name was Enrique. A bevy of broken Spanish and English ensued, accompanied by a hastily drawn map. Noticing my grandfather's increasingly quizzical countenance, he gestured for us to stay put, his voice trailing off after, "You wait, I bring limo..."
We weren't at all certain we wanted a ride in a limousine, but as my need for a loo was growing, Enrique's rapid disappearance up the crowded street brought hope of a quick dash to our hotel room's spotless commode.
The shade of the garage offered respite from the early afternoon's rising heat but did nothing against the cacophony of belching exhausts, agitated shouts or horns of various decibels teeming in the street.
When after several minutes, the commanding voice behind a bullhorn approached, many, including my grandfather and I, were instantly hushed. Gazing out, we saw Enrique, bullhorn in hand, leaning from the passenger window of a 1950's era hearse.
After a barely discernible expletive from my grandfather, the street cleared as on the sidewalk people gawked, presumably concerned about the identity of the finned vehicle's occupants.
Stopping in front of the garage, the driver explained in hurried English that he was Enrique's cousin, Alberto, and owned a nearby funeral home. He was only to happy to escort us back to our hotel since he was meeting someone at the bar there for lunch.
Scanning the hearse's back window, my grandfather then glanced at me and said "Gracias," as its rear door opened and we climbed inside. A short and silent ride later, I found myself looking into the eyes of a confused bellman as I quickly exited the hearse, grandfather in tow, amid a flurry of hasty goodbyes.
Sadly, I have no pictures from that day, nor have I ever ridden in an actual limousine. I do however, know what the quiet of a hearse feels like, and I'm in no hurry for the next such adventure.
The phrase, "You wait here, I bring limo..." reminds me of lines from films one cannot forget and I always recall the sweet and sweaty young man, with a mop of brown hair, his hands stained with grease, running through a crowded lane...