I met him late one Saturday afternoon when the bus I was travelling in stopped at the city of Guadalajara. The person who had been sitting next to me got up and left and he plumped himself down in the vacated seat.
He must have been in his mid 30´s. He was good-looking in a dark Spanish way – head of black wavy black hair, olive skin, moustache, regular jaw line. From the way he was dressed – neat shirt and trousers – I would have picked him as a public servant or a teacher.
We made small talk for a while.
The end stop of the bus was the town of Tequila and he was going there because he worked as a security guard at a tequila distillery; this week he was on the night shift.
I was on my way there because it seemed only natural to visit the town where Mexico’s famous national drink was made. Besides which, it wasn’t easy anymore finding destinations in Mexico to travel to which were still relatively safe.
It was in 2013 and I was nearing the end of my two weeks in Mexico. It was unlikely I would return, which was a shame because Mexico was a unique country and quite unlike other Spanish speaking nations in South and Central America. But facts were facts: the country was sliding into anarchy. Organised crime gangs were running entire provinces and forming a threat to the central government. Murders, assassinations and kidnappings were so commonplace they had become almost banal. The notorious El Chapo Guzman, the most notorious leader of a crime gang exporting cocaine, marihuana and meth amphetamines to the U.S. and Europe, was constantly in the news. Murders and ‘disappearances’ were everyday events.
The number of areas which the Mexican government advised tourists not to visit was far greater than during my last visit in 2007.
The journey to Tequila as it turned out, my last glimpse of Mexico and as fate would have it, it was a strangely and quintessentially Mexican experience. And it began with Marcos, a man who had ventured beyond the borders of Mexico and returned, fully realising the dangers he ran…..