Gunfights Don’t Usually Last That Long…
The town of Creel has a population of about 5,000. It’s a pretty small place. The gunshots were coming from somewhere at the edge of town which wasn’t that far away. I suppose I should’ve been more disturbed, but honestly I wasn’t.
I live in a rural part of Central Texas and I hear gunshots almost every day. In fact, on some days, the shots I hear are mine.
The co-op was on a small backstreet and many buildings surrounded us. The shots sounded far enough away I thought there wouldn’t be any danger of ricochets or stray bullets hitting us. Or, I hoped so.
I looked at the rest of our group. Pedro had settled in sitting quietly on the step in front of the store. His face unreadable in that placid way that Indians around the world seem to have. Anthony was alert, but calm. “Sounds like a typical day in Fresno,” Anthony said when he saw I was checking in on him. Dave was busy talking to people to see if he could find out what was going on.
Impulse Shopping in Creel, Mexico
So I did the safest thing I could think of and entered the store and went shopping. It was inside a concrete building – surely no bullets would get in there? (Note to my husband: see how shopping is a good thing and can actually save your life at times?).
I’m not any great expert on conflict, but one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that any fight – be it with fists, knives, or guns – is usually over very quickly. And sure enough the shots died down within minutes.
A small crowd had gathered in the street in front of the store. The co-op had turned into an impromptu community center. Everyone was looking for information on what had happened and no one knew. Since milling about there wasn’t doing us any good, Pedro suggested that we head off to the bus station and wait there. Pedro told us the buses fill up and if we wanted a seat we should get there early.
Catching the Bus to Tarahumara Country
I expected the bus to be a refurbished old school bus, and I was mildly surprised to see it was a slightly newer model touring coach. A few years ago I visited Cuba and every day brought a new miracle as the bus sputtered its way safely to and from where we were going. If its old inspection sticker was to be believed, that Cuban school bus had been in Louisiana in 1987 at one point in its history. We all took turns sitting in this one seat where you had to use your feet to hold down a piece of cardboard that covered a giant hole in the floorboard. If you didn’t keep the hole covered, then everyone riding inside the bus would get to breathe toxic exhaust.
The big red coach in front of us now looked in much better shape. Compared to that old Cuban bus, this looked downright deluxe. “Don’t get too excited,” Dave said, “these coaches might be newer, but they have cloth seats.”
“Why are cloth seats a problem?” I asked, surprised.
“Well,” said Dave, “with those old school buses you could go inside and hose them down. These new ones with cloth seats you can never wash out the smell of vomit.”
Within my first few steps on to the bus I knew exactly what he meant.
And we would soon to find out why people riding this bus would be compelled to vomit. In fact, I would nickname the bus “the vomit comet.”
This article is Chapter 5 in the series “Extreme Agri-Tourism: Off the Grid with the Tarhumara Indians.” You can read the rest of the series here:
• Chapter 1: Extreme Agri-Tourism
• Chapter 2: Hard Traveling
• Chapter 3: The Tarhumara Girls School
• Chapter 4: How To Lose 30 Pounds In 10 Seconds
• Chapter 5: Gunfights Don’t Usually Last That Long…
• Chapter 6: The Vomit Comet Through Tarahumara Country
• Chapter 7: Don’t Ever Do This When Traveling In Strange Territory
• Chapter 8: Nice Legs Really Scare Tarahumara Men
• Chapter 9: Living Sustainably Is An Everyday Thing Here
• Chapter 10: The Biggest Surprise of the Trip
• Chapter 11: Another Tarahumara Myth Busted
• Chapter 12: Sleeping with Rats is Better than Freezing
• Chapter 13: COMING SOON
Marjory Wildcraft is an Expedition Leader and Bioneer Blogger with The [Grow] Network, which is an online community that recognizes the wisdom of “homegrown food on every table.” Marjory has been featured as an expert on sustainable living by National Geographic, she is a speaker at Mother Earth News fairs, and is a returning guest on Coast to Coast AM. She is an author of several books, but is best known for her “Grow Your Own Groceries” video series, which is used by more than 300,000 homesteaders, survivalists, universities, and missionary organizations around the world.