The Onyx Ashtray
It was 1966 when we bought
the small green onyx ashtray
in Woolworths, Mexico City.
It depicted a hunched gaucho
sleeping beneath his sombrero.
Unfortunately the other day
it fell on the floor and it broke.
It had stood on the windowsill
to remind me I used to smoke
which I believed to be macho.
It also brought back memories
of the exotic places we visited,
newlyweds on our honeymoon,
in the land of Aztecs and Mayas.
Having left the Mexican capital
went in search of the pyramids
of the Sun and of the Moon,
in the holy city of Teotihuacan
which allegedly is ‘the place
where the gods were created’.
Then onwards we travelled
by a Greyhound Express bus.
An overnight stop in Taxco,
an ancient silver mining town.
At midnight a band of mariachis
serenaded a girl two floors down
from the room where we slept.
It’s a custom met with a frown
by those whose sleep is disturbed
but a tribute the girl will accept.
Acapulco was our destination
and eventually we got there.
We lazed on the golden beach,
enjoyed the local gastronomy,
ate tacos and drank tequila,
watched the divers at La Quebrada
did everything that tourists do,
did not worry about economy,
we risked ending up with nada
but had the best time of our life.
© Luigi Pagano 2017
A branch of Woolworths in Mexico City! Blimey…. the mind does a veritable boggle. Enjoyed your poem, Luigi. Great memories with that quintessential ‘Ionicus’ jaunt.
Nothing extraordinay about Mexico City having a Woolworths branch, Mick. Most capitals had one in 1966, some even now. You could find useful things in that kind of store. I once found a girlfriend behind the beauty counter of the one in London’s Oxford Street. She is not part of this particular story but might be the basis for another narrative.
Thanks as usual for your welcome comment.
It is autobiographical, Trevor, including the onyx ashtray which sounds quite posh but cost very little – though I can’t remember the amount.
Even our honeymoon holiday was on a limited budget. We managed to have drinks at the Acapulco Hilton but this was courtesy of a newlywed American couple we met on the beach who invited us and, luckily for us, footed the bill. There is so much more I could say about our Mexican jaunt and perhaps I will one day.
By the way, nada means nothing in Spanish.
Ha, ha, Trevor. Your last remark reminds me of some ads. that say ‘Nothing works better than,,,’ to which one is tempted to reply: ‘Use nothing then!’ On the subject of Americans, I didn’t mention that, in Mexico City, we shared a 1-peso taxi (a cab, advertised by the forefinger of the driver sticking out the window, that could be hailed by anyone to embark and disembark anywhhere on request) with a man who said was a neighbour and a friend of president Johnson. He recommended a good and inexpensive restaurant and gave us an open invitation to his ranch… Read more »