Travelers turn up in odd places. One Sunday at coffee hour after church I was talking to an older lady whom I knew in the way that you know other people in the congregation and mentioned that I had recently been to the Yucatán. She smiled wistfully, as older ladies do, and asked if I had been to Uxmal. Then she told me how, when she was a young girl in college, she and her roommate had gone to Mexico one summer and at Uxmal she had climbed to the top of the pyramid and spent the night there, in order to see the sunrise.
By her age, that would have put her there sometime in the ‘forties, long before any development or tourist facilities, when Uxmal had scarcely been scraped out of the dry jungle and so much that I had seen when I was there I knew from old photographs were then still rubble scattered in the brush.
But here was this perfectly normal-looking church lady who as a young girl had gone with her college roommate into that remote and ill-policed Treasure of Sierra Madre country and slept on the top of a pyramid in order to see the sunrise. I could picture her, a slim-waisted young woman standing on top of the Pyramid of the Magician, perhaps in high-topped boots and riding breeches, hands on her hips as she watches the sun break over the flat scrub of the eastern horizon.
She finished college and went on to some sort of career, marrying a nice fellow, a scientist; they traveled as appropriate to business and for pleasure; they raised a couple of normal, successful children and she now was quite content to reminisce over coffee about an adventure she once went on when she was a young girl in college.
A nice little story to remember, should I ever be feeling too full of myself.