|The Man from Swift Current|
|© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved
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|Chapter 52: Xalapa|
The next morning, Felipe woke us up. "Boy, you guys were sure active last night! You sounded like you were having so much fun I wanted to join you!" Felipe grinned and playfully punched my shoulder. "I see that Rick kept his promise to you." Seeing my questioning look, he elaborated, "Go look in the mirror! You've been marked, again!"
Rick looked at my neck and started laughing, "I marked you really good. I'm sorry, sweetheart. I hope you aren't angry with me?" Rick nibbled on my ear and pulled me closer to him.
"How can I be angry with you when you only did what I asked you to do?" I responded grinning widely.
"Good. Then you won't mind if I give you a matching mark," Rick teased as he moved his lips to my neck and nipped me.
"No, you don't. At least, not this morning," I laughed at Rick's hurt expression.
"You know I love you, Rick," I said.
Rick smiled at me and playfully nipped the back of my neck. With that I jumped out of bed giving Felipe an eye full, "I'm getting in the shower." I reached over and pulled Rick up with me.
"You two are a wonderful sight to behold," Felipe said admiring our well defined muscles and our morning woodies. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to make it a threesome this morning? You could both fuck me." He smiled and gave us a hopeful look.
I looked over at Rick who said, "We can have a make out session with you but we don't fuck. We are in a monogamous relationship and we intend to keep it that way."
Felipe's smile faltered slightly but he managed to keep it pasted on his face. He replied, "I had to ask just on the off chance you had changed your minds and wanted to have an open relationship."
"Thanks for letting us know we still turn you on, Felipe. I was afraid I was getting too fat to hold your attention anymore," I said as I puffed out my stomach and pretended to have a gut. Felipe burst out laughing, "There is no way you will ever be fat, Glenn. You are so skinny you will disappear if you turn sideways!"
"I am not skinny!" I protested. "I am just right."
Rick came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. He hugged me for a moment and then he slowly ran his hands along my chest and stomach as he kissed the back of my neck. I arched my back as he took my morning woody in his hand and started to stroke me. I turned my head and met his lips. I moaned into Rick's mouth as his tongue battled with mine. Rick released me and turned me around to face him. I leaned against his chest and pulled him closer to me, molding my body to his. I looked into Rick's eyes and said, "I am ready for our shower."
Rick gave me a wicked grin, "So am I."
I took Rick by the hand and led him to the bathroom leaving Felipe sitting on our bed.
We enjoyed our usual shower routine and returned to finish getting dressed for the day. Felipe was sprawled naked across our bed. It was obvious that he had just finished jacking off.
Felipe grinned and said, "It made me so horny watching you two that I needed some relief."
I laughed, "We can see that. Just make sure you clean up after yourself."
Felipe grabbed the t-shirt he had discarded and wiped himself off and then helped us strip off the sheets. He pulled on his briefs and khaki shorts before he gathered up the sheets and took them down the hall to the laundry room. He returned and asked, "Have you packed your things for the trip?"
"What should we take in the way of clothing for our trip?" Rick asked Felipe.
"Layers would be wise. It's cold in the mornings but then it warms up during the day," Felipe instructed. "I'm taking a light jacket, a sweater and hat along with my usual jeans and t-shirts."
"We'll do the same. I'm glad you told us to pack a variety of clothing before we left Atlanta," I said.
"I'm going to call Mauricio and let him know of Dad's job offer. I'll meet you guys downstairs," Felipe said.
"I thought we were going to stop by his apartment instead?" I asked looking at Felipe.
"Dad says that we can call him so we can be on our way," Felipe said. He walked out of our bedroom and left us to finish our preparations for our trip.
We finished packing our things into one duffel bag and left all the rest of our stuff for when we returned. Rick said, "That should do it. Are we ready?"
"Yeah, I've even got my camera packed," I said.
"Okay, let's go," Rick said and led the way downstairs with our duffle hanging over his shoulder.
We entered the kitchen and joined Gary, Oscar and Felipe at breakfast. Mrs. Martinez brought us a plate of bacon and eggs with toast.
"Thank you, Mrs. Martinez," Rick said.
"You are welcome," Mrs. Martinez responded with a smile.
Felipe said between mouthfuls, "I called Mauricio and he said he would accept the job. Dad is going to send one of his employees over to pick him up so Mauricio can begin his new job today."
Gary said, "That's great, Felipe. I hope Mauricio will be happy working for Dad."
Oscar responded, "I'm sure he will because Dad is always thinking of his employees. You know that most of the guys have worked for Dad since we were really little. You don't build that kind of loyalty if you aren't taking care of your employees."
Mr. Gomez entered the kitchen, "Yes, boys, it's very important to remember to treat your employees with respect and dignity. They will return that same respect and dignity to you. I've always treated them fairly and looked out for their welfare. They have stood by me through the good and the bad times. I am very fortunate to have made many friends among my employees. Are you boys ready to go to the bus depot?"
We all nodded our heads, "Then let's get going. I have a very busy day ahead of me and need to get back as soon as possible."
We all got up, grabbed our gear and followed Mr. Gomez out to the car. He drove us downtown and dropped us off at the Autobuses de Oriente (ADO) bus depot. We entered the building and bought our tickets to Xalapa. We didn't wait very long since our bus was due to leave in 15 minutes. So we followed Felipe outside to where the bus was loading. We climbed on board and found seats towards the back of the bus. The bus was a motor coach type bus with nicely upholstered seats that reclined. Rick let me sit next to the window and put his arm around me and managed to sneak a quick kiss before anyone else boarded the bus.
Gary stood up behind our seats and tapped Rick on the shoulder, "Sir, could you restrain yourself, please!" Gary had a big grin on his face, "I bet you thought nobody was watching you!"
Rick blushed, "Yeah, I thought I could get away with it since no one is on board but us."
Oscar chimed in, "Well, you thought wrong. We're watching you and don't you forget it!"
They both started laughing and Gary tousled Rick's hair, "We are just teasing you! We can't let you keep showing off the fact that you two are in love."
Rick relaxed in his seat and joined in their laughter, "I can't help it. Glenn is so sexy I can't keep my hands off of him!"
"Don't go blaming me for your lack of self-control!" I said ducking as Rick tried to give me a swat up the side of the head.
"Look who's talking, Mr. Nielsen," Rick said as he ran his hand up and down the inside of my leg. "Let's see how long you can hold out!"
"You are wicked, Mr. Lernier! You know I can't resist you when you do that to me!" I exclaimed as I started to squirm in my seat. "Stop teasing me! I take back everything mean I've ever said about you!"
My pants had gotten really tight and still Rick didn't stop! "Rick! You're not playing fair!"
"Who said I played fair?" Rick asked grinning even more wickedly at me. "I'll let up but no more wise cracks about who doesn't have any self-control!"
"Okay! Okay! You win!" I exclaimed trying to stop from making a mess of myself. Luckily, Rick let up when he did or it would have been a disaster for me! Rick can be so mean sometimes!
Gary said, "Are you guys done, yet?"
"Yes, Gary, we will stop embarrassing you," Rick said laughing.
At that point, the bus left the station and Felipe, who had taken the seat across the aisle from us, started playing tour guide for us. He narrated for us the history of the countryside and pointed out things of interest as we went. The most memorable thing was the Pico de Orizaba volcano. We could see it away in the distance and it just kept getting bigger and bigger as we approached Xalapa. The mountain was still a long ways off and we could see that it was massive.
The bus entered the bus depot in Xalapa and we got off the bus. I was a little stiff from sitting for so long. I stretched and tried to relieve the cramps in my legs. I leaned on Rick as I stretched. I have to admit I love taking advantage of every opportunity to put my hands on my man!
Vanesa and Mari were waiting for us inside. Vanesa said, "Welcome to Xalapa. My Dad is outside waiting in the car. Bring your things."
We followed the girls outside. The girls led us to an old Chevy pickup truck without a shell. Mari said, "Jump in the back with your gear. It's a short ride home."
The girls climbed into the cab of the truck with their dad while we climbed over the tailgate and into the bed of the truck and sat down with our gear.
Mr. Zetina drove us to the western edge of town to a new subdivision and pulled up in front of nice home. It looked like someone had picked up a house from a subdivision in the United States or Canada and set it down here. It was a red brick rambler complete with white trim and a roof with black asphalt shingles.
As we approached the gate it automatically opened and we drove through and Mr. Zetina parked the truck in the drive way. Mr. Zetina climbed out. We saw that he is a balding man with a graying fringe of long hair which he had tied back in a ponytail. He wore small diamond studs in each ear. He flashed a brilliant smile and his dark brown eyes seemed to twinkle under his bushy eyebrows. My first impression of Mr. Zetina was he must have been part of the hippy movement in his youth and that had never moved out that phase of his life. He was wearing a pair of threadbare jeans and a muscle shirt that showed off the tattoos on his arms. He certainly didn't fit my idea of a professor of archaeology or at least what I thought a professor would look like. Most of my professors at Georgia Tech were pretty stuffy and always dressed formally.
We got out of the truck and were introduced to Mr. Zetina by Vanesa, "These are the Gomez boys, Oscar, Gary and Felipe. You spoke with their father last night."
"Glad to meet you," Mr. Zetina said with a wide grin.
"And this is Rick, who is from the United States, and this is Glenn, who is from Canada."
"Nice to meet you as well. Come inside with your things and I will show you where you'll be staying tonight," Mr. Zetina said.
We followed him inside. I asked, "Mr. Zetina, where did you learn to speak English?"
"Please call me Art. I hate all the formality that comes with being a professor."
"Sure, Art," I said.
"So to answer your question, I learned English in California. I attended college in Los Angeles. I moved back home to Xalapa after I graduated from UCLA with my degree in archaeology with a minor in anthropology. The University of Veracruz offered me a teaching position and I have been here ever since. I speak Italian, German, and French as well. My parents are from Spain and insisted that I learn to speak as many languages as possible. They moved to Xalapa when I was a teenager when Dad accepted a position with the university so you could say I've followed in his footsteps."
"Dad has taught those languages as well," Mari said. "Here is where you'll be staying while you're here." Mari opened a door to a large room filled with two rows of bunk beds. It looked like the barracks at a military installation.
"The beds look like they came out of a military barracks," Rick said when he saw them.
"They did. I got them from the Mexican military at a great price. I like to have students visit from various parts of the world to study the archaeological sites surrounding Xalapa but I didn't have the money to build separate bedrooms so I built one great big room and bought these bunks and military lockers," Art said. "Just throw your stuff on one of the bunks. There are two bathrooms through those doors. When you've had time to freshen up a bit, come join us in the kitchen for some refreshments."
"Wow! Can you believe this?" I asked after they had left us.
"Yes. I'm not surprised given what we've seen of Mr. Zetina thus far," Felipe responded.
Oscar said, "Yeah, he seems pretty eccentric to me."
"But isn't that what you would expect from a professor of archaeology?" Gary asked.
"Only if you believe in stereotypes," Rick said. "Art doesn't seem to fit the stereotype of the crazy professor. He appears to be pretty savvy to me. Getting these bunks and putting them to good use is a great idea. Not that I love sleeping on bunks but if you want to house a lot of students for short periods of time, it's perfect. Come here, Glenn."
I walked over to Rick who pulled me into an embrace and gave me a kiss. The guys laughed, "Do we need to give you guys some time alone?" Gary asked.
Rick smiled at me, "Not at the moment. You don't have to leave the room. Come on, Glenn. We're taking a shower. We'll meet you guys in the kitchen." As I walked by Felipe, he grinned at me and gave me the thumbs up sign. I love it when Rick acts this way.
A short while later we rejoined the guys in the kitchen where they were seated with Mari and Vanesa eating cookies and milk.
Gary was the first to comment, "I'm glad you guys could join us. We were going to finish off the cookies and milk but Felipe insisted that we save you some."
We took our seats next to Felipe. Rick said, "Thanks, Felipe. You're a true friend unlike some I know." Rick laughed as he winked at Gary who just grinned from ear to ear.
Besides Mari, Vanesa and Art, there was a nice looking young guy sitting next to Mari. Mari seeing my questioning glance said, "Glenn and Rick, this is my baby brother, Antonio, he's 17 years old and attends school with me."
Antonio smiled, "Nice to meet you. Call me Tonio. The only time they call me Antonio is when I'm in trouble."
"Which is all the time!" Mari said laughing. "We are all a year apart in age. Vanesa is 19, I'm 18 and Tonio is 17."
"Believe me, having three teenagers is a real challenge sometimes," Art said, "Especially trying to raise them alone. My wife died two years ago in a car accident so it's just me and the three children."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Felipe said.
"It's okay," Art said. "We've adjusted to it now. We miss her terribly sometimes."
Art's eyes were bright with tears as he spoke of his wife. Vanesa stood up and went over to her dad, "It's okay, Papa. We miss her, too."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to put a damper on your vacation boys," Art apologized. "Let's talk about your plans for the next few days. Where do you want to go?"
Felipe explained, "We would like to go to the Archaeology Museum. Vanesa and Mari said you could give us a guided tour."
"That would be a great! I love sharing my love of archaeology with young people such as yourselves. What else did you have in mind?" Art asked.
"We want to hike to the Texolo Falls," Felipe said.
"That sounds great. You'll want to tour the power plant and then hike a couple miles further to the falls near Xico. It's a better place to go swimming if it's warm enough. You really ought to go to Xico. That is where they filmed "Romancing the Stone." It's an old film but it's Xico's claim to fame," Art said.
"We plan to spend three days here and then we need to take the bus to Puebla to pick up my Dad's new car from the Volkswagen factory," Felipe said.
"Are you going to spend some time in Puebla?" Art asked with interest.
"Yes, Dad wants us to tour the pyramids in Cholula and then drive up to the pass between the volcanoes," Felipe said.
"That's sound wonderful. Do you know the history of the two volcanoes?" Art asked.
"I do but I'm sure you could tell us much more than I know," Felipe said.
I glanced across the table at Vanesa and Mari who smiled and shook their heads. They had warned us about getting Art started. I looked back at Art, whose face showed his excitement for the opportunity to talk about his favorite subject, "Thank you Felipe, you are very kind. Well, when you see the volcanoes, you need to know their history. The legend is that Popocatepetl and Ixtaccihuatl were once humans who were madly in love with each other. Ixtaccihuatl's father demanded that Popocatepetl do a great deed before he could marry his daughter. While Popocatepetl was away, his rival sent a message that Popocatepetl had died. Upon hearing the news, Ixtaccihuatl fell ill and died. Popocatepetl returned to find his love had died and built a funeral pyre in the mountains where he died next to his beloved. The Gods, seeing the two lovers' plight, turned the two humans into the two mountains with Popocatepetl always standing watch over his beloved Ixtaccihuatl. Ixtaccihuatl means "White Woman." The mountain looks like a woman sleeping."
"You guys will love going there. El Popo is still an active volcano and spews ash sometimes," Gary said.
Felipe said, "You saw another volcano as we approached Xalapa. It's called Citlaltepetl or El Pico de Orizaba."
Rick asked, "Those names are real tongue twisters. What language do they come from? They don't sound Spanish to me."
Art answered, "You're correct. They aren't Spanish words. They are from Nahuatl. Nahuatl is the language the Aztecs spoke. Nahuatl is still spoken in many parts of central Mexico. As for the mountains' names, Citlal means star and tepetl means mountain so Citlaltepetl means "Star Mountain" and popoca means smoking and tepetl mean mountain so Popocatepetl means "smoking mountain" which accurately describes the volcano since it still spews ashes from its summit."
"Can you tell us about the pyramids in Cholula?" I asked. I didn't know anything about the ancient civilizations of Mexico so I found Art's discussion interesting despite the warnings his daughters had given us about being talked to death by their Dad.
"Yes. The Great Pyramid of Cholula or Tlachihualtepetl, Nahuatl for "Artificial Mountain" is really seven pyramids built one on top of another. Each conquering tribe covered up the vanquished people's center of worship, their pyramid, and built a new one on top of it to show their superiority and increase their control of the subjugated population. It's interesting to note that the Catholic Church decided to build an enormous church on top of the hill that now covers the seven pyramids called the Church of Our Lady of the Remedies," Art explained.
"Is the pyramid anything like the ones in Egypt?" Rick asked. It seems his curiosity had been piqued as well.
"Yes and no. The pyramid in Cholula was built for religious purposes as were the great pyramids of Egypt. However, that is where the similarities end. In Egypt, the Pharaoh was buried in the pyramid. In Cholula, the pyramids were used as a religious site for human sacrifice," Art further explained.
Art was really starting to warm up to his subject, his entire face was flush with excitement and he talked in a very animated fashion using his hands for emphasis. Before Art could continue, Tonio interrupted, "Dad shouldn't we show the guys around the house since they will be staying with us for a few days?"
Art stopped with his mouth open, thinking, then he went on to say, "Yes, Tonio, you're right we should make our guests feel at home. Would you take them on a tour of the property while the girls and I clean up in here?"
"I'd be glad to do that," Tonio said smiling in triumph at his success in stopping another extended lecture on Mexican pyramids. "Let's go outside and I'll introduce you to our dog, Pepe."
Tonio led us back through the house and out onto an enclosed patio where we met Pepe. Pepe looked like he was a German Sheppard but not quite as big. "He's a dog we found wandering around the neighbor and we decided to adopt him. What kind of dog he is we don't know but we like him."
Oscar said, "Thanks for rescuing us, Tonio. I've heard the same explanations from my Dad many times. In fact, every time we go to Puebla."
Gary seconded his brother's statements, "Yeah, Tonio, thanks for helping us out. I didn't know what to say that wouldn't sound rude. Oscar and I are the same age as you. We will turn 18 in March."
Tonio said, "You are both welcome. I can't stand hearing Dad's lectures anymore. We have been listening to them for years now. He has gotten even worse since Mom died."
Felipe asked, "Have you always been able to speak English so well?"
"Yes, Dad insisted that we learn to speak it here at home. My mother's family is from a small town high up on the side of Popocatepetl called San Buenaventura Nealtican. Most of the inhabitants speak Nahuatl including my grandparents. We go to Nealtican often to visit them. The government insists that they teach Spanish in the schools there but Spanish is only spoken when dealing with the government."
"So you speak three languages then: Spanish, English, and Nahuatl?" Rick asked.
"No, I speak six languages: Spanish, English, German, French, Italian and Nahuatl. Dad hired tutors to help all of us learn to speak English, German, French and Italian since we could already speak the other two languages. In his opinion, you aren't educated if you don't speak at least four different languages." Tonio said laughing.
"Is that because he's from Spain?" I asked.
Tonio replied, "Yes. Dad has always said that being European requires you to speak more than just your native tongue. In his opinion, you need to know French because it is the language of diplomacy, you need to know German because they are great at technology, you need to know English because it has become a global language, you need to know Italian to really enjoy the great operas and you need to know Spanish because it is the language of the angels!"
"Wow! So I have to learn three more languages besides English! No way!" Rick exclaimed. "I'm having trouble with Spanish and English let alone trying to learn the others."
The twins both shook their heads. Oscar spoke first, "It's easy to learn the others. We have been studying French and Italian at our boarding school. Since we already speak Spanish, it's been pretty easy to pick up those two. We studied German last year. Now that was hard!"
Gary said, "No it wasn't! Your problem was you had a girlfriend and didn't do any studying, at least not of the academic kind!"
Oscar gave Gary a withering look, "I did too study and Alicia was helping me!"
"Yeah, right! Do you think I was blind to what you were doing? Think, again, brother dear!" Gary said smiling.
Oscar conceded, "You are right, Gary, but German was still harder to learn than French or English."
While we were talking, Pepe was kept busy playing catch. One of us would through a stick and Pepe would retrieve it. Then we would throw it, again.
Art came out on the patio and sat down with us. "Are you guys ready to go to the museum?"
Felipe answered for us, "Yeah, we're ready. I'm excited to see the Olmec stone heads they have there!"
"Good. Let's go," Art said.
Art loaded us all into his truck and drove us to the Xalapa Anthropology Museum. The museum was really cool. Art, of course, played the part of tour guide. He explained everything to us about each exhibit. Outside on the museum grounds we took pictures standing next to the giant Olmec stone heads. My mind was on total overload by the time we finished seeing all there was to see in the museum.
Art kept on talking about the fabulous things in the museum even after we returned to his home. Mari and Vanesa found a hideout in the kitchen as they helped prepare the evening meal leaving me and the rest of the guys at Art's mercy.
After a light supper, Art finally stopped his lecture. "I'm sorry guys. I always get carried away. What time do you want to leave for the falls in the morning?"
Felipe replied, "We should be on our way by 9 AM at the latest."
"I agree with you, Felipe. I will make sure I wake you up before I leave for the university," Art said.
We all said good night and retired to our bunk beds. Rick and I pushed two of the bunks together so we could sleep together and quickly jumped in bed. I was so tired from traveling all day that I must have fallen asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow because I don't remember anything else until Art came in to wake us up.
We enjoyed the rest of our visit with the Zetina family. Vanesa and Mari joined us as did Tonio. Gary and Oscar flirted with the girls the entire time! As a result, Tonio spent a lot of time with us and Felipe. As we were getting ready to leave for the falls, Tonio asked, "Are you guys gay?"
Rick said, "Yes, we are and so is Felipe."
Tonio looked at Felipe, "I thought so. How can you be so open about loving a guy?"
"We have to be very careful because there is so much hatred and prejudice against gays in the United States," Rick said.
Felipe said, "It is worse here for gay men."
Tonio agreed, "Yes, it is worse here. If anyone even thinks you might be gay, you could end up dead."
"What about the police?" I asked.
"You don't go to the police. They are worse than not having police. Most of them demand bribes from you even if you haven't done anything wrong. Murders happen and the perpetrators are never brought to justice," Tonio said.
Mari and Vanesa entered the room and Tonio stopped talking. Mari asked, "Are we ready to go?"
"Yes, we are ready," I answered.
"Then let's go," Mari said.
She led us out of the house and down to the main highway where we waited for a bus. We took the bus out to the coffee plantation that surrounds Texolo Falls and hiked down to the water fall. As we passed between the coffee bushes, Rick wanted to ask some questions of the workers. So Felipe stopped and talked to some of the workers who were harvesting the coffee beans. Felipe acted as a translator so Rick could ask his questions.
Rick asked them, "What are these trees growing in the between the coffee plants?"
They responded, "They are orange trees. We planted them to provide shade for the coffee plants. They grow well here but there is more money in harvesting the coffee beans than in harvesting the oranges. We just let them ripen and fall off the trees."
"I can't believe that they let all that fruit just rot away. Why wouldn't they at least try to make some use of it?" I asked.
Felipe asked the question and got the response, "We don't have time to waste on them. The oranges don't bring in enough money to even pay our wages."
"I'm still amazed they aren't used for something else," I said incredulously.
Felipe said, "If they were bananas, they would harvest them but since they are oranges they don't. There are many varieties of bananas that grow in Veracruz. Most of them bring good money in the markets. We will have to buy some and let you sample the different ones. My favorites are the mini-bananas. They are very sweet and taste just like candy. There are red ones which are good, too."
The workers offered to let us wear their harvesting gear while we took pictures of each other picking the coffee. They showed us how to tell if a coffee berry is ripe enough to harvest.
We reached the falls a short while later and played in the water. Around noon, we walked down to the power plant where the plant manager took us on a tour of the facility. We ate our lunch there and then hiked further upstream to the falls near Xico. After swimming under the falls, we continued our hike to Xico where Art met us and brought us back to the house.
We spent the next two days exploring the city of Xalapa with our friends as guides. We visited the main city square. Of course, we visited the campus of the university where Art introduced us to many of his colleagues.
Gary and Oscar managed to find plenty of time to become very well acquainted with the Vanesa and Mari. Rick, Felipe and I hung out with Tonio which suited us just fine! Tonio is a good looking guy and we discovered that he's got a wicked sense of humor!
One evening when everyone else had gone to bed, Felipe asked Tonio, "Are you gay?"
Tonio didn't answer at first but then he said, "I don't know, Felipe. Sometimes, I am very attracted to the girls at school and I have had several relationships with them. But at the same time, I have been attracted to the guys on our soccer team. I haven't dared even breathe a word to them because I am afraid they would kill me."
Felipe asked, "Would it be okay if I kissed you?"
Tonio smiled, "Yes. I have wanted to kiss you since I saw you."
Felipe pulled Tonio close to him and kissed him passionately. When he pulled back, he asked, "How did you like that?"
Tonio smiled but didn't answer. He pulled off his t-shirt and then helped Felipe out of his before he kissed Felipe, again.
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