Hola, taxi amigos, I am writing to you on a rare Saturday night when I AM NOT in a damned taxi, at least not as a driver because, since my arrival in Aguascalienties I have taken ten taxi rides, and I am far from done, with 8-10 more in my near future. My first Mexican taxi ride this particular journey was an early morning (5:00 AM) ride from my now one and only favorite Mexico City hotel, El Panorama to the airport. I finally got to ride in one of the legendary local Mexico City taxis which are now gold and red Nissans, the Nissans having replaced the now infamous green and VW Bugs (model 1300) which were at one time everywhere. As late as last year a few were still in operation but so far this visit nary a one has come into view.
Something also new is a large 12 by 12 inch blowup of the taxi driver's cabbie license pasted to a side window, this done I believe to relieve the fears of non-native passengers. In other words, they have made a brave attempt to professionalize a taxi fleet that I am guessing is twice the size of New York City's. If you don't know the history, I will assign it to the bad, old past, when criminal behavior associated with some of the local cabbies did unfortunately exist.
Here in Aguasclienties the vast majority of taxis are solid red Nissans driven by some of the best cabbies I have encountered anywhere. The major reason for their sterling professionalism? An incredibly busy taxi business core, the drivers run ragged with more business than available cabs. Believe me, whining stops when the money is flowing. The place I'm staying at, Hotel Gomez ($100.00 for five nights), is adjacent to the "Terminal Central de Autobuses" and cabs are just flying in and out of there at all hours. Why I myself am ready to finally learn Spanish and buy myself a red Nissan. There are worse fates for a veteran cabbie!
The reason I chose to visit this city an hour by air from Mexico City is its famous water. I have been told more than once to go "soak my head" so I am doing it one better and immersing my entire body. Happily, my hot springs of choice, "Ojocaliente Banos Termales," is a quick 30 peso (roughly $3.00) taxi ride straight up to the mineral water baths.
This spa is wonderful, a tiled beauty of a place built during a far distant era when aesthetics met something. The individual rooms are singular masterpieces. Today's Room 21 was tiled with a sunflower motif. And the tubs are big! Room 21's tub is 8 feet long and about 4 feet wide. I had it filled with three feet of water. I don't know the cubic measurements but it is a hell of a lot of hot water. Yesterday's room, #25's tub was 6X6 feet. I've had three visits, with three more awaiting me. Tuesday evening I fly back to Mexico City via a Mexican airlines, "Interjet Airways."
The cost for the tubs are about $9.00 (100 pesos) for 1 1/2 hours. After that I am indeed a limp taxi noodle. It is a terrific experience. Check out their website at:
www.ojocaliente.com.mx, and dream your taxi aches and pains away.
And you will be glad you did. And you will love Aguascalientes. It is not, despite the well-known healing water, a usual tourist destination. People here are friendly, treating me like some rare artifact. The food is cheap and delicious. What more can you ask for? How about weather in the mid-70s F.
Adios! Buenas Noches.