Our host wants to take us out on our last night in Tepoztlán. Raul, AliSun and I walk down to the organic store in town and have a nice light dinner. Raul says that we should go try the amazing pastries at Cafe Mozart. They are to die for. Who are we to argue?
We flag a taxi and drive for a few kilometers, outside of town, down terribly rutted roads, past the last tiny tiendas selling sundries and sodas. The town gives way to large walled properties and undeveloped weedy fields.
Raul in the front chats with Jose, the driver. He’s negotiating a deal to get us a ride to Oaxaca tomorrow – a six hour drive instead of a morass of taxis and buses that could take twelve hours or more. It looks like we have our ride, 10am sharp.
We pull up to a dark door encased by an old stone wall. Raul pulls the wire that rings the bell, loudly then again. Two minutes pass, then a third. Finally, light shows in the cracks around the door. Yes, Rodrigo will open Cafe Mozart for us. The taxi will return in fifty minutes.
We file inside, past the plastic chairs on the patio leaning against their plastic tables. The cafe is simple and musty. On one chair is a large spider, on another an even larger praying mantis.
Cakes fill a large table. Raul suggests we try everything. Rodrigo, born to an Austrian mother and Mexican father, cuts slices, as Raul snags a few more cookies when Rodrigo isn’t looking. Then a black forest cake pocked with black cherries, followed by homemade ice cream. Rodrigo has turned on some classical music.
Raul asks if Rodrigo has seen any phantoms out there in the boonies. He says no, he loves being in the dark and ghosts are afraid of him. A neighbor was picked up a UFO one time though. And another woman, known to be kind of crazy, had married seven different Ricardos over the years, young and old. This is all in Spanish, and I get snippets in between the brief summaries Raul provides us.
We finish with tea, talking with Raul about spirituality and the world and politics. He is a poet, writer, philosopher and host. Incredibly generous, kind, gentle, a man who sees effortlessly sees the beauty in a word or a place or a meal or a person. Someday we will see him again, and have a ceremony, and feel like no time at all has passed.