Sunday, September 14, 2008

A dead man and a wounded bird

This is the story of Hector E. Gastelum.

He was a truck driver transporting loads between La Paz and Tijuana on the Baja California peninsular.
One of the most dangerous roads in the world.
Because it is narrow.
Full of sharp turns and twists.
Going up and down steeply.
Driven by cars, buses and trucks in a hurry to make the 1500 kilometres as quick as possible.

A skilled truck or bus driver does it in 23 hours.

But not Hector E. Gastelum.
He had his truck go out of control going down on a sharp descent between Cataviña and San Ignacio.
He crashed on a hillside and lost his life.
Like many did on this ferocious road.

When one is driving from Tijuana to La Paz, along this Peninsular Highway, frequently crosses and small monuments will be noticed of drivers who lost their lives and didn’t make it.
In total hundreds of crosses can be noticed and they are increasing.
New accidents occur every day.
Family and friends commemorate the death by erecting the statues.

Hector E. Gastelum is a man who is loved until today.
He had his accident in the year 2000, but still the location where he died is kept as a demonstration of love, grief and affection.

Probably Hector left behind a wife, a mother, a father?
They made at the crash site one of the most impressive monuments for everybody to remember him.
In white painted stones his name is put on the hillside that killed.
Remains of the wreckage of his truck are put on a cement floor.
And a copy of his truck cabin has been erected.
In which is, among several things, a picture of him.

Hector E. Gastelum lost his life eight years ago.
And many times his crash site and the monument have been passed.
Each time it was impressive to see how his family was keeping his memory alive.

And although in a hurry, because the Mexican Señorita is waiting for pronto arrival of the Fuso Szulc and her driver in La Paz, this time a stop was made at Hector’s mortal crash site.

Pictures were made of the monument and the strong involvement of his family was experienced.

Walking back to the Fuso Szulc a remarkable thing happened.
Proving once more the cluster theory so often experienced.

In the gutter of the road, near Hector’s fatal crash site, a bird was found.
Still alive.
But obviously hit by a car and knocked out.
Having lost the essential ability to fly.

The bird was on its back.
Still moving.
Carefully it was lifted up.
Its beak was open and breathing heavily from exhaustion and of having been in the hot sun too long.

Of course it was tragic what had happened to Hector E. Gastelum.
But it didn’t bring one tear to the eyes.
Driving truck comes with risks and if fatal, so be it.
But a bird unable to fly anymore because of hitting a car, that makes a man sentimental.
Pretending to have instantly a cold to explain the welling of four tears.

What to do with this unfortunate bird?
Hector E. Gastelum is dead and his family keeps his memory very alive.
But this bird?

He was put in a safe place.
Far from the road in a natural context.
Leaving it up to the bird’s kharma.

The Fuso Szulc was fired up and just before hitting the road again the decision, coming from impulses, instinct and emotions was made to stop again.
The engine was switched off.
Back to the fucking bird.
Putting him in a better place of cool shadow.
Supplying him with drinking water.

Hector is an anomaly.


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