In December 1999, I had the opportunity to practice the special blend of insecurity and trust that seems be to the hallmark of an American tourist in
To get to Iguazu, which is in Misiones province, we had to fly over
The cause of this malaise was our bus driver who insisted that we give him our airline tickets. He claimed he needed them to confirm our return flights. I wondered why a bus driver would be responsible for confirming flights that wouldn't take place until the following day. I worried even more about getting them back. Refusing to yield, I clutched the precious tickets tightly. Not until another and more experienced tourist told me that this was normal procedure did I give in.
The following day, despite the fact that although all the other tourists had gotten their tickets back and ours were still missing, we decided to trust yet another stranger. When we'd decided, at the last minute, to fly to Iguazu we'd not had enough time to get visas to enter
Democracy in South America is a far cry from that in the
Our Goliath had no trouble getting us across the border but the affair of our abducted tickets was not so easily settled. We arrived at the airport without them. It wasn't til just before boarding time that I spotted the bus driver nonchalantly hanging around outside the terminal. While I guarded the luggage, Bill ran outside to get him, reaching the bus just as that driver pulled away from the curb. Without asking for identification, he handed Bill the tickets and drove off. Unlike the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, our wait yielded the missing tickets but those mothers continue to wait for something incomparably more precious. I thought of them that Christmas, as I give thanks for the birth of the child whose mother also suffered that we might live free and in peace.