My next adventure happened while crossing the border from Laredo, Texas back into Mexico after renewing my visa. Once across, we passengers were told to disembark and sit in a waiting room. A drug detecting dog scrambled up the steps into the motorcoach, and it drove off. We were told it was being cleaned.

As I watched the coach roll away, heading for who-knows-where to do who-knows-what, I reached for my purse. Not on my shoulder or anywhere around me. When the awful truth sunk in, I agonized. I had forgotten it on the bus, unattended. Again, tight chest, pounding ears, and hot and cold chills. On the Mexican border, what were the chances it would not be absconded?

A man in uniform stood on the quay, and I relayed my dilemma.  His response shocked me, "No hay problema, Señora."

"No problema?" I said, my voice several octaves higher. What’s wrong with him. Is he in denial?

"Non, non. Es bueno." he asssured me once more.

Then my urbanized  brain kicked in. Maybe they're in this together.

The litany of horrors involved marched through my head: no money, no debit cards, and worst of all, no passport with the recently acquired precious visa tucked inside. Still I wanted to believe the uniformed official.

When the carrier rolled back into its spot, I dashed in to find...my purse. Snuggled against the arm rest exactly in the position I left it. I clutched it to my breast. My euphoria lasted a brief moment. Okay, now you need to look inside, Connie.

My hands shook as I grappled with the zipper fearing what I woud discover, or not discover. Astoundingly, nothing was missing, not the passport, not the money, not the plastic. This would be amazing in any urban area. But this was

the Mexican border.

The refrain of my friends ran through my mind. Isn’t Mexico dangerous? You tell me. I suspect, no more or less than any other country.

After some desperate efforts at communicating, consisting of a massive amount of gesturing, some of the passengers joined in. Eventually I understood I had left my bag next to the boulder. I gasped and ran out to rescue my canvas tote. "Muchas gracias," I repeated breathless.

"De nada, Señora.” I turned to choose a seat, and a dozen or so smiles and friendly nods greeted me. These strangers cared I had recovered my treasure and were sharing in

my joy.

Is Mexico dangerous? Well, maybe, but not these happy faces.

Another day, I sat on the same rock waiting for the bus to El Centro, the center of town, to meet a friend for lunch at the Café Santa Ana. Arriving early, I leisurely perused a few flyers on a nearby counter. Once I relaxed into a chair at our reserved table, I reached for my computer bag, first on one side then the other. I checked the floor and bent to look under the table. It was not with me. Since I had lingered over pamphlets, I had little hope my laptop could be recovered.

I must have left it next to the boulder again.The  pulse in my ears pounded, my chest tightened, and my body ran hot and cold. The only thing to do is take a cab back. Could it possibly, miraculously still be resting near the stone?

As the taxi turned onto my street, the stone seat came into view. My chest deflated. Nothing there.

I had the cabbie wait for me in case I left it in the house. I bolted up the stairs to my bedroom. Nothing. On my way out, I searched the living room and kitchen, but to no avail.

Distraught, we left for the café. As we slowy rolled forward, I heard someone knocking on my window. An elderly Mexican woman peered in at me. Three young school age children stared from behind her. What could she want with me?

She spoke at lightening speed. Through all her rapid fire speech, though, I detected the word computadora.

“Computer?" I asked.

"Si Señora." She reached into the backpack of the oldest child and removed the aqua bag containing the device. She had spotted it, picked it up, and started walking around looking for the owner.

I sprang out the car, chanting, muchas gracias, due to my limited Spanish, that's all I could think to say. I hugged her and all the children. Back in the car, I waved goodby until they faded out of sight. Once I turned forward, through the rear-view mirror I spied the driver’s eyes widen as he shook his head. He opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. He was dumbstruck.

And so was I.