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Which is not to say that I'm alone.
According to locals, my hotel is haunted by the woman it originally belonged to: Señorita Marcor, a beautiful spinster piano teacher who traversed Alamos only by underground tunnel because the streets back then weren't cobbled, and she refused to muddy her boots and long skirts.
This doesn't alarm me. For one thing, I like the sound of Señorita Marcor. For another, I'm traveling with my own ghost.
"I want to disappear," I told my mother a few weeks ago, giving her a research project. My father had just died so I thought she could benefit from an assignment that would keep her busy, give her a purpose. As for me, I was desperate to escape San Francisco-the endless hustle, the cold summer weather, the impassive faces, and worse, the sympathetic ones. I wanted to retreat with my memories of my father to a place where no one knew us.
"Maybe Mexico," I said. "Somewhere pretty but not touristy-a quiet village with a couple of small hotels and coffee shops. And bougainvillea. Lots of bougainvillea."
It took her two days to return a verdict: Alamos, a seventeenth-century colonial town in the foothills of the Sierra Madres, one of Mexico's oldest treasures and a national monument. A tourist destination in the winter, it would be disgustingly hot and accordingly devoid of visitors in June. I could take a first-class, air-conditioned bus from Tucson-where she lived-leaving at 6:00 p.m. and arriving at 6:00 a.m., for $80 round-trip.
"Alamos," I said, rolling it on my tongue like a Mexican candy. "I've never heard of it. Sounds perfect."