Into the Beautiful North

by

Luis Alberto Urrea

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Tacho Character Analysis

Tacho, Nayeli’s boss, is the gay owner and bartender of the local taco shop, bar, and internet cafe, La Mano Caída (“The Fallen Hand”). He is gruff and cranky, though this is part of his act: it's masculine to be a loveable jerk, even if a man is gay. Though it's unclear how old he is, he's likely at least ten years older than the notorious girlfriends. He and cares deeply for Nayeli, Yolo, and Vampi, so he accompanies the girls to the United States and plans to stay. It's implied that he believes that he'll be able to more comfortably exist as a gay man there, given that he packs his disco clothes and cuts, dyes, and spikes his hair before they leave. He's the first to feel extremely disillusioned with the entire journey after the Jefe (customs officer) assaults him in the bathroom at the customs station. This is intensified when Border Patrol arrests him because they think he's a member of the terrorist group Al Qaeda. When he’s deported to Tijuana, Tacho meets Rigoberto, another gay man. Tacho is in awe of Rigoberto's wealth and is specifically entranced by his magical teapot. Rigoberto smuggles Tacho over the border, where Tacho joins back up with the girlfriends. After Nayeli and Yolo fight over Matt, Tacho takes it upon himself to drive Nayeli cross-country to Kankakee, Illinois to find her father, even though Tacho doesn’t believe they’ll find him. During the trip, he tells Nayeli that "people like them" don't marry Johnny Depp, which indicates that Tacho has learned that the US isn't the place of freedom and hope that he thought it to be.

Tacho Quotes in Into the Beautiful North

The Into the Beautiful North quotes below are all either spoken by Tacho or refer to Tacho. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Borders and Ownership Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Little, Brown and Company edition of Into the Beautiful North published in 2010.
Chapter 3 Quotes

A man like Tacho had to learn to survive in Mexico, and he had learned to re-create himself in bright colors, in large attitudes, thus becoming a cherished character. If you wanted to achieve immortality, or at least acceptance, in Tres Camarones, the best thing to do was become an amazing fixture. It was very macho to be a ne'er-do-well, even if you were gay.

Related Characters: Tacho
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

"You will see," Irma said. "The Americanos are kind. Friendly people. Generous people. They have quaint customs—they aren't really, shall we say, sophisticated like we are. You can't drink the water—it will give you diarrhea. But it's very clean there. Good food. You'll see."

Related Characters: Tía Irma (speaker), Nayeli, Tacho, Vampi, Yolo
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

The USA didn't look as nice over there as it did on television.

Related Characters: Nayeli, Tacho, Vampi, Yolo
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

Suddenly, Nayeli said, "I still want to find my father."

Idly, Tacho said, "Why would he want to go back?"

"Me," she replied.

Related Characters: Nayeli (speaker), Tacho (speaker), Chava Chavarín, Don Pepe
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:

"Ay, m'ija," he sighed. "All they need is a few hot-air balloons to make it perfect here." Ahead of them, a hot-air balloon rose." "Oh," he said. "America wins every time."

Related Characters: Tacho (speaker), Nayeli, Chava Chavarín
Page Number: 245
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 27 Quotes

On the radio, they heard many angry Americans with loud voices saying Mexicans were unwanted, and immigrants carried disease and harbored terrorists. English only, the AM shouters boomed; English was the official language of America.

Related Characters: Nayeli, Tacho
Page Number: 268
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

"Where are you from, por favor?" Nayeli asked.

"Colorado," she replied.

"But...qué es la palabra...original?"

"Colorado."

Related Characters: Nayeli (speaker), The Cook’s Wife (speaker), Tacho, The Cook
Page Number: 279
Explanation and Analysis:

"You get out of here. Illegals. What about the rest of us? What about us, cabrones? I came here LEGALLY! You hear that, LEGAL. You criminals come in here, make me look bad? I'm sorry, but you have to leave. Get out!"

Related Characters: The Cook (speaker), Nayeli, Tacho, The Cook’s Wife
Page Number: 281
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

"Please? The sign say six thousand pounds of dog. Of the pradera!"

The woman said, "Oh. The big giant prairie dog." She leaned forward. "It's a lie. It's made of cement."

[…] Tacho went out to the minivan and massaged his forehead.

Nayeli jumped in and said, "Just in time."

She was baffled when he announced, "It is all a cruel illusion."

Related Characters: Nayeli (speaker), Tacho (speaker), El Brujo (speaker)
Page Number: 303
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 33 Quotes

"Sweetheart," he said. "People like us? We don't marry Johnny Depp."

Related Characters: Tacho (speaker), Nayeli
Page Number: 315
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Into the Beautiful North LitChart as a printable PDF.
Into the Beautiful North PDF

Tacho Character Timeline in Into the Beautiful North

The timeline below shows where the character Tacho appears in Into the Beautiful North. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
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...the surfers in the Fallen Hand, the cop decides it's time to eat. The owner, Tacho, brushes off the cop's insults and slurs—he's gay, and he's heard it all. Finally, Nayeli... (full context)
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After Scarface finishes eating his tacos, he stands and shouts about the Americans. Tacho only shrugs when Scarface asks where the surfers are, but he agrees to pass on... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Tacho and Nayeli carry on with their work. Nayeli thinks about one particular missionary, Matt. All... (full context)
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...Matt!" and she wonders what kind of "love" Matt was referring to. She brushes off Tacho when he tells her to get back to work. The narrator explains that along with... (full context)
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...going on the internet—the bar became an internet café when Matt donated his computer to Tacho. Tacho scolds Nayeli, but the narrator explains that he's cranky with everyone, and it’s just... (full context)
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Tacho sighs, thinking that these days, the bar only attracts old ladies and Nayeli's friends, none... (full context)
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Tacho groans—Nayeli's friends, "the notorious girlfriends," are approaching his bar, yelling "Adios," the customary greeting in... (full context)
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The girlfriends burst into Tacho's bar, exchanging insults with him and using rough slang. Vampi slumps onto a barstool and... (full context)
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...they find one of Captain Jack Sparrow, Yolo jokes that Nayeli will marry Johnny Depp. Tacho agrees with the girls that Jack Sparrow is hot, but Vampi is dismissive. She claims... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Nayeli and Yolo wade through the lagoon and giggle at Tacho, who is on the shore making a sauce for the crabs and wearing a sarong.... (full context)
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...she and Yolo celebrate: the crab is a female and carries eggs, which means that Tacho will be able to make a delicious paste with the eggs. Yolo asks Nayeli if... (full context)
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Later, as Tacho and the women eat their crabs, Nayeli asks the group if anyone in town is... (full context)
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...those gathered to watch TV and those who pass on the street. She realizes that Tacho is right: there are only women, old men, and children left in Tres Camarones. (full context)
Chapter 6
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...Finally, he gives in and declares Irma the winner. The women light off fireworks, and Tacho plays loud music. Irma hugs Nayeli and says that a new age has arrived. (full context)
Chapter 7
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García-García's cinema, the Cine Pedro Infante, fills for the festival. Nayeli attends with Tacho and shouts at Vampi and Yolo across the theater. The entirety of Tres Camarones comes,... (full context)
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...her lighter in the air to scare them off, and then Westworld begins. Nayeli and Tacho groan and giggle, and Irma glares at them. At one point, Irma remarks that Brynner's... (full context)
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...have boyfriends, babies, and no bandidos, and they could even find one gay boy for Tacho. Vampi suggests they take Tacho, and Nayeli says that they're on a mission from God... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Many of Tres Camarones' residents are gathered in Irma's living room. Tacho daydreams about going north with the girls. In his fantasy, they cross the border under... (full context)
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...room, Nayeli asks what harm can come to them if God is with them, and Tacho thinks of all the biblical tragedies but says nothing. Irma addresses the room and says... (full context)
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...and finally by denying Nayeli, Vampi, and Yolo the future. She snaps her fingers at Tacho to get her coffee, and he grumbles but complies. Irma reminds her listeners of the... (full context)
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...Tres Camarones, and Nayeli promises to try. Later, Irma makes the girls bags of toiletries. Tacho cuts his hair, dyes the tips platinum blond, and spikes it straight up. García-García gives... (full context)
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...After the girls board, Irma tells them to make her proud and hurries away. Nayeli, Tacho, Yolo, and Vampi take over an entire row of seats in the back of the... (full context)
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...makes a calming motion at Nayeli before opening the doors for armed soldiers. Nayeli wakes Tacho, Yolo, and Vampi as Chuy turns the light on. The soldiers make their way down... (full context)
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Just before dawn, Nayeli and Tacho wake suddenly to the sound of gunshots. Nayeli creeps up the aisle and asks Chuy... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...Huila, the bus stops for a thirty-minute break and to pick up a relief driver. Tacho, Nayeli, Yolo, and Vampi cross the street to a diner to freshen up and eat.... (full context)
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When the bus departs again, Vampi and Yolo sleep while Tacho listens to talk radio. The radio hosts talk about keeping Guatemalans and Salvadorans out of... (full context)
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...of it now. Yolo remarks that it'll be a miracle if they survive Mexico, and Tacho says he's not worried about the US anymore. Yolo thinks about writing a memoir as... (full context)
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...items and then ask if they're Mexican or not. One officer points and laughs at Tacho, whispering with his coworkers. Nayeli whispers that this man is the Jefe (boss). The Jefe... (full context)
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The Jefe looks Nayeli up and down, suggests he search her for marijuana, and leads Tacho away. A kind agent tells Nayeli to not cry or yell. Meanwhile, the Jefe whispers... (full context)
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Tacho hurries to the bus and pretends to sleep. The Jefe calls to Nayeli to come... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...passengers to Tijuana if they are willing to stand the rest of the way. Nayeli, Tacho, Yolo, and Vampi board the new bus, and Nayeli is nauseated by the smell of... (full context)
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...Shacks give way to small houses, and the bus enters the center of the city. Tacho points at the tall fence with white trucks on the other side. Nayeli thinks that... (full context)
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...a phone booth, he briskly tells her to use her cell phone and rushes away. Tacho suggests they go downtown to find food, and Vampi whispers to Nayeli that she started... (full context)
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Tacho, Nayeli, Yolo, and Vampi pile into a taxi with two other people to go downtown.... (full context)
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Tacho orders carne asada and scoffs at the idea of flour tortillas when the server asks... (full context)
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...and Vampi are drunk on two beers each and laughing. She shakes her head at Tacho, and Tacho turns away. (full context)
Chapter 11
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...and Yolo insist they've already failed, but Nayeli vows to herself to find Don Pepe. Tacho calmly says they need to find a place to stay for the night, and the... (full context)
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...district. The door of the hotel room is cheap plywood with a defective lock, so Tacho puts a chain on the door. The group shares the two towels, put their dirty... (full context)
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...of bed and recognizes the man's sleeve—it's the man from the taco stand. She grabs Tacho's pepper spray. When the man finds the chain, Nayeli kicks the door closed on his... (full context)
Chapter 12
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In the morning, the group returns to the street. Yolo and Tacho discuss how they both loved Matt, and Tacho calls Nayeli promiscuous for kissing Matt. Nayeli... (full context)
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...and the other side, and mimes praying. The agent laughs and gets in his truck. Tacho suggests they follow the fence west and swim around, and one of the poor boys... (full context)
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...the nice part of town and finally sit down in the fruit market. Yolo grabs Tacho and drags him towards a chapel, and Vampi pesters a group of American missionaries. A... (full context)
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...she should trust them, but she's too tired to think of another plan. Porfirio compliments Tacho's hair. (full context)
Chapter 13
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...base of the trash mountain are graves. On one hill are the graves of children; Tacho points out names written on baby furniture. Next to this part of the cemetery, Porfirio... (full context)
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Tacho made the mistake of purchasing rum as a gift when he went to purchase eggs,... (full context)
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Yolo claims the top bunk for herself, and Tacho insists on sleeping on the floor. Nayeli shares the bottom bunk with Vampi, who mutters,... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...Araceli water the roses, while Yolo and Porfirio drink a cocktail made with the rum. Tacho tells Atómiko the group's story, and finally, Atómiko confirms that they're serious about sneaking illegally... (full context)
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...the fact that he used to sneak over the border when he was a soldier. Tacho shoots Nayeli a look and tells Atómiko that they want his help crossing the border.... (full context)
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A man named Wino jumps out of the car and jokes with Atómiko and Tacho in broken English. Nayeli tries to decline Wino and Atómiko's help, but Tacho speaks over... (full context)
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Nayeli dislikes Atómiko, but Tacho, Yolo, and Vampi insist on allowing him to come. Atómiko tells Nayeli he's coming with... (full context)
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Atómiko and Wino negotiate with a coyote. The girls are scared of the coyote, and Tacho tries to hide his fear. Finally, the men strike a deal and Wino leaves. Suddenly,... (full context)
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...cuts her scalp on the sharp edge as she runs through after the coyote, and Tacho panics before remembering their first meeting point. Once they all reach the first meeting point,... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Agent Anderson shines his light in Tacho's face as Agent Smith drives up. They hear yelling and cursing from the south. The... (full context)
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...the agents, and when he returns, he asks why they don't all just stay home. Tacho laughs that he wishes he stayed home, and Nayeli offers that her group isn't bad. (full context)
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...boards the bus and explains what will happen: they'll conduct interviews and send them home. Tacho thinks the US is disappointing, while Yolo shakes with anger and Vampi cries. (full context)
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...another touch her breast. This distracts her, and when she turns her attention back to Tacho, Yolo, and Vampi, she can't find them. She looks around at the others in the... (full context)
Chapter 17
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When Nayeli finds Yolo, Tacho, and Vampi, Yolo is incensed. She pushes Nayeli, attracting the attention of an officer, and... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Irma suddenly asks about Atómiko and Tacho. Nayeli sighs, ignores her, and says that they're going back across the border and will... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...America. Nayeli wants to find her father and Matt, Yolo wants to find Matt and Tacho, and Atómiko declares he wants to go to Disneyland. The girls stare and giggle, and... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Tacho sits in a dull green room, hurt and swollen. He is both thrilled and shocked... (full context)
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Once he arrives in Tijuana, Tacho calls Tía Irma. She explains that Nayeli supposedly went to Matt's house, but she doesn't... (full context)
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Tacho hails a taxi and asks the driver to take him to a gay bar. At... (full context)
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Tacho looks around, and Rigoberto deems Tacho exotic since he's the only criminal in the bar.... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Rigoberto asks his housekeeper and cook to recolor Tacho's hair. The housekeeper serves tea in a glass teapot, and Tacho is entranced when the... (full context)
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In the lanes of traffic waiting to cross the border, Rigoberto explains to Tacho that Border Patrol treats people in BMWs differently. He laughs and says that nobody really... (full context)
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Rigoberto buys Tacho lunch and then passes him a cell phone to call Irma and Matt. Rigoberto later... (full context)
Chapter 25
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At Matt's house, El Brujo fries beans and meat and Tacho blasts disco music. Atómiko sits outside, smoking, drinking, and reminiscing about his parents and the... (full context)
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Chava picks Nayeli and Tacho up at eight the next morning. As they head for the car, Atómiko insists on... (full context)
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...is in awe of the abundant produce and clean cuts of meat. As Nayeli and Tacho laugh at the man on the oatmeal box, two white men with shaved heads approach... (full context)
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...cart into Sully's heels, frantically apologizes for being a "stupid Mexican," and ushers Nayeli and Tacho into the checkout line. He instructs them to not look at Sully and Jimbo, who... (full context)
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...run through fields of flowers. He pulls over next to a barrier, and he, Nayeli, Tacho, and Atómiko each grab a bag of groceries. Chava muses that they're in the richest... (full context)
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...face. Nayeli kicks Jimbo, and Angel throws Sully into the creek. The fight continues until Tacho and Angel attack from behind with frying pans. Nayeli smiles at the final thug, which... (full context)
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Chava drops Tacho, Nayeli, and Atómiko back at Matt's house around midnight. They find Carla in an inflatable... (full context)
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...finally says that Tía Irma called to say she's in a hotel in San Diego. Tacho is surprised, and they hear Yolo cry out from inside the house. Tacho watches Nayeli... (full context)
Chapter 26
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...is here, and she decides that the only thing to do is for her and Tacho to go to Kankakee, Illinois. (full context)
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The next day, Nayeli, Tacho, Vampi, and Yolo walk into the hotel where Irma is staying. Irma greets them in... (full context)
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Matt spreads out his road atlas and helps Tacho and Nayeli plan their route. Yolo watches and openly admires Matt, and Nayeli sneers at... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Tacho and Nayeli begin their road trip early in the morning. The desert between San Diego... (full context)
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After an hour, Nayeli comments that the desert is harsh. Tacho, lost in thought about Rigoberto's teapot, insists that Mexican deserts are more brutal. They reach... (full context)
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Tacho thinks the US is far too big, and he wonders if the country's hugeness is... (full context)
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When Tacho and Nayeli drop into a curio shop, Tacho suggests they get a wind-up penis for... (full context)
Chapter 28
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Tacho finds an oldies radio station, and he and Nayeli reminisce about life in Tres Camarones.... (full context)
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...of Green River, Nayeli is nervous when nobody at the gas station laughs. She and Tacho find a Mexican restaurant and are thrilled to smell familiar foods. The Mexican cook welcomes... (full context)
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When the cook’s wife returns to deliver a Coke for Tacho, Nayeli asks her where she's from. The woman replies that she's from Colorado, and she... (full context)
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All the landmarks Tacho and Nayeli encounter fail to amaze them, and they fear that every car is filled... (full context)
Chapter 30
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When Nayeli and Tacho reach the Rocky Mountains, they stop at a Burger King near a hot springs. They... (full context)
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...climb the mountain and stop at a viewpoint. Nayeli cries again at the view, and Tacho shrieks excitedly when he sees mountain goats. When they reach the Continental Divide tunnel, they... (full context)
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As night arrives, Nayeli is thrilled and intrigued by the cold, though Tacho is less impressed. They find a motel, and the woman who checks them in thinks... (full context)
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The next day, Tacho and Nayeli smirk at the skinny people jogging in Boulder, Colorado. They climb another mountain,... (full context)
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At the gates of Rocky Mountain National Park, Tacho hands the ranger money. She kindly counts out the proper amount and hands him a... (full context)
Chapter 32
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...feels as though they've stopped moving because the land is simply so vast and empty. Tacho comments that the van's engine doesn't sound great, and Nayeli feels menstrual cramps starting. They... (full context)
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When Tacho and Nayeli reconvene at the van, he announces that everything is a cruel illusion. They... (full context)
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Tacho is confused when they pass a sign for another town named Salina. They drive through... (full context)
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They stop in Saint Louis to look at the Mississippi River. Tacho feels stabs in his stomach and tells Nayeli to not drink the water. They purchase... (full context)
Chapter 33
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The next day, Tacho has a raging fever. He shivers and stops at every rest stop to use the... (full context)
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Tacho turns towards downtown, and Nayeli exclaims over a Mexican grocery store. Finally, they stop at... (full context)
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Nayeli tells Irma that they made it to Kankakee, and Tacho is sick. Irma tells Nayeli that she's doing a great thing, and Nayeli asks if... (full context)
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Nayeli admits that she and Tacho broke the minivan, and Irma snaps that they'll just have to take the bus back... (full context)
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...She tells Nayeli to get her father and kick ass before hanging up. Nayeli hears Tacho say he wants to go home and reminds him that he hasn't seen Beverly Hills.... (full context)
Chapter 35
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Tacho and Nayeli decide to leave the dead van in Kankakee, and Mary-Jo drives them to... (full context)
Chapter 36
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...the aisle. At the back of the bus, he stops and stares at Nayeli and Tacho. Too tired to smile, Nayeli greets Arnie and reintroduces herself. Tacho puts out his wrists... (full context)
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Arnie shows Nayeli and Tacho into the back of his truck and tells his coworker that he's taking his "clients"... (full context)
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Finally, Arnie decides that Tacho and Nayeli aren't lying about their quest. He sighs, knowing that Tacho and Nayeli will... (full context)
Epilogue
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...women—they fear the bad men will shoot him. He yells "Nayeli!" and then, "Nayeli and Tacho walking with a monkey!" He says the monkey has a big stick. The bandidos get... (full context)