This was the road to our house in Panama. Cars could sometimes make it this far, rarely farther. I always considered this slope to be one of the better parts of the road, though it deteriorated rapidly after this point. Down at the bottom, around the curve and hidden from the camera, there was usually a large deep hole in the middle of the road, through which ran a stream.
I walked this slope regularly. It was the way to town, the way to the houses of many of the farmers I worked with. In the dry season, it was nothing to walk up and down it. In the wet season, it became a slippery mess. I can’t tell you how many times I fell on that slope. One time in particular, I remember vividly. I was heading to the city or somewhere else I needed to look respectable. I was wearing a dress, and as I started climbing the slope, I worried I would fall and have to show up at my destination covered in red mud. I was more careful than usual, placing my feet tentatively, keeping to the drier parts of the road.
Naturally, I went down in spectacular fashion. I ended up sitting in the mud and sliding downhill.
But as luck (or, rather, Newton’s laws of physics) would have it, I went down so fast, that the skirt of my dress didn’t come down until after I was seated in the mud. Yes, I essentially slid down the slope with nothing but my underwear on. My legs, bottom, and underwear were caked with red mud, but the dress was miraculously clean. When I stood, the mud was all covered by the skirt.
With no time to go home and change, I carried on, and proceeded through my day, looking perfectly clean, but with mud caked all over the inside of my clothes. I never did get the red stains from that clay out of my underwear.