Mexico is not like any other country I’ve ever been to. We’re crossing into Guatemala and will spend the next couple of months in Central America. We spent a month in Mexico, and will spend a lot more on our way home to Seattle, but I thought I’d write a bit about some of my overall impressions of this country so far. This is our version of Bill Maher’s “New Rules” on Mexico:
Informacion Touristica: When traveling through Mexico, we’ve occasionally come across what appear to be Tourist Information Centers. We were used to frequenting these in the US for good information on where to stay and what to do in the area. Most of these facilities in Mexico resemble small jail cells. They are concrete slab walls with jail bars in the front. The one we stumbled across just outside of Acapulco contained one big man with a poncho and a semi-automatic weapon. He was actually quite friendly. It was quite obvious (by the tropical storm weather and flooding) that the beach was a dangerous place, but we thanked him with big smiles and quickly moved on.
Desperately In Need of a Pressure Washer: Most of Mexico is really rough around the edges. A lot of it has some pretty rough climate: high heat, heavy rains, high humidity, etc. It really does a number on a lot of the building structures. Many of the buildings have a layer of grime coating them which can be kind of off-putting at times. But I think really it is not something a good sturdy pressure washer couldn’t take care of. Their architecture is different and interesting and very resourceful. I think a lot of it would look much different if someone just sprayed it all down.
Garbage Piles: Mexicans sometimes resort to their own way of waste disposal. You’ll often see piles of garbage on the side of the road. At one point we saw a group of 3 pigs grazing in one of these piles. Keep this image in mind the next time you order a “Taco al Pastor.”
Having your hair braided is not a good idea because the beads will eventually end up in William’s nose. I got my hair braided in Acapulco and today it was finally time to take them out and give my hair a really good washing. We were about ¾ the way through of removing all the beads and rubber bands when William said his nose hurt. He had taken a bead and shoved it up his right nostril. Matthias performed an emergency extraction in our hotel room with me holding the child down and shining a flashlight up his nose.
I think there are no actual traffic laws in Mexico. The rules of the road appear to be just suggestions. You’ll be driving along on a road where the speed limit is 90 kmh, suddenly there is a sign for 30 kmh and for the next 50 kilometers there was no other speed limit sign. Don’t think for a second that any car (except us) slowed down to 30 kmh. Signs leading you in the direction of a town will be present and then just drop off. Lanes are just suggestions. In Acapulco all the traffic was this chaotic body of white and blue VW Beetle taxis swerving from one side of the road to the other in order to avoid the potholes. (Matthias was wrong – adults could drown in the potholes in Acapulco). Also – watch out for livestock and mangy dogs on the road.
The coast is really really really humid in September. All the guide books say it. The weather channel reports it as well. The coast is humid humid humid in the month of September. It will cost you a lot of money on hotel rooms if you were planning to camp for free along the beach.
The heavy rains make this country beautiful. We’ve driven through thousands of miles in Mexico and pretty much all of it has been rolling green hills. The vegetation is so lush from all the rain it is so beautiful. Driving along to coast with the green mountains and rolling hills is really spectacular.