El border crossing supremo in record time… done and dusted in 45 minutes with a friendly joke or two about our Classico Kombi and the Classico Esposo (hubbie). We swear by: ‘A little Spanish takes you a long way!!’ And our Spanish capabilities return quickly in time of need, we thought we were starting over but it floods back when you need it.
Then up to speed rapido on the Mexican driving standards or lack thereof! Yikes.. no such thing as “lane” or lane change for that matter! Indicating? What’s that!!! So Steve had no sooner congratulated me on expert driving through the big city of Monterrey than… CRASH / BANG / WOLLOP!! Day 1 .. Yep, poor old Pumper picks up her first road scar!
Bugger… Steve telling me not to stop while he and a taxi driver yell their version of things while hangin’ out of their windows… when you can have an argument in another language you know there is more than a rudimentary understanding. Not great on a Major Carratera! So, as one would, the taxi driver cuts across and pulls up leaving us stranded in the middle of the road… dare not even glance in the rear view mirror to see what is hurtling towards us!!
Craziness: doors are locked and Steve with strict instructions that under no circumstances is he getting out of Pumper… preparing for this to get mucho ugly! But of course before you know it, Esposo (that would be Steve!!) is out on the bloody road. No longer am I worried about Pumpers war wound…. will Steve’s body parts be strewn across the highway? Will I be scraping him up off the asphalt?
After much debate the taxi driver is convinced… or worn down… that we both were to blame and messed up, and we should be responsible for our own damage. We offer our sincere apologies and depart with trepidation… half expecting Policia or amigos to appear somewhere down the highway… What a way to start!
Great, a ‘cuota’ (toll highway)… We bee-line for it paying the toll thinking it is sure to buy us a hasty escape with nobody on our tail!!!
Wild, fun, crazy, or what? It turns out we were clipped on the back end where someone (esposo!) had put a scar a couple of years ago that we were planning to get repaired this winter, so it could have been waaay worse.
Iimmersed in the ways and customs of life south of the border, a caravan (convoy) of ‘Quebecois’ R.V’s drive by… the super plush variety… big and expensive! So do they take time to wave and acknowledge a fellow Canadian??? Some do… mostly NOT!!! Wazzup people? Hellooooo! We are all Canadian last time we checked.
Cruising through the barren high deserts of central Mexico we are captivated by the mountains that appear from nowhere and rise dramatically before us… striking! Just wish it wasn’t so wet and grey. Thankfully, we were not caught out taking an exit ramp too fast, unlike the ‘doble semi remolque’ (tandem trailer) hanging precariously over sure death below and the driver looking down crossing himself with a prayer or 2 of thanks! In the next 6 months how many accidents will we see? Plenty for sure!
And yes the fun begins and to quote Oprah Winfrey: “Lessons often come dressed up as detours and road blocks”. We embrace life’s little detours and road blocks as we find often at those times real jewels in life are discovered! The anticipation of all things new, the cultural exchange, and wonderful adventures in store. Meeting many new people and just being open to share the groovy hippy love that Pumper oozes! Problem is, in Mexico driving a VW bus is like driving a Chrysler minivan in Canada or the US… nobody cares! The whole hippie persona and history doesn’t hit the radar.
Federalies (National Police ) and the military are high profile and possibly a tad intimidating as they brandish high power weapons and don black face masks as if prepared for war. We flip them all the peace sign, after all they are all sons and daughters of some proud Mexican Ma and Pa, just trying to survive, and in these parts, eat and create a happy life for one and all!!
Close of the day: as dusk closes in we find a one stop mechanico shack on the roadside just about as rough as it gets where Victor and his wife with their 6 young kids eke out an existence helping motorists in need. Good for an $8 oil change and lubrication of the front end, aaahhh Pumper is going to be feeling the love!! A few pesos for the two young sons who were right in there helping Papa bringing big grins to their faces, and we call it a day at the next Pemex gas station… one of the more luxurious, beggars can’t be choosers. We camp down for the night all cosy and full of anticipation at the thrill of getting to the artist community of San Miguel Del Allende in the morning: a quaint cobblestone historical town in the mountains. Now we’re talking! With the next few day’s visits planned to some of the oldest and most beautiful towns and villages in Mexico high in the Sierras’.
Butane stove is on for egg and coffee as Steve gives Pumper her much needed tune up after slogging it up and over 3000 metre mountains. Not much we can do for the scars but move on knowing how much worse it could have been in ‘many’ respects!! I am relieved not to be sitting in a jail in Monterrey pleading innocence!!!
Reflecting as we venture into the depths of Mexico where US and Canadian governments warn us not to go, like sanctioned terrorism committed by our elected for less than honourable motives. Don’t they stop to think how these messages play back to the vast majority of Mexicans that are trustworthy, loving and family oriented, struggling to survive on an economy that depends heavily on tourism? In contrast to the high profile destinations of coastal Mexico where the locals have grown to accept and attract our presence with exuberance and warm greetings, in the remote towns we are struck by the suspicion toward the few outsiders in their presence, “… who are these gringo’s and what do they want with us?” We just hope and trust that our greetings, well wishes, and interest in their history and customs improves their view of strangers from the North. Judging by the beautiful rose positioned carefully on the bus as we slept one night, we think they approve. Don’t believe all the propaganda folks you may miss precious life experiences. This rant could go on but we’ll save some for later.
We are connected to everything and everyone in the universe…
“I am because we are.”
– Tenet of the South African philosophy, Ubuntu.
Peace and love… from not so scary Mexico.