You may have received an e-mail… we were having tech problems bumming internet from some place or another, such is the life of nomads. If you follow us through Facebook this is old news! We are really excited… we had an article published in travelmag.co.uk. This was on the heels of a blog on VW Heritage a UK based classic VW parts and service organization. Click on the links, hope you enjoy!
And it’s another winter wrap hanging / chilling at some of Mexico’s finest beaches: The drive North from Zihuatanejo to Laredo Texas was pretty uneventful, …uneventful is a good thing, as we were driving through 3 of the most notorious states in Mexico when it comes to drug cartels. In Michoacán the locals call it ‘war’ and civilian vigilantes are active setting up roadblocks, for what purpose we’re not exactly sure, but they are effective at slowing the journey!
Of course they do this to the chagrin of both the cartels and the police, which in both cases they simply distrust. It’s really killed the tourist industry in some pretty neat places even Mexican tourists from out of state choose not to visit! We are amazed at shocked looks and horror that we are in these parts and warned for our safety .. If only they knew! Ignorance is bliss …as we are now informed that on our journey South in November we slept on the side of a highway in the centre of drug cartel country. And the people we met were sooo friendly!
Other than the extortionate ‘cuota’s (road tolls), vigilante roadblocks, the Military roadblock security checks, and the Federal Police roadblock inspections, and the occasional random Municipal Police pullover (usually for a bribe)…. it was plain sailing… Huh, plain sailing you say? I guess this is pretty intimidating, you would be forgiven for thinking this was indeed a war zone. But with all that, we can usually get a smile out of everyone at the road checks when they realize Pumper is our home and we are good for a laugh and joke as they rummage for whatever in the bowels of Pumper… And watch the delight and amazement at our self-contained “Casa” on 4 wheels. On discovery of my stash of medications, several months’ supply of life support… Now that took puppy eyes and serious begging… ‘all legal’ we appeal to good nature!
A sight to behold in the City of Uruapan was a whole fleet of Police pick-up trucks encircling the downtown square, all armed with gun turrets and plenty of bullet proof shielding, this was really like something out of a middle-east war torn country. Ironically life goes on all around this mayhem and when we asked the local parking lot attendant why they were there, he simply felt this was ‘all good’ and insured the security of the city. What a way to live.
We chose not to sleep downtown that night!!! Discretion is the better part of valour! Found ourselves a quiet little parking lot outside the National Park on the edge of town… And crossed everything for good fortune!
Spending 4 nights in Patzcuaro sleeping right on the city square, the local police totally unperturbed by our presence, what a wonderful experience in Mexican family life as it tumbles out on the square. We joined the morning walkers and enjoyed a little yoga ….We saw dancers and kids parades, seems like they have a festival for just about every day of the year, and with the obligatory stop at every cake shop for testing purposes! Guess that blew our disciplined diet for a few days!
This is what you could call the idyllic life! And the treat of being invited to “view” a boutique hotel run by friends of a friend, … at $390 a night.. Well, we slept very cozily in pumper that night, just imagining!
But the tummy bug hit with vengeance poor Steve jumping from the bus in the middle of the night to do what one does… Made a change for it not to be me, waiting for my inevitable turn! Not fun at all .. After an exhausting few days of getting sicker and weaker we headed for the border.. Time for some good olde U.S. of A. time.
Now how many borders have we driven across? How many times have we driven from Mexico to the U.S.A.? Even we make mistakes…
We did get Pumper repatriated correctly which includes the reimbursement of $200 from Aduana, but… we forgot to get our passports stamped out of Mexico and turn in our immigration cards… Ooops! Could be a problem on our next visit we think.. Minor detail!
Immediately crossing the border into the US you recognize the cultural differences even though the vast majority of Americans anywhere close to the border are of Spanish or Mexican decent… We struggle to make the Spanish / English language cross over.
How refreshing, roads without potholes or topes (Mexican speed bumps), road signs… Nice to get pampered! Oh, and toilets that flush… Toilet paper deposited in the toilet: strange concept! And food choices that makes life much easier! And for sure the reality: Rules and regulations: good, bad, and ugly of it all.
It’s good to be back in the US and look forward to wandering around the state parks and wild western towns in the Texas Hill Country waiting for the 2014 Texas VW Classic car show… It would be terrific, but for the same tummy bug finally caught up to me … now juggling bathroom stops etc.
Rocking and rolling … Life on the road treasured moments, jaw dropping sights and mega experiences. Nothing we would rather be doing! Now, did we just drive past a toilet!
Peace and love … with limitless supply of bathroom tissue!