January 02, 2006 GMT
About Mexico: Part 1

G-Money Entry (Although Smokey D is planning on one shortly, I can´t wait).
As for this entry, its part one regarding general Mexican Travel conditions and just general Mexican stuff.

First things first. Happy New Year to All.
We spent ours in Acapulco, at a club/bar.
Let me state for the record that the place we were at was by far the most diverse crowd I´ve ever experienced at a New years club party.
There were obviously many nationalities represented, but what got me was the age variation. I can safely say that the age variation was from a month old to 80 years old. I ain´t kidding there were kids and even babies at this place and in other places as well. Smokey and I were jokingly yelling at the Baby´s, ¨HEY BABY, BABY, IT´S 3 IN THE MORNING, GO HOME BABY¨. Anyone who knows Dave Chappelle standup acts will understand the joke, others that don´t, should get off their asses and watch/or listen to Dave Chappelle stuff.
In all honesty it was nice partying with groups of families, and seeing the little girls dancing really made me miss my two nieces (miss you Zoe and Emma). And reminded me how my sister still hasn´t sent any recent photos in over 2 months, what´s up with that???

Okay, that´s enough for now about New Year´s and Acapulco. Let´s get back to Mexico.

1) Driving Conditions. (Up to Acapulco, and staying primarily by the Pacific coast, therefore minimal inland riding).
The highway system has so far been surprisingly good. The toll roads are as good or better then anything we have back home, and they´re also usually pretty empty. The free roads are okay as well, although the main one I can attest to is the Highway 200 down the coast.
Things to work on for Mexican Transit authorities include:
i) Signage. For some reason no signs ever say if you´re heading south, north, east or west, they will only give the highway number and the next major city. That´s enough to get you places but having the direction does help and is just common sense (see more regarding common sense in the Mexican people section).
Besides location signs, other signs are missing if not utterly wrong. For example some of the distance signs are obviously wrong. Instead of the distance reducing as you get closer to the location, some cases the distance shown is farther, not sure why but it happens. In one case the two signs were within view (ie you can see both signs at the same time, about 20 meters apart) with the distance difference being 4 kilometers. Again that´s not too bad. But the most ¨dangerous¨signage problem is the notification of a speed bump. Note that many times the highways go through small towns and speed bumps are always around. One province, Guerrero is for some reason especially screwed up on these signs. Only half of the bumps were marked and something to note ¨Topes¨ means speed bump, and don´t forget it. And it´s strongly suggested to ride in the day or you´re bound to get some unwanted/unexpected air on the bumps.
ii) Shoulders, on the roads that is. Forget about it. Even the Toll roads had no shoulders. On average the shoulder is comprised of a 5 inch white line and 5 inches of space, which in total isn´t even enough for one bike. So if you have to pull over you need to wait for a section that has an inlet, which are relatively rare.
ii) Animals on roads. Doesn´t happen often, but you will get the occasional donkey herd or bull herd. Honking doesn´t work. As for road kill so far birds have been my primary victims with Iguanas not yet victimized yet very plentiful.

Best Ride: Highway 200 is a great coastal highway. Every once in a while you hit a village (aka Topes´s) but as long as the roads are not clogged with traffic, you´ll enjoy the whineding and twisty ride. I suggest Highway 200 be renamed to ¨The Whinedy One¨ or just ¨Twisterama¨..

Pay roads, are great for saving time but ain´t cheap. I calculate that you are paying around a $1 per 10-20 kms, which isn´t cheap and definitely adds up.

2) The food. Simply great. To date I have had more Tacos in the last 45 days then I´ve had in all the time previously and note that I was a Taco Bell lover for 10 years, until that fateful ¨bad taco¨ episode a few years back that ruined it for me.

Never have we not enjoyed a taco meal here. They are fast and filling and each place seems to make them differently and always so so good. We keep thinking that Montreal would be a great place for a Taqueria (Taco joint). Finally some competition for the Lebanese Monopoly, a.k.a the Amir Shish Taouk Cartel.
So in general, stay away from any North American brands and also any locations that are within or attached to big shopping centers. Stick to the corner mom and pop shops and you´ll be thankful and solid. Solid is good.
Favorite Mexican dishes: i) Anything in a Taco. Tacos here are small relative to north american tacos, so never order less then 4 or 5. Make sure to try out a Fish Taco, the Sayulita Fish Taco gets the 5 star SmokeyD and GMoney recommendation. ii) Enchiladas, like tacos, but can be better and more filling. iii) Pozole, had it only once and liked it, a cross between a stew and a regular soup. Made with corn. iv) Jalapeno Chips, found a great brand, reminds me of Miss Vicks back home. v) Great mini white powder sugar doughnuts that come in a plastic snack bag. Dangerous little bastards they are. But yet soooo fluffy. vi) and finally our favorite makeshift meal is a refried bean (out of a can) and whole wheat bread sandwich, I prefer my sandwhich with peppers, crushed chips and a cold beer (Negra Modelo is the best one soo far with Bohemia a close second, if you like darker beers that is).
Note: I will be working on fasting to releave some of the food muscle I´ve accumalated recently. So no worries about me getting fat.

3) Mexican people.
So far soo good. Even though we were told by many to watch out regarding mexicans we haven´t had much trouble except for the Lunatic who stole our air filter, I´m still miffed at that. F&ck, AGHHHHH, F&ck, AGHHHHH, F&ck!
Anyways, I need to control my anger. Okay back to the people. Really nice, friendly and generally upbeat. Our present guest house in Acapulco is run by one family which is the sweetest family I´ve ever encountered travelling. More on them from me or Smokey in a later entry.
Although Mexican people are nice and all, there is definitely a negative. Common sense. No better way to put it except to say that they lack significantly in the common sense department. Examples include; Getting your drinks first at a restaurant seldom happens, even though you know about the common sense deficiency syndrome and specifically ask for the drinks right away. Good luck!
At this time I can´t think of anymore serious infractions but there were many, trust me. Besides restaurants it happens in almost every social and official scenario. No point in getting upset, its gonna happen, right. Well, at least I tell myself that to lower my blood pressure.

4)Mexico and Bike maintenance. If you have a credit card (or plenty of cash) and you are willing to use it, you´ll have no problems getting service and parts. The Kawasaki dealership we serviced our bikes at was possibly the best dealership we´ve ever dealt with. It will get a serious plug in a subsequent entry.
So far the only concern is all the time our bikes have been spending around sand. Travelling down the coast doesn´t leave us much choice.

5) Woman, AKA Chicas, AKA Mujeres, AKA Muchachas. Definitely aggresive, yet not too attractive (in General, obviously there are exceptions).
Even coming from North America where we tend to overdo it on food, I still get an urge to yell ¨Put the fork down woman, its over, for the love of God, STOP.¨ Being serious, I´ve never witnessed women with such great appetites. I am dwarfed by their superior munching skills.
As for being aggressive, they do tend to stare and yell out and once in a while you´ll get the little touch/push or squeeze. Obviously, I don´t let myself be deamined by such behaviour and make sure I stay far away from it.

Well, that´s all for About Mexico Part 1.
Keep well and I´d like to send out a special greeting to my nieces who I´ve been especially missing lately. Big hugs and kisses to Zoe and Emma.

Posted by Gaby Berelovich at January 02, 2006 07:46 PM GMT

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