11 Final thoughts on Cycle Touring in Mexico + Caye Caulker
Some final thoughts on Mexico and a respite from pedaling on Caye Caulker for a few days… y muchas fotos.
A compilation of our final thoughts on Mexico:
1. Riding – Back roads aren’t always, or even usually, easier nor safer.
The highways and main roads have a lot of nice wide shoulders, and most drivers are quite considerate, with the exception of the giant passenger buses that whip around sharp curves at lightening speed. Don’t drive after dark. We didn’t try it, but that is apparently when about 90% or so of fatal accidents occur. Apparently drunk driving laws aren’t well enforced.
2. Mexico is loud.
Mexicans love fireworks (you’d think they invented them), loud music, and honking their horns (I know…thats a great generalization). When you mix in the Brightly colored paints, flashing lights, and shy yet beautiful smiles, you get a real sense of the spirit of the Mexican people.
3. Mexicans embrace life.
You can find a fiesta just about every day of the week, and then, there are the more official holidays and festivals, which seem to occur at least bi-weekly. Life isn’t about what you “do for a living”, its about celebrating life. There’s never too little time to stop and speak with an old friend, or even a stranger for that matter.
4. Mexico has some sanitation issues.
Too few trash receptacles, very limited recycling, and lots of people eating lots if convenience foods = road side trash dumps and littered beaches. The government should invest a little more in clean up efforts and a little less in the propaganda billboards that tell everyone what the government is doing for them.
5. Never assume that your “real life” skills won’t be needed while traveling.
You never know when you may be asked to catheterize a Serbian gentleman in a small Mexican town (with an 18french for that matter). In that vain, if you ever travel and happen to have prostate issues, let the person who is providing medical consultation know of said issues.
6. The dangers of traveling in Mexico are way over-inflated.
The people are curious but kind, and they will often go out of their ways to help a stranger. The only real sense of danger we experienced was while playing “roadside food stall roulette”.
7. Vegetarian bicyclists in Mexico probably die before making it very far…
either from starvation or a heart attack (Fritos and ChokiChockies can only get you so far). At least one vegetarian I know managed to survive eating meat from a stacked column of pig parts that had no doubt sat out in the hot Mexican sun for hours, without getting sick.
8. Learning Spanish is difficult.
Kids should be taught at a young age, and for those of us who aren’t so young, brush up on your charades.
9. Mountains are easier than flats in lots of ways.
Yes, there’s the hot poker burning sensation you often feel in your thighs, but a least there’s the hope that around the next corner there will be some sort of awesome down hill.
10. Despite the earlier generalizations, Mexico isn’t one place or one people.
The landscapes we’ve experienced include some of the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen, rolling, green farmland, rocky dry desert, and sandy white beaches. The people are mestizo, Spanish, Mayan, Zapotec, dark, light, beautiful, rosy cheeked, really itty bitty short, and just kind of standard short. Yes, most of the people are short.
11. When requesting a “care” package from home, leave out the prescription medications disguised in over-the-counter containers.
Apparently, Mexican customs officials aren’t really keen on that. (Thanks again for trying Mom).
A pedaling reprieve on Caye Caulker
It’s been 8 years since we last visited, but it’s awesome to be back in my home away from home…Caye Caulker.
Its just disgusting how fortunate we are, celebrating Logan’s 40th birthday in the same island paradise where we celebrated my 30th. This vacation from our “vacation” was made even sweeter with a visit from Alex and Catherine. It’s super “cool beans” that they were able to “get out of town” on such short notice.
I’m pretty sure, that with all the revelry and rum soaked beverages, that I’ve set myself back to pre-Sierra Madre condition. I’m not really looking forward to getting back in the saddle, especially with the warnings we’ve been given regarding the incredibly steep ascents we will face in Guatemala. It’s a good thing that the boys are down with checking out a few more remote snorkeling spots and some Belizean countryside before moving onward.