So a couple weeks ago I returned to Mexico to drive my liberal friend back home. The flight into Cancun was uneventful, but I did spot a Grumman Albatross sitting on the airport's "derelict row". It was apparently abandoned there in 2006 and I'm thinking of taking a run at it.
Now I love my friend. Really I do. She means well, and she takes care of me at the bar. And to some extent she understands that the world is all sweetness and light, which is why I'm shepherding her and her goofy-assed Pit Bull on these road trips. She plans the general route and I go over it to keep us out of the trouble spots as much as possible. I also handle the common sense, like "no driving at night", which is something we argued about every single night on the road even though we agreed to it before starting out. But every night, she wanted to run long after dark and I insisted on shutting down.
"I'm used to driving at night," she says. I like night driving."
"That's good," I say. "When we get home you can drive all night. Just not here."
"But there's no traffic at night," she observes.
"Yeah, and there's a reason for that," I patiently explain. "They know better."
Every night though. She just doesn't get it.
Lots of driving. Saw a lot of Mexico. Three thousand road miles covered south of the border in the two trips, much of it on bad roads through the mountains and jungles surrounded by drivers who definitely follow their own rules in regards to passing and speed limits and intersections.
And the last driving day in Mexico, we wound up on a sparely-traveled road in Tamipulas state, a US State Dept. "Level 4" designated area. (Do not travel. Danger.) When I realized that we'd made a navigational error and missed the main toll highway, I was about to turn us around despite her protestations that it was a nice road and a shortcut on the map when we ran across a two-truck patrol of Mexican Marines, the elite anti-Narco police. I made sure that they got a good look at us--and they definitely eyeballed us hard--and then I followed them at a distance for a couple of hours, figuring that we'd likely not get ambushed by a pop-up gang checkpoint if we were rolling with these guys.
But we made it back safe, hitting the US border crossing at Brownsville, TX on the fifth day after leaving Merida. We saw a lot of beautiful country, some of which I'd like to see again.