Saturday, August 10, 2019

Traveling through Mexico with my liberal friend

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.
Spent the day snorkeling the reef in Cancun and then it was off for the five hour drive back to Merida, where we lounged for a few days before hitting the road northward again.

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.
It did not escape me though that these guys were definitely switched on. Good spacing, full armor in the sun, HK-21 LMG with a belt locked and loaded, and constant vigilance and scanning the surroundings--these guys were looking for something and clearly on the alert. I noticed this but she couldn't see it, even when I tried to explain. She just decided that I'm "gun obsessed" because I paid attention to the types of weapons that the various police, soldiers and guarda types around us carried. And I was focused, if only because if stuff breaks bad, the only gun I'm going to get to defend us with is one that I pick up or snatch from someone else and I need to make sure I remember the manual of arms. (I'm smooth with the M-16 and Uzi. the H&K products, not so much.) Yep. We definitely weren't in Kansas any more, Dorothy.

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.

Good times.


  1. Welcome home!

    Good to hear you made it through the trip. I know a few people like her, and try and watch out for them when they're with us.

  2. Your liberal friends sounds like this one group of girls I went to college with. The ones who went on a trip down Mexico-way over spring break one year (and not to a resort, mind you), and who utterly refused to take those of us who knew what was up seriously when we advised them What Not To Do and Where Not To Go. The fact that nothing happened to them despite doing pretty much everything they shouldn't have (hanging out in bars well after dark being the one that jumps out of my memory right away) was not attributed to the fact that they got exceedingly lucky and/or that God was looking out for them, but rather because those of us who knew what was up were wrong, paranoid, delusional, and possibly racist.

  3. Hey Murphy;

    Welcome back. Some people don't get that "Not all places are like the United States". You done good and kept her and her goofy dog out of trouble...and speaking of dogs, who did you get to babysit the hamsters? although I am sure they were very glad to see you, especially Belle...Murphy not so much, LOL.

  4. Was kinda worried about you going dark for so long.

    As to your friend, some people never learn. Sometimes it's nice having a Pollyanna around, but not in Injun territory.

    Hope the dogs didn't eat your house. Keep in touch.

  5. The big challenge with those aircraft south of the border is usually their lack of lifetime documentation. This from watching "Ice Pilots" and their attempts to salvage a water bomber or two from down there.

  6. Jimmy Buffett owned (and water crashed) an Albatross back in the 1990's, wrote a book about flying around in in called A Pirate Looks At 50. It's a good read.

  7. If you can get the Albatross running and flyable, I can come and help you bring it home....

  8. Well Murphy... if you had been kidnapped for ransom, don't fret! We would have taken up a collection to spring you! Would $33.12 would be enough?

  9. Glad you made it both ways, and yeah, she's living in lala land... sigh... She would be dead if it weren't for you, and you know it.

  10. Good to hear you're home safely.