Wednesday, October 12, 2005

7/20/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.5

(continued from part 7/20/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.4)

The rain isn't the main problem. The problem is that in Mexico they generally don't have efficient ways to get rid of massive quantities of rain quickly off the road like they do in the U.S. so the water just stays on the road and you're often riding in a foot or two of rushing water. This problem is compounded by the fact that Mexican taxi drivers evidently have little or no respect for human life and don't care you are only on two wheels in the rain. Either that, or they consider motorcycles a nuisance that need to be forced off the road and out of their hurried way. Why are they in such a hurry anyway? Most didn't even seem to have fares. Add to that combination, the fact that Guanajuato's city roads are a series of one-way cobblestone passages that form a senseless spider web of tunnels that run underneath the city and through snaking narrow above ground passages. If you miss your turn, you'll be riding around in circles trying to find your way back. Add to that, the old cobblestone roads and sections of cement are coated with ages of oil and various motor drippings making for a surface that is slick as snot. I almost lost it many times but managed to stay up only for fear of being overrun by the evil taxi and bus drivers. Add to all of that the fact there is absolutely nowhere to park or pull over to get out of the way and most of the hotels, posadas, and hostels don't have garages. If all of that weren't enough, the Mexican pedestrians just walk right out in front of you assuming that you'll be able to stop instantly on two-wheels and wet pavement. I hadn't thought of any of that since I'd only previously always arrived in this city by bus or taxi and paid no attention to such trivial matters.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of being trapped in a hellish and slick labyrinth and a couple inquiries with traffic cops, I found a budget hotel (Hotel 2 Rios) with a small parking area for just $200 pesos a night. I wasn't going to argue. I just wanted off the road and out of the rain and path of those devilish taxis.

After I'd unloaded my bags, had a smoke, and stopped shaking from cold wet fear. I calmed down a bit as the rain let up a little. At last I was in my beloved town of Guanajuato that had always been a source of creative inspiration for me. I made my way to my favorite restaurant, "Truco 7" and ordered a plate of mole enchiladas. But as I waited for my food, I noticed I was completely surrounded by English-speaking American students carrying on in a mixture of exaggerated broken Spanish and English while they swilled countless beers and shots of tequila. I also noticed that the surge of inspiration that had always hit me as just as soon as I'd traversed Guanajuato's cobblestones and colorful angular architecture was somehow taking it's own sweet time reaching my brain. Had the magic gone? Perhaps a change in cafe would be wake things up. But, the next cafe was equally confounded with drunken American students. The horror! Yes, I too am an American tourist, but for some odd reason Guanajuato had always been mostly devoid of the typical gringos and I loved that about the place. Don't get me wrong, Guanajuato has for many years been a University, artisiic, historic, colonial tourist town... but for the most part the tourists were mostly well-to-do Mexicans with just a small spattering of gringos you hardly noticed. Most chose to stay in nearby San Miguel de Allende which was fine with me. Now, it seems my beloved has finally been discovered.

(to be continued in part 7/20/05 Mexican Motorcycle Diary pt.6)


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