TAPACHULA, Chiapas, Mexico — Aug. 16, 2012 — I’m sitting here in my bed literally at the last possible minute I could be writing something that is supposed to give you a taste of what Mexico City (for two weeks), Puerto Escondido, and the road south to the border of Guatemala. What I’ve done, what I’ve seen, who I’ve met, and my impressions of it all…while I’m still in Mexico.
This city lies on the border of Guatemala. I got here four days ago with full intentions of continuing through the border and on to Antigua, Guatemala. I actually was within spitting distance of the gates when I was rushed by a small mob of trabitadors (border helpers) ready to take my pesos in exchange for ferrying me through the various levels of administrivia I’d need to successfully navigate to make my way through.
I brushed off their advances, but they didn’t take no for answer. Some of them actually got in the way of my moving bike, jumping out of the way at the last minute. I don’t get it. My Spanish is good enough to tell them no thank you. They are by far the most aggressive folk I’ve encountered in any context in Mexico. I have a feeling that they planted the nail that ended up giving me a flat tire as I rode away in search of the elusive Banjercito, the federal bank of Mexico where I must get my $300 deposit back for the temporary vehicle important permit.
Between the flat tire and the coolant thermostat dying, I’ve had a busy couple days dealing with bike issues. And finding El Banjercito has been my second most pressing concern. I don’t want to leave $300 on the table for no good reason. I found it today thanks to a cab driver, but it was the wrong branch of El Banjercito. So, I took another cab to the smaller branch which was at some kind of checkpoint close to the Guatemala border. But, since I didn’t have my bike with me, I couldn’t complete the transaction. But at least I found out where it was. It will be my first stop on the way out of Mexico in a few hours.
Puerto Escondido was a nice relaxing few days…even though is was miserably hot at times. I’m used to being drenched in sweat for the whole day now though. Since leaving the highlands of Mexico City, that’s how it’s been. While I was there, Tropical Storm Ernesto blew through and chewed up the beach pretty good.
I’ll conclude this post with some summarizations of my two weeks in Mexico City. First off, I got to stay there for free thanks to my new good friend Marc Osterer, a trumpet player in the Mexico City Philharmonic. The first week, I got the place all to myself as he went back to the States to play a gig in upstate New York. I was humbled by his offer, and gladly accepted it. I had a grand ole time getting lost all over this gigantic city. I saw some cool sites, such as the Guadalupe Cathedral and the impressive squares and grounds around it.
I also met some cool people…a couple of dudes from a biker club called the Cavernarios, founded by the brother and friend of a girl I met in the Ciudad named Laura. I palled around with her for several nights during my stay. We went to an authentic Mexican cantina and had a nice little afterparty. It was great that Marc had gotten back from the states by then; he was able to come out and join. The next night, I got to meet a couple of his friends…two girls named Samantha and Paolina. Sam was an American that Marc played with in the orchestra. Pao is my future ex-wife. Haha. Maybe.
Anyway, I need to get to sleep now. I have a long day of a border crossing and a four-hour ride to Antigua through the mountains.