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Goodbye America and Hello Mexico ...a wake up call for the naive travellers from NZ

So how did our first day go emotionally? And bare in mind that New Zealand is the second SAFEST country in the world and Mexico the 24th most dangerous!

Our last morning in Phoenix was spent trying to get our entry permit for Mexico sorted out for about 2 hours at Gavins office (in the end it was pointless as we had to re do them AND repay at the border!).

The office mascot was an enormous Great Dane called Brutus who would walk up to you and snuggle under your arm ...while you were standing up (he was so tall).

We set off after lunch and made it as far as Wickenburg, a cowboy town, before Nick who was still recovering from his infection was ready to rest. It was hot and we treated ourselves to a hotel with a pool... it was a few dollars more but we had got to the "sod the budget we are out of this country in a few days" stage.

The following day we rode to a place called Julian in the hills east of San Diego because... well because it looked more interesting on the map than the agricultural town Brawley that was another option. We rode alongside the Colorado river for a fair bit of the way and were amazed to see that they were using the river to flood irrigate the plains and grow crops ...mainly grass and alfalfa for cattle feed from what we could make out, although the closer we got to San Diego the more it changed to horticulture.

The hotel (another "sod the budget decision") was a quaint listed building with a room that could barely fit the bed in much to Nicks disgust as he kept saying things like "can't swing a cat in here" etc.

We sorted out our papers for the next day, finished writing our postcards to our grandies Angus and Frank, and then got a good nights sleep.

The following morning the weather had finally deserted us and after weeks of zero rain it was pouring! We loaded up the bikes and made the twisty ride to the border gingerly through puddles full of slippy wet leaves.

We crossed the border at Tecate. Nick had done his research and said it was easier and quicker.

It turned out that we didn't have an actual receipt of payment for the entry permits we had spent hours trying to get a few days earlier so the officials would not accept our papers and we had to get them all again, as well as the temporary import permits (TIP) for the bikes.

2 hours later than we expected we are hightailing it to Ensenada before the sun sets where we have a hotel booked.

We make it to the hotel and parked the bikes up next to another CB500X who it turned out belonged to Loke from Norway.

And after unpacking our gear we head into town to find a Fish Taco stand that we were recommended. They were DELICIOUS and only came to something crazy like $8 NZD for 4 ...a few days before a rubbish junk meal from McDs was costing us over $50!

So how did our first day go emotionally? And bare in mind that New Zealand is the second SAFEST country in the world and Mexico the 24th most dangerous!

To be honest I (Bec) found it VERY difficult. When it came to trying to communicate I haven't felt so ineffective and uslesss for a long while.

After doing 2 terms of Spanish lessons online I though we were going to cope quite well, but it was so difficult to understand and then you feel like a complete moron not being able to talk to these people in THEIR country in their language. I was gutted.

Then there was the POLAR opposite difference in surroundings and even the people when we literally hopped from one country to another.

Litter, poverty, dirt, fumes ...and blatantly armed military/police (pretty much all of the north of the country is dodgy). And the people were more distrusting of us "gringos" and we got a lot of sideways glares ...and lets face it, they have every right to be!

All this rattled Bec.

The following day we decided to head east towards San Felipe, a fishing town on the coast of the Gulf of California. It was a 250 km ride across the mountains and as it turned out some questionable areas.

There was more rubbish dumped at the sides of the road than we had ever seen and this included broken glass so places where you were able to stop were few and far between.

At around half way, we had climbed 1000m and it was starting to get cold and rain, so we made the decision to stop and put waterproof jackets on. My gut feeling was this was a bad idea and sure enough within a minute or so a guy had pulled over and was trying to ask us for something and it WASNT to ask if we were okay! We quickly figured out he was trying to see our phones, after taking out 3 different ones from the front of his car, so we quickly hopped on our bikes and sped off.

This time it rattled us both and we were very quiet on the rest of the ride. Lesson learned, DONT stop unnessesarily in places that don't feel right!

After a few more kms we came to a series of 3 military check points, soldiers with faces completely masked and holding automatic rifles.


The solider asked me "De Donde Eres?"

my heart skipped with joy!

I understood him!!! and without stopping to think I replied "Soy de Nueva Zealanda, Lo Siento, solo hablo un Poccito de Espanol" (I am from New Zealand, I am sorry I only speak a very little Spanish).

Thank you Carlos! (our Spanish teacher) Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Maybe, just maybe we were going to be able to do this!

San Felipe looked like a modern metropolis compared to some of the areas we had just ridden though. But when you looked closer it was tired and neglected.

We stopped on the way in and had the most delicious ceviche tostadas from a street vendor who buys his vegetables and fresh fish daily. Our tummies were so happy to not be eating carb loaded fried foods!

We found a reasonable priced room right on the beach and went for a walk to find a supermarket. After a couple of kms we came across the local school doing a parade to celebrate 50 years of the school being open. It was awesome to see so much pride in their school from the whole community.

Again we experienced the mistrust. Nick spoke to a lady who was watching the parade and asked her what it was for, she told him but then moved away from us ...she did not want to be associated with us.

There is mistrust all round; us mistrusting of them ...what if the guy that pulled over next to us in the middle of nowhere was non menacing??? and mistrust from them of us "gringos" ...after all hadn't another "gringo" once called Mexicans criminals and worse???

HOWEVER, after those initial first two days as we settled into this new crazy, hectic, vibrant country and became more familiar with their way of life and daily realities, it was a joy to observe the way they lived, the kindness in their hearts and the beauty of their country.

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1 comentario

26 nov 2022

Hi Nick and Bec

Congrats for your getting into Mexico. You will soon find smaller town are more friendly than bigger towns in Mexico. Make sure people know you are from NEW ZEALAND. They might think you are from USA.

We loved FOOD in Mexico, and the fruits as well. From now you will be in the heaven of fresh fruits and veges.

You "go back" button works too! Well done.

Looking forward to your next post.



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