Well the predictions were wrong! I did not die in Mexico. I was not shot, tortured, raped, decapitated nor had my eyes cut out. I am alive and well in Guatemala having a Glenlivet and watching the people walk by.
As soon as I started planning my trip I heard about the dangers of Mexico. The closer I got to my departure and the closer I got to Mexico the more terrible stories I heard. Almost everyone predicted that I would die if I entered Mexico.
All I heard about going to Mexico was “you must be crazy, you will die for sure”, “your bike will get stolen” “those Mexicans will cut your head off”, “you will get raped and have your eyes taken out” “you must have a death wish”, “you’re going to die” “you’re going to die”. For weeks upon weeks these messages were all I heard and they did play on my mind. In one week I received 10 e-mails about how dangerous it was and how I should not go to Mexico. I did consider not coming but in the end decided to limit my time in Mexico, a decision I now regret.
I am not sure where people get their information about Mexico from but after 13 days of riding my motorcycle alone around Mexico I would like to try and set the record straight about this wonderful country.
I encountered no hostility in Mexico. The Mexicans I met were either indifferent to me being around or very excited to have me as a guest in their country. The further south I travelled the friendlier the people were, but everywhere there were smiling faces. I never experienced any negativity here; they were always nice and patient with my lack of Spanish.
Driving in Mexico was an adventure. I did get turned around a couple of times here and needed to check my map. Once my map came out of the tank bag people came over and helped me, I was soon back on the right path. The roads in Mexico are not as bad as people say. Sure there are some really nasty potholes that you really need to watch out for, the speed bumps will drive you crazy and you will find areas where the road has been washed away due to heavy rains. Overall the roads were fun to ride. Welcome to the world of adventure motorcycle travel.
The Mexican people took the security of my motorcycle very seriously. My motorcycle when parked was being watched by security and was once even in the hotel lobby for 2 days. I have travelled 37,686 kilometers on this adventure so far and only one item has been stolen from me and it was stolen in Yukon Canada, not Mexico! Where were the warnings about Yukon? I hope the thief really needed that empty gas can and is using it to help his family.
Let’s be honest, Mexico has its problems, just a short while before I arrived in Veracruz 35 bodies were dumped under an overpass on a main street. The location of the body dump was less than 1,000 meters from the lobby of the hotel I stayed in. Since I stopped listening to stories on Mexico I had no idea this happened until long after I checked in. The border towns between the US and Mexico have had lots of violence as well. This type of violence in Mexico seems only to be among the Cartels and not against the tourist or average Mexican. Putting the border behind you quickly is good advice.
I did get a traffic “ticket” on the first day. I intentionally left this out of my blog so that I would not get bombarded with e-mails again. The light was yellow, not red as the traffic cop said it was, however I could not remember the Spanish word for yellow, so I argued it was green. In the end it cost me 200 pesos. I compare this to the speeding ticket I got from the RCMP in Newfoundland and I would take the Mexican cop any day. The RCMP officer in Newfoundland was rude, treated me more like a dangerous criminal than a speeder and talked to me as if I was a child (I had 10 years on him for sure). I was going 117 km in a 90 km zone on a long isolated highway with nobody around, not a violent crime. The Mexican cop was polite to me, did not attempt to intimidate me, and in the end he shook my hand and called me Amigo. I got a lecture from the RCMP.
The people are great, the food is fantastic and it will be unlikely that you will encounter problems if you use common sense. Don’t hesitate about coming to Mexico, get yourself down here, explore everything it has to offer. My time here was too short, but I will be back and will be spending a lot more time.
Thank you to the people who had honest concern for my safety, I am blessed to have good friends who care.