With my late start, I felt I had to make up for lost time. So I drove to Tuscon the first day – 900 miles. Then south of Culiacán the second, and Puerto Vallarta midway through the third.
I was stressed with the road conditions, making up for lost time, and being in a new country! I could at least fool myself before I got there that I knew the language, but when it was time to have a conversation I mumbled phrases like “donde esta el baño” and “lo siento”. “No entiendo” was also a favorite. I didn’t realize how much I relied on language for communication.
So at the end of the second night, I wished for the comforts of home. Wished not to feel so out of my comfort zone. And wished to have a conversation beyond “Hello, do you have tacos?” Still, I was happy to be on the road. A new, challenging adventure.
This was especially clear when I arrived to Puerto Vallarta. Gorgeous, yes. But I couldn’t help but feel let down. Everyone was white or whiteish and spoke English. I sort of enjoyed being the pelirojo outsider, struggling through basic conversations, and being way too far from home. “Pelirojo” by the way, is the Spanish slur for “ginger”.
So. Puerto Vallarta stunk of America, reminding me a bit too much of home. I’ll be happy to be home on my time thank you very much.
During my first night in Mexico, I was driving through a dirty little town on the west coast. A friendly, English-speaking cop stopped me. Now I know, too friendly. He informed me that I was speeding. Which. I. Was. Not. He said to follow him to the police station to pay the fine and we promptly headed down and parked in a dark alley. I was pretty nervous, mainly about getting my license back and getting out of town. He said that, unfortunately, the police station was closed. The rest should be clear. We agreed he could steal 200 pesos ($16) from me. And so I left. I felt pretty good for getting out of there alive and with no loose ends, but that only lasted for about 30 minutes when I realized that he STOLE FROM ME. Anyways I probably could’ve worked it out that he stole less, but whatever. I’m the tourist with the wrong plates, so he won.
From Portland, the place that young people go to retire, good night.