“You are crazy”
“There is a very good chance you’ll be killed”
“Do you have a gun?”
“Take a gun”
“The people are… Well… They are Mexican”
This was a few of the comments I got before crossing the border from the USA into Mexico. Yes, I know its more dangerous than some other countries. Yes, I know about the cartels, political situation, violence, drugs etc etc… Mexico is a country where you need to be more aware than some other developed countries, but because of this reason it was yet again going to make this visit so much more interesting.
People keep asking me why I go through certain countries and take some dangerous risks. It’s not very hard, or not for me. The important thing is that I’m not stupid and what people don’t see is the research I do, people I speak to and planning thats going into crossing “a more dangerous” country.
Traveling, Adventuring or Exploring… What does these words mean to me?
When I visit a country I don’t want to stay in luxury hotels, eat in the best fancy restaurants, buy souvenirs and take photos in front of only the top attractions. Traveling, adventuring and exploring is much more than that! Why do you want to visit a new country and don’t fully experience what that specific country is about? I personally do it to see, feel and experience new things, things I’m not use to where I’m from. But most important to be as close to the local people as possible, because this is when you fully experience a country and get a good feel on how things are.
So Mexico… Another country so many people warned me about… The type of country I personally love traveling to the most… Here we go…
I entered Mexico from the USA in the North at the Naco border. Was I nervous? I have to be honest and say yes, especially because I came from the USA, where people don’t really have good things to say about this Central American country, Mexico.
I understand so many of the comments, or sort of, but don’t judge a nation and its people on a few individuals… Don’t generalise, because you will probably be wrong.
I had 17 days to get from Naco in the North down to Mexico City, 2100km away. The first 100km was one of the most dangerous roads I’ve cycled to date. Two lanes (one for each direction) zig zagging over and through a mountain with no shoulder and with a drop of at-least 1m on the side. With so many speeding trucks coming from both directions, struggling to pass each other made me nervous. Now I was also there and the trucks was not very patient. After being ran over about ten times and two times almost falling off a cliff, I made it and the road got better.
So, the first part of my Mexican stress and nervousness was not the people next to the road working, smoking a cigarette or eating tacos. It was the roads and traffic.
Even though the first 100km of the road had been dodgy, the traffic and people got better and better. On the road people would hoot (the friendly one), wave, drive slower when they get close, put on their hazards, stop and take photos. The people in the North was great and it was a brilliant start to the months and a half I would spend in Mexico.
The cycling was very though, as I was now averaging over 140km a day, but Mexico was beautiful and sunny, which made it nice to be on the road. Although it is winter, it was the warmest temperatures I’ve had since Central Asia, 15 months ago. Averaging 140km is though this time of the year, because the days are short. I had just over nine hours of sunlight every day, so I spend most of that on the bike. If I was lucky I would take one break of between 20 and 30 minutes daily. Some of the windy headwind days, I was basically cycling without taking breaks and being on the bicycle for 9 hours straight.
My body was starting to feel tired after the another though 3000km stretch from Calgary (Canada) to the USA/Mexican border, which I did in 31 days. I needed a break, but thats why I was pushing to get to Mexico City where I will meet up with my girlfriend and my brother. My brother will join me for 45 days through Central America.
When I finally cycled into one of the biggest cities in the world, Mexico City, I have already learned so much about the people of this country. They have been nothing less than GREAT!! Always trying to talk, lots of smiles, offering food & drinks and also friendly on the road considering me being there. One other thing I quickly learned was that they love eating! I knew about Mexican food, but yea, its just so much better when you are actually here. The street foods are amazing and very affordable, which make it even better.
The 12 day rest with my Karen and Drikus was great. Karen arrived six days before my brother, so we kicked off her visit by eating tons of Mexican food, walked around the city and visited the pyramids and ruins in the Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan. When Drikus finally arrived we did not slow down on the eating, sightseeing in the city and visited the beautiful city Puebla and another pyramid witha few ruins. I also met up again with a travel friend Pattie, who I met back in Croatia. She showed us around the city and through her really got to experience so much more of Mexico.
So not only has the locals been good and the food delicious, I had a chance to see my girlfriend, a friend and family!! Just to see one of these are a rare occasion, so this was a massive treat.
So most of the critics have been proven wrong to this point. I know there is facts and stats, but this does not determine how the country is or the type of people that live there. Mexico has been beautiful, she food has been great and the people amazing!
Now it was time that my brother join me and well tackle the second part of Mexico as we are heading deeper into Central America.