It happened to be Friday the 13th when we crossed the border from Del Rio into Ciudad Acuna -Mexico! Barbed wire and hundreds of masked men with firearms were swarming everywhere. It took a few hours to deal with all the tourist and vehicle permits and another 2 hours to deal with our first parking ticket!
Before we even entered Mexico almost everybody we talked to mentioned the violence and crime and said it’s a dangerous country to go traveling in. The border areas are said to be the most perilous due to drug trafficking. We’re not here to smuggle drugs and after all we did buy an old van to keep our profile down. We did some harmless cosmetic changes to the van like spray oil stains that collect dirt, duct tape, took the disks off the wheels etc. so it looks far worse than it is. Except the problem is most of the locals keep their cars clean so we sometimes stand out instead of blend in!
The first few days we spent in a park called Quatrocienegas close to Monterrey in the northeast. In 40 degree weather we unsurprisingly went to the local desert swimming area made up of clear pools in the middle of nowhere. But only after about 20min since we got there two police trucks which consisted of 20 armed and masked men drove up to our picnic spot. Like deer in headlights, Kamil and I were both like what the F_ _ K?! Then they all hopped out of the truck, asked us to leave and the minute we had the van rolling out of there they started unloading their picnic supplies, started undressing and cranked up some traditional Mexican music! Just like that, “SIESTA, Arriba, Arriba!”Talk about Gun Power!
The next part of our route took us through Durango, the Devil’s Backbone Road that twists and winds among mountain tops, then Mazatlan and the surrounding Paprika farms. By the way you can find fresh paprikas all over the road because the farmers overload the trucks and the paprikas bounce off! During harvest season you could pick enough of them off the road to open your own store!
Anyway now it’s San Blas, a pretty nice town alongside the Pacific coast. Small but fun waves. Mosquitoes at dawn and Sandflies at dusk – currently our toll is at 1 million and 1 bites. Locals say to drink Tequila as a remedy. The town center main entertainment is people watching, watching people!
Oh yeah and there’s a lot of teenagers driving around drinking beer and singing to Mexican music they have cranked up! Enjoy the freedom!
Before we continue down south we’re taking the Van to the Doctor again, seems like those engine problems that started in Death Valley are back to haunt us…..maybe it’s pissed off at the sandflies as well.