Monday, 6 February 2012

Remembering the real Asia

El Baile de los Viejitos (the dance of the little ole men)
While the stories we read in the media sadden and discourage me, hearing about what is happening in his own country must be heartbreaking for my R2.  Please don't for a second think we take the tragedies lightly and our hearts go out to the families of the people whose lives are forever changed from this senseless brutality.

This story is to demonstrate the kindness we have experienced from one side of Mexico to the other, no matter where we go, no matter how many times the policia stop us, no matter what type of trouble we manage to get ourselves into.

La Vista (view from our condo)
R2 is a VIP owner of a splashy condo but even this posh place makes him antsy. He can't sit for long and is always thinking of things to do.  We were in Ixtapa, Guerrero, probably under a palapa when he said, "Vámonos," to me.  I tried to ignore him but I knew that look. He wanted to "do" something.

Famous coverup and shoes
Normally we are somewhat prepared, but this time we jumped in our rental and decided to drive to a little secluded beach I had researched called Troncones. Along the way, we stopped in a pueblo, had some great grub and continued on our merry way. The only thing I had was a bikini and a coverup which I was wearing and of course, what every person needs on the beach - high heels.  We had no phone, a little cash, a camera and just a couple of towels to throw on the playa.

Now, when I say rental car, I don't mean just any rental car.  To this day, I believe this particular car was swapped for the weekend by the teenage brother of the rental car dude.  It had no horn, the side mirror was cloudy with caked-on grime, and the rear view mirror was duct taped. What was also missing was gas but that minor detail went unnoticed as the gas light was broken.

We enjoyed our brief time at Troncones but it was time to head back for our daily "tequila on the deck and watch the sunset" ritual.

We were scooting down a steep hill in this jalopy when R2 discloses, "there is something wrong with the car." I knew by the tone of his voice, he was dead serious. I whipped around to make sure we weren't going to be rear ended.

He managed to pull this rust-bucket to the side of the road but I had to get out and push so we didn't get hit on the narrow road; my white cover up became a beacon, waving in the wind for help.  It wasn't long before three caballeros in an old pick-up with two longhorn bulls in the back, pulled over.  "Ah, hell no, I am not getting in that truck," I think to myself.  Luckily another car pulled up at the same time.

R2 spoke with this hombre chiquito (tiny man) and told me to hop in - we were out of gas, in a rental car we had just picked up. The hombre's car was equally tiny, and yet he managed to secure two bikes to the roof. His wife was in the front and two sleeping kids were in the cramped backseat.  How we managed to get our long legs in, I will never know, but I do know, I was holding a hot, sweaty niño in my arms.

The man drove for miles but nothing was open. We were in the middle of nowhere. As he drove, he kept turning to talk to R2, forgetting to watch the road. This was entertainment for them and a great story to tell.  We could hear it all now, "Stupid tourists forgetting to put gasolina in the car!"

Finally we came upon a station - thanks to God.  Oh, but wait....they don't have a gas can? The man, his wife and R2 start rifling through the trash looking for pop bottles.  Now, I don't know much about cars but isn't sugar in the gas tank a bad thing? Oh well, the car is not going to last so keep searching people.

Meanwhile the kid wakes up and starts to play with the radio, blasting it and taking the car out of gear.  I try, desperately to remember how to say "stop it," in Spanish as I feel the car start to roll. All I manage is "no no" in Spanish, which is pretty much "no no" in English, as I reef on the emergency brake.

They find the bottles, fill a few and we are on the road back to our car.  Not so fast...we have to get past the Mexican Army who has created a roadblock near the gas station.  Of course, we have no passport or marriage certificate in the bikini.  Why is this red-headed gringa with a bunch of Mexicans?  R2 told me to slump down in the car, as if there was any room to slump.  I am holding two, two-litre bottles of gasolina between my feet, trying to not slosh gas everywhere and scootch down.  Canada has got talent!

The Mexican sunset
We locate the abandoned car, the man wedges a branch to open the tank far enough so R2 can pour the gas, which he managed to douse himself with, we gave the man a  hundred pesos for his trouble, and we were on our way.  You will be happy to know, we still managed to have our nightly Paloma on the deck and watch the colourful sunset (after R2 showered off the gasoline).

The moral of this story is...ALWAYS CHECK YOUR GAS TANK IN MEXICO.  It is not the rentals' practise to fill them up when returned.

Dear people, don't fear Mexico and don't spread hate about the eighth largest nation.  Most of the people are kind and generous.  Be cautious, be smart and remember, you are a visitor in their country.  There is far more to do in this wondrous place than get blindly drunk and insult these hard-working people.

One day we will get back to a place we both love, one day the drug cartels and the government corruption will subside.  Until we return it is up to YOU to continue our love affair of Mexico.


  1. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story Layna! I have faith in the kindness of people, but I also pay attention to my spider senses and try to avoid situations where I might put myself in danger. Hugs to you and R2. Jacquie

  2. So true Jacquie. We seem to take what the media says as gospel and then forget about the other 123 M that are good people and hate what is happening in the country as well. Can't go wrong with Spidy senses!

  3. Layna, your blogs are so vibrant and captivating I feel like I'm there with you some days. Your so very talented, you really need to be a big wig publicists for some A+ hollywood star :)

    WE ♥ U

  4. I don't know what to say... last time I needed gas not from the gas station, I had to swallow the first half liter because I was sucking so hard to make the gas come down from the hose to my stolen container from a car in the street with no gas cap on. New car models now come with a system by which you can no longer do this. After finding all the pop bottles we needed, and pouring gas into the gas tank of our little bugger, half of my body was soaked in the explosive, volatile liquid. I had to take three showers, two deep dives in the ocean and have a cow pee on me before the stench was under control...

  5. HHHHHMMMM, El Mexicano, most Mexicans I know don't say "by which." I think you are my handsome R2 trying to trick me, jajajaja. I also believe it was Burro Pee, not cow. That was when we were in India! You always get your pee stories mixed up.