Almost 30 years ago, I spent a few years of my live living in both rural & then urban Mexico, including Mexico City. This was just after my carefree college years.
At that time, when my then fiancée introduced me to Mexico City traffic, I was major paranoid & scared witless. She told me I would have to become more aggressive if I was going to get anywhere in that huge metropolis. It took me less than 6 months to become as good (or bad, depending on your point of view) as the most aggressive taxi cab driver there. Some things have changed, but the aggressive driving culture of Mexico still careens forward. Unfortunately for my wife, it’s taken me many years to slowly calm down my driving style for U.S. streets. Thank goodness for driving passion outlets like autocross!
This past weekend I spent about 5 days back in urban/rural Central Mexico with my wife & her extended family, participating in a wedding of someone we knew originally as a babe in arms. We flew into Mexico City, traversed a new highway that now makes her pueblito only about a 2 hour trip. Back in the day it was a laborious 3+ hours long, much of it via a windy mountain road, following lumbering, citrus overloaded trucks from the coast – in the fog! The powers of taxes & road construction have wielded a wonderful highway, pretty much straight to my wife’s hometown (Necaxa, Puebla). Total toll, 72 pesos (about US $5.50).
As my wife doesn’t like driving that much, I thought I was going to get as much of my Mexican driving quota as I could. I ended up being lazy and let others drive – I wanted to see the sights better anyway. Besides, this was a mini-vacation. It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve driven around inside of Mexico (border towns don’t count). We road along in a variety of vehicles, including a mini Ford crossover (a 2004 EcoSport). This was just fine for the roads & trips that we were occasioned to enjoy.
The automobile choices for the Mexican consumer of today have grown considerably since I was there in the early 1980’s. Back then, to see a Camero, Cadillac or Mercedes was an excuse for not just a neck snapping double-take, but a fully justifiable turn around, to stop & query the driver about how he was able to get the papers worked out to bring his car into Mexico. Today, if you have the funds, you can buy any of those cars & many more that were not previously available. But price wise, those cars are outrageously expensive compared to our costs for the same vehicle in the US. Most of the vehicles I saw were compact to micro-size, some from the European market.
But I digress. Driving in Mexico, both urban & rural is still an adventure – one that Racing Ready can recommend, but with the necessary cautions. For example, watch for what a slow moving truck’s blinkers really mean. Around a blind curve – blinking left means “You are clear to pass!”; blinking right means – “Don’t pass – oncoming traffic!”, usually… The adventure is no longer as raw as the original Carrera Panamericana, but still intriguing nonetheless.
It’s interesting to note that some of Racing Ready’s roots originate in Mexico – so now you know…