Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Dangers and Warnings
and possibly a second time in California. In the second case the
perpetrator claimed he thought the food we left in the animal-safe
storage box was abandoned so I am not sure if that counts as a robbery.
Karen bemoaned the lost country round loaf of bread, salmon cream cheese
and brie cheese. The northbound cycle tourist appeared to have been
subsisting on Mr. Noodles alone.
I did not feel unsafe at anytime in Mexico. Warnings collected from
home and along the coast no doubt ensured we stayed particularly alert
and safety conscious at this point in our trip. As it was, I felt more
uneasy in some of the rougher neighborhoods that we passed through in
San Francisco and San Diego. Karen had some fretful nights camping in
US state parks that, despite efforts to exclude the homeless, often mentally ill, represent a viable housing option to those that have tents.
Given the number of Americans we met who told us they would not and
would likely never travel in Mexico, especially right now, I was
surprised at how many Americans and Canadians were in Baja. Makes sense
though, many of the Americans that travel in Mexico in the winter, were
already there. Southern Baja is rife with tourist destinations and
gringo communities, places where even now BC, California and other
license plates equal or outnumber Mexican plates. Visits are down
though and reportedly have been the last couple of years. Most of the
places we visited, the restaurants and hotels geared towards tourists,
were mostly empty even during the busy Christmas period.
We were also constantly warned about cycling on the highways in Baja.
Our travel guide, Baja Moon Handbook, dissuades visitors from traveling
by bicycle. We've come to think this is mostly drivers projecting their
own fears on us as cycling seemed safer than driving on these roads.
Warnings about the highway usually came from gringos. In fact one
gringo, any inhibitions he may have had unraveled by a number of drinks
argued that bikes had no business being on the Baja highway (another
touring cyclist described a similar experience). Mexicans were
generally more supportive - shouting and honking encouragement, waving
and taking our picture. And there was a phrase we heard from the
uniformed men waving us through the military checkpoints, "pura
deporte". Karen says it translates literally as "pure sport." Maybe a
better translation would be "hardcore, dude!"
I did get hit by a car once. That was in Vancouver the day we were
leaving. Based on the legal advice I have received so far it appears
that ICBC is misrepresenting the law in an attempt to shift some of the
responsibility away from the driver. This would result in a reduced
payout to the injured on behalf of their clients (read more about the accident here). We thankfully did not experience any such breaches of the rule of law in Mexico, contrary to the common belief that police corruption and bribery is widespread.