So many have warned us of the woes and the hardships of RVing in Mexico but as newbies in this world, nothing has stopped us so far.On November 21 we bravely left the comforts of St. David Resort and the warmth of new-found friends in St. David, Arizona to spend the first month of our winter in Mexico.When we were nearing the border, however, following some of the advice, I hurriedly removed most of mine and Bill’s jewelry, save for our wedding bands. Bill thought I was being affected by the horror stories as he had never had a problem in Mexico and felt safer than in many parts of the US.
Once we were back in the saddle, I sat back and soon I was struck by what I saw on the way to Mazatlan, Mexico where we were to meet my children and grandchildren for my birthday, thanksgiving, and a family reunion (we had not had a complete gathering since 7 years ago). First, the Mexican countryside, just like the Canadian and American, is beautifully vast (something I could not say about the Philippines.).
Fifth, one of the reasons can be the onerous toll fees exacted regularly, frequently, and without fail. Up to Culiacan we had spent about $40 in fees at about 6 toll booths in about 600 miles (practically doubling our daily camping fee of $20 a night. So we took the Mazatlan Libre (free) route instead of the Mazatlan Cuota (toll) route the next day. We found it slower (with only 2 lanes), more pot-holes (yes, we wondered where the toll fees went), but definitely more scenic.
But the reasons why there are no RVers may be 1) the economy, 2) the continuing swine flu scare, or 3) the perception of lack of safety due to drug crimes and other security issues. Whatever the reasons are, it is sad that the beauty of Mexico as a country and the warmth of its people are largely undiscovered, relatively unexplored, and quite underappreciated.Let me recount some of the reasons we loved our first winter in Mexico with Star and Vino.
First, the people are wonderful. We were filling up at a Pemex gas stations (all owned by the government; one price) in Culiacan when 2 brothers in a car noticed my helpless look. They so graciously led us to our campground, a good 10 minutes away. Earlier, while we were trying to park at Ley, a grocery chain, a driver got out of his car to remove the carts that were in our way. Throughout the highways I felt like a celebrity because people constantly waved at us.
I have talked about the beauty of the Mexican countryside. Next let me talk about the weather. When we left St. David, it would be 75 degrees in the day and turn 35 degrees at night. By nightfall I would be looking for my sweater. By 12 noon I would be walking in my bathing suit to the pool. Here days are in the eighties and nights are in the seventies. I went to the palapa near the beach for karaoke night and ended dancing the night away in a strappy tank top.
As we headed to the front for pictures of the façade, we were pleasantly surprised that a lively Mexican fiesta was going on at the town plaza. A celebration of the 49th anniversary of an association of the religious of the parish was going on. Authentic Mexican dances and songs, complete with colorful sombreros and boleros, were on stage and a giant Christmas tree of Coke bottles filled with glistening yellow, white, green, and red liquid was at the back of the plaza.
Despite these wonderful experiences, there were 3 that horrified us.One, the Metro was so jampacked during rush hours that we ended up taking a dangerous (!) taxi ride through the city to our bus station. Two, Bill lost his cell phone at pone of the many seas of humanity. Three, Bill caught pneumonia and was rendered quite ill for about 10 days. As they warned, If you have a respiratory problem, do not go to Mexico City. Bill always had sinus problems.