The Tail End of Mexico (July 2, 2010)

After our great trip to the tequila region of Mexico, we headed for the pacific coast for the final legs of the drive towards Guatemala. A stop for lunch in Acapulco was enough to convince us that we weren't missing anything in Acapulco (except maybe the cliff divers that we didn't get a chance to see before we hightailed it away from the mess).

Then we spent a great couple of nights along the southern, pacific coast of Mexico in small beach towns. The town of Playa Ventura certainly provided the most adventure; we hadn't been listening to the news so we didn't know about the approaching hurricane. The resulting rains succeeded in flooding our hotel room, causing the power to go out, and creating a leak that landed next to Jed's face for half the night. Oh, that isn't mentioning the earthquake that also happened that night....

However, the oddest aftermath of the hurricane was that while driving the next day we suddenly began to pick up Louisiana radio stations on the car radio. And this isn't just one station being rebroadcast locally, every single frequency had a Louisiana radio station that would fade in and out. The only explanations that we could come up with were that there was some weird electrical pattern in the atmosphere or something related to aliens- probably a 50-50 shot of each.

Aside from Louisiana radio stations, the only other excitement was an anti-government protest and roadblock. Well, that makes it sound a little more exciting than it was, here was the conversation (in Spanish) we had with a random Mexican man when we pulled up and saw the traffic backed-up behind the roadblock:

Jed: What's going on here?
Mexican Man: They are blocking the road
Jed: Why are they blocking the road?
Mexican Man: Who knows? Something about a protest against the government.
Jed: When will it be over?
Mexican Man: I have no idea; where are you trying to go, Puerto Escondido?
Jed: Yes, Puerto Escondido, is this the only road there?
Mexican Man: Yes, this is the only road to Puerto Escondido. At least you're stuck on the side of the blockade nearest town, why don't you go have some lunch?
Jed: Good idea.

So we went and had lunch, returned to the blockade, waited 25 minutes until the protesters went back home, and continued on our way.

Our next night in the town of Augustinillo was less eventful and more beautiful:

Our last hurrah in Mexico was a day spent with the Mexican Army; well not literally all day but most of it. By way of explanation, those of you that have been following Mexican current affairs know that over the past several years there has been a rising tide of narco-trafficking related violence and that one of the federal government's strategies to combat this trafficking has been to dispatch the Army internally.

There has been a considerable amount of controversy, and some backlash, to this move as the Army's mission, and therefore training, is not traditional domestic law enforcement. During our drive through Mexico, we saw many of these Army checkpoints. We were stopped a couple of times, but nothing compared to our last day driving through Mexico when we were stopped and searched 3 times within 3 hours. While, of course, there was nothing to find in our car, it still gave vivid insight into this controversial policy. And gave one particular officer a chance to ask for a bottle of tequila "para la raza" (we turned him down). After that crossing the border into Guatemala was fairly easy and we were through in under an hour.

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