“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”–Bilbo Baggins
I’m an East coast girl and thus driving through major headache areas like D.C., Phili or NYC are old hat. However, nothing in my experience ever prepared me for driving in México.
Take, for instance, this last trip to San Miguel de Allende for my residency papers. (See Getting Legal-Trip 1)
We started out in the morning with a full tank of gas in the truck just in case. Gasolinera (gas stations) are not always where you think they should be. Residents in smaller towns sometimes have to go quite a distance to get gas. It’s not uncommon to send a representative to the gasolinera for several families. Various types of plastic containers are often reused as gas receptacles. I admit, one of our garafones (water jugs) has been converted to a gas container and we keep a second plastic jug (I believe it had windshield wiper fluid in it once upon a time) with a bit a gas behind the seat, just in case.
There have been occasions when we have run out of gas. (See Failing at your own business–Fruit truck) There is nothing to be done but hitch a ride to the nearest gas station and fill some sort of gas receptacle and hitch a ride back. No need to mention that this makes the trip much longer than anticipated.
Then we waited until it was nearly light to begin the trip. Driving at night is not advisable. Very few roads are lit. Cattle, horses, goats and other livestock may be tethered right next to the road for night feedings. This provides a sort of roadside maintenance as well. Bicyclists and walkers are nearly invisible as they head to work.
In the early morning, chickens, dogs and children may run wild across the road in desperate haste to get to the other side. There are puentes de peatones (pedestrian crosswalks) along high traffic areas, however, the shortest distance between two points is often not over the pedestrian bridge. So it is important to watch for those taking a “short cut” across the highway.