Bandit Roads

Trip Start Jul 17, 2014
Trip End Aug 06, 2014

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Flag of Mexico  , Baja California,
Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The thought properly crossed my mind to visit Mexico in around 2009, I think. I was headed to cross America, through the South, without my family for the first time. I remember mentioning it to my father – those of you who knew his daily work will know just how informed about the state of the world he was. The response I got was a flat out NO. No, Mija. Anywhere. Absolutely anywhere. Except for Mexico.

It seemed odd to me – surely there were worlds of places more dangerous than Mexico. And yet he tried everything to deter me. Stories of gangs boarding civilian buses and ordering everyone off – shooting them all dead. Of piles of heads found on the outskirts of Acapulco. Ordinary people. Dead. In touristy, 'safe' places. Dead. Death everywhere. Death all the time. Dead. Deader. Deadest.

It worked on me – I didn’t tie Mexico into that trip – but I remember bringing it up again a few years later when I went to cross the States again. The Northern part this time. No. Not Mexico.

It was then dad bought me a copy of "Bandit Roads: Into the lawless heart of Mexico" (American title "God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre", which I kinda like better...) by Richard Grant. Richard Grant is a British freelance travel writer and this particular book is the true story of a time he tried to hike the Sierra Madre. And almost died. A bajillion times. A good read, and a harrowing tale, but I feel that’s kinda what you get for wanting to hike the Sierra Madre. I just wanted to go to Cabo. And I can’t help feel a little guilty, sitting here now, because dad isn’t here to say no.

But I’m far from the Bandit Roads of Grant’s experience. In fact, I’m acutely aware of the fact we are not in a terribly ‘Mexican’ part of Mexico. We’re in ‘little America’, really. The prices are high, the food is dumbed down, the prices are in USD as well as pesos. Rather than exploring, the main activities here are boating, stand up paddle boarding, jetskiing and drinking.

But the little tastes of Mexico I do get, make me want more. I want to go more places, see more things. All of the things. Maybe that’s what dad was afraid of, deep down. He knew me better than anyone. He’d have known I’d be this way. That it’d light a fire in me to wander farther and wider.

I love the people, I love the attitude to life, I love the food. Oh, the food. If I had to live off any food for the rest of my life it’d be Mexican. The only bad meal we had was the night we gave our stomachs a break from the spice we have been able to find and sought out some Western food.

Right now I’m in savoury breakfast heaven. No need for paninis. We eat so much at breakfast we have only had room for lunch on one of the days we’ve been here. It makes me sad. Because I’d happily shovel more and more of this stuff into my gob while I can. I want all of the Mexican things and I want them in my mouth. Now.

But I’m afraid I don’t have terribly interesting things to recount to you from this part of my trip, friends. Being in tourist mecca. And it being so hot. And because I've taken this time, surprisingly, to detox a little.

We’ve really just taken these five days to recover from life. Relax. Slow down. Wade slowly through the heat of the day from the ocean to town. From the pool deck to the dinner table. Have no schedule. Rest in each shady patch. Smile at strangers. Find the perfect sipping tequila.

And I’ve needed the break. Apart from the fact I’m still coughing like a maniac (I now sound like a sea lion) I feel great. Peaceful. Like I know myself again. Like I LIKE myself again. Know better what I deserve. And I’m ready to face the things that have been bothering me at home with my head screwed on properly this time.

I went to the place that wound my dad up. Found it the perfect place to unwind. And now feel my head is wound on the right way. Go unwind that one.

Love always,

Your B. xx
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