07 October 2009


Many times I remind myself of that Frenchman who moved to Great Britain and decided to write about it. The story goes roughly like this:

The Frenchman moved to Great Britain. He found it interesting. After a month there seeing many sites and experiencing many things, he felt he had a good knowledge and understanding of Great Britain. He decided to write a book for his countrymen explaining Great Britain to them. He started on that project.

Six months later after having written a few pages, the Frenchman decided that he needed to do some additional research about Great Britain in order to write his book.

Five years later he decided that he did not know anything at all about Great Britain and abandoned the book project.

México is a very complicated country.

But what the hell. Let us drive on.

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Whew! Did anyone click on the weather icon over there on the right for San Miguel weather yesterday? It reached 89° F. here. (Almost 32° C.) Along with an oppressive 25% relative humidity. I feared that my ultrapasteurized milk would curdle even under the camper behind the wheel. It did not.

My consistent information has been that the rainy season here occurs in August and September. August was uncharacteristically dry this summer. There was some considerable rain in September. However, when 1 October came, it was as if someone threw a switch. The weather has been perfect since then.

That black pickup has an advantage in the Iowa winters that I did not anticipate when I bought it. The sun warms it up more readily. The color can be a bit of a drawback in México, however.

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I will get back to the concrete and the plumbing very soon along with the larger meaning of all that. Suffice it to say for the time being that if there is a Building Code around here—and I highly, highly doubt that—then that Building Code consists of one sentence that says, “In México it is perfectly okay to bury the plumbing in concrete.” Therefore, mr. anchovy, the builder that buried that plumbing in concrete actually did not have to leave town. They just went on to the next job down the street to bury some more plumbing in concrete. I am serious, and I will explain further.

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Speaking of the former mayor and his chauffeur. . . .

This gives me an opportunity to reminisce as all old people love to do. Back in '71 I was driving on the autobahn in Germany somewhere between Mannheim and Munich. I looooooooooved driving on the autobahn as it was back then. When there was a wreck on the autobahn, it did not simply result in a few cars parked along the side of the road with dented fenders. The automobiles involved had disintegrated. The little, bitty pieces of automobile were spread over two or three square kilometers.

But anyway, I was headed to some town shy of Munich in the wee hours of the morning. I had taken off in the dark, but the sun had then risen. I was going to pick up a brand spanking new Fiat 124 Sport Coupe that I had ordered. There were very few cars on the road, and I was cruising along at the usual 85 or 90 miles per hour. I was passed by an automobile that I did not see approaching from the rear. It was an adrenaline rush.

I know that we have all had many experiences on the Interstate when we were passed by someone and said, “Wow! That guy is really going fast!” This experience was in a different dimension than that. At that time I was interested in high performance European automobiles. They were parked all over the place in Germany, and one had the opportunity to stop and admire them. I do not give a damn about motor vehicles anymore other than I like owning one that runs.

The vehicle that passed me was a red Maserati. It was only a quick look, but they were distinctive then. Ferraris and Maseratis, for example, were similar only in that both were low to the ground. The general shape and line were much different.

The sensation of that was as if instead of going 85 or 90, I had been parked in the middle of the right lane. The concussion as that car went by me was incredible. In the 38 years since I had never again experienced that sensation until. . . .

It happened to me twice on México 57 on the long, long drive south through the desert. Not quite as intense, but very close. In the first case I was sure it was a Mercedes because I saw him coming in the mirror. I am not so sure about the second one. It might have been a high end BMW, but in any event they were both tricked out European automobiles in the upper price range. They were both white. Granted, I myself was not going 85 or 90, but I am telling you. It was almost that exact sensation that I had experienced with the Maserati in Germany all over again. Twice.

Now you will recall that I had just been stopped in Reynoso for the equivalent of going 45 in a 35 and paid the traffic policemen a bribe of $200.00 American for the opportunity to stay on the road. Moreover, in my experience up to the point I am speaking about, the other drivers were pretty much obeying the speed laws or at least approximately.

Now I learn from word on the street that the big time narcotrafficantes love to ride down the road in their chauffeur driven automobiles with their bodyguards at ultra high speed. In fact the word is that if their ass is in the back seat and the automobile is moving forward, then that automobile is ipso facto moving forward at Warp III speed. Apparently, they back up real fast, too.

So of course my lively imagination now wants those two Mercedes on México 57 to have been hauling big time narcotrafficantes.

Now you might say, “But Señor Steve, you have assured us that the drug driven violence is pretty much occurring only in the border states like Chihuahua.”

That I have. That is where the narcotrafficantes' soldiers are. The jefes, the chiefs, are sure as hell not there. Those are the only places where we are sure they are not. Other than that, who knows where they are?

Here is the point of my story. I feel for Mexican traffic policemen now. Put yourself in a Mexican traffic cop's position in the following situation with his 9 m.m. pistol on his hip and his shotgun in the trunk. He is confronted with a GMC pickup truck with U.S. plates headed south and going 10 m.p.h. over the limit. Inside that pickup truck is undoubtedly some goof who does not know what he is doing and who would readily pay a bribe of $200.00 American to get out of a ticket.

At the same time that Mexican traffic cop is confronted with a white Mercedes worth over $100,000 American going 150 m.p.h. That white Mercedes is probably hauling a narcotrafficante jefe in the back seat along with his bodyguards armed with automatic assault rifles, Uzis, and bazookas and shit.

Which vehicle are you going to pull over?

Assuming you yourself have enough vehicle to catch up to the Mercedes, which I admit is a big assumption. Although, the federales here, and some of the policía, drive some pretty serious vehicles themselves, and they love to drive them fast.

Anyway, it is an interesting hypothetical question concerning law enforcement ethics for me.


Candy Minx said...

I would avoid people with fancy expensive cars in Mexico.


Plumbing isn't the only thing buried in concrete around there....

Señor Steve said...

God, you made me laugh, Candy!

I do not refer to the narcotrafficantes very much here at all. It would just feed the stereotypical view of the place from which México is suffering enough already. That is, it would if I did and a lot of people actually read this stuff--two things that are not going to happen.

Come to think of it, though, please do not give the URL for this blog to anybody in México.