05.07.2009 – 09.07.2009
Mexico City 1: Into the Heart of the Beast
I've made the journey into Mexico City by bus and plane many times, but this was only my second time via motorcycle. And, the first time by motorcycle ariving from the North.
I'd never noticed how lush and picturesque the landscape is all the way up until the moment you encounter the first signs of concrete. In the past, I was likely asleep on a bus or simply not paying attention. On a motorcycle you’re forced to pay attention to every little detail. You might expect a gradual corruption of the landscape as you enter the city. In practice, it's much more dramatic and the evidence that you’re entering the belly of the Mexican beast comes on rather suddenly.
While listening to Dark Side of the Moon, I noticed several semi trucks pulled off the highway on the shoulder. Just as I was passing a sexy, sweaty woman in pumps slid down and out of one of the truck cabs. She was pulling her bunched up mini skirt down and adjusting her giant faux Paris Hilton sunglasses as she hobbled through the gravel toward a white car with the hood up and flashers on. I noticed there were two other similarly dressed “ladies” standing by a large Mexican man in a dirty tight shirt with a big ol’ twisted Mexican mustache.
Got the gist of what was going on, and wondered how one might get "serviced" if one’s transportation didn’t come equipped with a handy private cab space? Like a motorcycle for example. Not that I’d personally ever be in the market for such services, just curious.
They do seem to sell just about everything you can imagine along Mexican highways. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they also sell lovin’ as roadside services. Some savvy entrepreneur with a big ol’ RV rigged up with loads of rentable bed space and a CB radio could make some decent coin if they set it up right. Maybe they could somehow utilize social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to let prospective clients know when and where along the highway the “Love Wagon” will be open for business?
It seemed somehow appropriate that the Pink Floyd tune that was playing in my headphones during this whole scene was that one where the gal is wailing non-stop for several minutes. So surreal. So raw. So Mexico!
For some reason, I felt really good. There weather was perfect, the bike was purring along, and I just knew my entrance into the beast they call D.F. was just going to go peachy.
I was wrong.
Note to self, the absolute worst day of the week to enter by motorcycle is Saturday. Add to that, the Saturday before election day! I'd miscalculated that because I was riding in mid-afternoon that everyone who was going there to vote would already be there.
Knew it was going to be a challenge when the traffic slowed to about 5 mph with the signs still saying at least another 15 miles or so to go before even reaching the edge of D.F. At least I had tine to think about where the heck I was going to get off the freeway. Too bad I had to breath all that brown air and exhaust. Another note to self: next time I ride into D.F. on a motorcycle, bring a surgical face mask.
Less than 2 hours from San Juan del Rio to D.F. and then another 2 hrs plus to dig into the heart of the beast, the Zocalo.
The following day I’d say the roads were 75% cleared. Another note to self, next time I ride a motorcycle into D.F., do whatever it takes to make that entry or exit take place on a Sunday morning. At least I didn’t get pulled over this time by fake Mexican cops like I did the first time. Nor, was it raining… which was nice.