Hi friends. Here is a link to a site that has published a story about me, my friend, Lupita, at Lupita News.com
Please visit her site. She has lots of interesting things. Perhaps I will do some more writing there in the future.
The picture above is my beloved Tapijulapa, photographed from above. I need to downsize my photos, so I will only have this one today.
For those who want, here is the story I wrote for Lupita News.
Three Things About Mexico That I Like
I have been here in Tapijulapa for almost two months. I drove here, 2400 miles, from Spartanburg, South Carolina.
I will speak of personal experiences I have had with the people here, because this is what stands out in my mind. The first thing I will mention is the kind and professional police and border control people. From the beginning, at the border, the agents were tolerant of me. My Spanish is abysmal, and the agents’ English was not perfect. The first thing I did was to pull into the wrong lane. This required me to do a circuit of the large building, so I could pull around to where they could deal with me and my car.
The car looked strange, what with all my worldly belongings piled up inside, and the frame of my motor scooter strapped down to the trunk lid. And, of course, since I planned to stay a while, I had to go inside and get a FMM, the 180 day pass. Plus I had to pay $260 for a permit for the car (you get $200 of that that back next renewal). The Scooter, I told them, was a moped, requiring no tag. But immediately I was struck by the fact that everyone was smiling at me, a little. It was just enough to let me know that they were on my side. They wanted me to get on through and have a good time in Mexico. It was a small thing, but it meant the world to me, being so nervous, and having come so far already.
And there were police check points periodically, along the way. And I was pulled over a couple of times for being a gringo with a crazy looking tag. But invariably, the policeman reached out his hand, and smiled, especially when they heard my attempt at Spanish, “Buenos tardy, Senior, yo soy de Estados Unidos” And they immediately understood that I was an upright and good fellow, not someone to be concerned about. So that is one aspect.
Also, incidentally, I heard from almost everybody, when I mentioned Mexico, “Be careful! Isn’t it dangerous?” And I´m sure there are places to avoid in Mexico, as there is in every country. But there is a list, on the State Department site of these. You avoid those places, and there is no problem. I’ll tell you, from my couple of months here, I feel certain that I am just as safe, if not safer, than I was in my little South Carolina town.
To enumerate another favorite aspect of Mexico, or, my experience with Mexico, I have actually established at least five friendships, a good rapport with a number of people here. The owner of the hotel, Paulo, who speaks some limited English, he is a real friend. Also his brother, Eric, is a friend. I could call either one of them up, and say, “Hey, I am in Teapa (20 miles away), and have a flat tire on my scooter. Come and help me.” I have no doubt that they would come, or send someone to help me. Their father is a pharmacist, and he has advised me on my medicines, a big deal for someone like me who takes a number of pills every day. Also, he has checked my blood-pressure a few times. He is so friendly, never accepting any money.
Which is a good segue into my next favorite thing about this great country. As I said, I must take numerous medications. For one of these meds, I need a monthly blood test. So I looked up a doctor’s office in Tacotalpa. Paulo called them for me. I have pestered this man with numerous such requests. He never acts put-out.
He discovered that this was actually a little hospital, with numerous doctors. I needed no appointment, just come in. So I did, and though there was no one there who spoke a word of English, patiently listened to my sorry, limited Española, and figured out what I needed. They were happy to oblige me, and spent a long time with me, drawing blood. Then after an hour or so, they gave me the result. This came with advice about my dosage (it needed changing). Everyone was so nice to me. There was no impatience or irritation. Then when I was ready to go, I said, “Oh, but I must pay!” They said, “No, we don’t take money here.” I was so overwhelmed, I hugged the doctor, and shook everybody’s hands. They had even given me free medicine!
I would urge everyone who feels an urge to do so, to come to Mexico. There are no worries about your safety, if you are half-way intelligent, enough to take common-sense precautions. Now, I must warn that driving can be a challenge, for someone from the States. For that reason, even though I drove here, I don’t recommend it for others.