Some of you have read my posts and browsed my pictures of Mexico and more specifically the town of Melaque, where we we have over-wintered for the last half dozen years. It’s a quaint and mostly quiet little town in the state of Jalisco, nestled in a bay on the Pacific Ocean.
Sure, there is some noise, as in every other Mexican town, like roosters with messed up internal alarm clocks and barking dogs…the kind of things we’ve come to expect and eventually surrender to. Even the buses have been kind of modernized, with actual mufflers that work well enough you don’t have to shout at each other while dining on an outdoor patio.
Traffic can get congested at times, especially in the busy center of town, where locals and gringos alike, dump their vehicles just about anywhere on the street. Parking enforcement personnel are as common here as polar bears. But everyone zig-zags and dodges the clogged arteries, crawling at speeds barely above neutral, making for safe-crossing at unmarked intersections.
I’ve learned how to drive like one of the locals, forgetting turn signals, parking on the wrong side of the road, and even occasionally driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Signs might help unaware motorists like me but it’s more challenging having to reverse for a whole block, with nowhere to pull over.
But I’ve learned to negotiate streets with no names, unmarked speed bumps that tear at the car’s undercarriage, and even boulevards where you have to stay right to turn left. Speed and no passing signs seem to be posted for decoration only, unless you’re unlucky like me, getting pulled over in the same speed trap by the same two cops near the US border, two years in a row.
But the one thing I can’t stand here is the crazy young motorcyclists who weave in and out of traffic, passing you on the right or left, doing wheelies over speed bumps, riding up to five passengers at a time-with no helmets, and at night with no running lights whatsoever. They blatantly run red lights and blow through intersections with no regard for other vehicles or pedestrians.
And as luck would have it, mine finally ran out the other day when a motorcyclist crashed into my car. I was barely moving when I started to make my turn into a parking spot. No other traffic was near me at the time but a racing bike came up from behind me and tried to pass on the right while I was turning right, into a parking spot. Realizing he’d never get between me and the curb, he swerved left and slammed into my right rear fender. I was actually stopped at the time.
My car was damaged by the front tire of the bike and the passenger who’s knee also struck my car. But apparently neither the bike or either of the riders was damaged enough to stop and check on me or my car. They were gone from sight before I could get out of my vehicle. I considered going after them, for a moment, but realized it would be a waste of time. Any foreigner who’s been here knows how that would go.
And so I suck it up, consider that it could have been worse, and go back to enjoying the small town atmosphere. Being a bike rider myself, and victim of other errant drivers, I feel I’ve earned the right to bitch about the menaces of Melaque – the ignorant, aggressive, impatient, and crazy motorcyclists who just don’t give a fuck.