Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Raging and racing.

This is from Santo Tomas.
South of Ensenada, Mexico.
A region where they grow grapes and make wines.
Reason to buy a splendid bottle of red wine made of Tempranillo grapes for dear friends Beverly and John to meet in the USA tomorrow.

Starting today’s travel was rather spectacular.
It was found out that to return to the Baja Peninsular Highway the Chapala Dry lake could be crossed.
It was like the Bonneville Salt Flats.
A surface made for record speeds.
This is what the Fuso Szulc timidly tested.
However, driving on a dry lake bed means creating a dust cloud which climbs high into the sky.
An impressive view was offered in the large mirror of the Fuso Szulc.
A dust cloud of gigantic proportions.
Even when back on the asphalt road and looking back at the Chapala Dry Lake a huge dust cloud could be seen hanging above the dry surface.
It was then remembered what a peaceful and harmonious evening and night had been spent at Chapala Dry Lake.
It was a perfect situation of silence and beauty.
Even the cactuses there were blooming.

But soon another version of a spectacular journey was offered.
At the first sharp corner of the road a serious accident.
Two pick up trucks.
They had collided and were off the road.
Both cars seriously damaged.
One man laying not far from his car unable to get on his feet.
Trying but incapicated.
Two large trucks had stopped and were taking care of the horrible situation.
Good luck if one gets seriously injured near Chapala Dry Lake far away from a town with adequate medical service.
It was still early in the morning and to see this situation made feel sick.
It is all wonderful to travel in Baja California and it is beautiful and unique but this road kills too many people.

Each fervent and loyal blog reader is handed a whip now and allowed to punish their obedient writer for what he next did at the “Puesto de Control” named Rosario.
Another “Puesto de Control’: the sixth after leaving La Paz.
This soldier called Alvarez asking for a “Revision”.
A boy, this Alvarez, not much more than 22 years old in his faded battle dress.
He didn’t instigate “airport rage”.
But “Puesto de Control”-rage.
He was told with a loud and agitated voice: you are the sixth “Puesto de Control” since La Paz and what do you, soldier Alvarez, expect to find in this expedition vehicle?
Soldier Alvarez didn’t know what to say.
He was asked again: what are you expecting to find anyway?
Alvarez obediently replied: “Drogas”.
Logically the next question was: but don’t you think that your army colleagues would have found it at the former five “Puestos de Control” if it was in this vehicle?
Soldier Alavarez nevertheless insisted he wanted to do the so much hated “Revision”.
Getting out of the truck, lowering the steps and opening the door and letting him in.
Seeing him being in total surprise of the interior of the Fuso Szulc, lifting up the mattress 5 centimetres (2 inches) and not insisting opening cabinets because of the travel locks.
A total farce these inspections.
A time consuming joke.
A senseless infringement of privacy.

But suddenly somebody was beating on the floor of the Fuso Szulc making a serious noise.
“Where are you from”, the commander of soldier Alvarez was asking with undeniable authority.
He had been called in because of the Fuso Szulc ‘s driver’s flak Alvarez had been getting.
“Why were you shouting at Alvarez?”

Do we want trouble with the Mexican Army maybe ?
Getting them on the wrong boot?
So they can teach this nomad a Mexican military lesson?
Keeping him at the Puesto de Control for awhile?
Getting deep into his expedition vehicle damaging his baby pretending to look for the cocaine ?

Psychology, learned over the years, decided not to get involved with Alvarez’s superior.
To avoid taking the annoyance to a higher level where the consequences might be punishing.
Consequently there was a safe escape from the “Puesto de Control de Rosario” but not with a very good feeling.
Frustration had been dumped on an innocent soldier called Alvarez.
For the next 27 miles (43 kilometres) feelings of guilt were experienced.
And it was decided that in the future every Puesto de Control will be met with a neutral response.



Roland Pesch said...

I've personally felt much better about the Mexican Army, and more willing to tolerate their silly checkpoints, ever since a bunch of
Mexican soldiers happily and efficiently towed our camper-van out of some loose sand that we stupidly drove into at Ligüí Beach. (It *looked* like a campsite--!)

Incidentally, I am inclined to blame the U.S. "war on drugs" silliness for these checkpoints. The U.S. places a lot of pressure on neighboring countries to intercept drug supply. Funny that our country, which is such an advocate for capitalism world wide, should fail to accept a fundamental principle of capitalism--the law of supply and demand! Demand reduction would be much more effective, as well as less intrusive into our neighbors' affairs.

Joe said...

Not much different from the checkpoints here in America. First they were for drunk drivers, now they can be for child seats, licnese, registration or any other damn thing. And the SCOTUS allows all of it. Shameful.

mike said...

were are the photos of the salt flat crossing ........... they could have been wonderful. A missed chance for a photogapher of your merit. Did you not offer roads side assistance at the scene of the tragedy?