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Fear and loathing, or maybe just fear, while driving in Guadalajara
Nov 6th, 2009 by David

Driving in Mexico can be summed up in the immortal words ‘just do it.’  ‘It’ means doing whatever it takes to get you where you want to be before the other guy gets there – even if he’s not going where you’re going. I mean whatever. cutting in front of other cars, changing lanes on a dime, going the wrong way down one way streets, cutting someone off by making a u-turn around them, making unexpected u-turns in general, backing up into oncoming traffic…  I’ve seen things no sane diver has even dreamed of. It doesn’t help that there are so many one-way roads and so much construction screwing everything up.’just do it’. it’s a demolition derby driver’s dream.

I’ve found that the best way for me to approach driving in G. is to keep my left eye glued to the outside driver-side mirror, my right eye alternating between looking straight ahead and in the rear view mirror, with an occasional glance to the right, just in case a pedestrian decides to jump in front of my car, and to keep my automatic transmission in 1st gear. there’s no use having it in ‘D’, i’m never going to get above 5 mph anyway, and the low gear gives me the instant acceleration i constantly need. i’m going to have to get some new brake pads soon, though.

Throw that darn lady in the GPS out the window!
Nov 6th, 2009 by David

yesterday, we went into Guadalajara to hit up the new Home Depot there for a fireplace screen to keep Mandy the gata (cat) out of the ashes.
THE LADY IN THE GPS DOESNT KNOW A DARN THING ABOUT DRIVING IN GUADALAJARA!

i cant even describe the wild-goose chase she sent us on.  about an hour ending with a half-hour’s drive on a dirt road somewhere. i’d like to show you a photo of the neighborhood she took us through, but stopping to get out of the car and take a picture just didnt seem like such a bright idea. finally, she got us near an intersection that would take us back to Ajijic, and we took it. a three hour trip, and no Home Depot.

last nite, i played with the gps, hoping i could program in better instructions to get us there. i thought i had it down pretty good, and so this morning we took off for Home Depot once more. amazingly, our lady friend turned us down the same dirt road we had travelled the day before – just going the opposite direction! ‘She’s diabolical’ Les exclaimed.

Deciding that we’d go in the opposite direction of whichever way she told us to go, we slowly approached the neighborhood of the Home Depot. But there was construction and we had to take another street to get there. At one intersection, we decided to take a right to see if we could get back to the street the store was on, when we noticed that we were actually in the Home Depot parking lot! How in the world that happened, I’ll never know.

I’ll just briefly say that the store didnt carry any fireplace accessories, and that only one person in the store spoke passable english. however, everyone was delightfully friendly and helpful. While we were in shopping, I paid some men in the parking lot 40 pesos (around $3.50) to wash our car. they did a great job, and would have cleaned the inside too if we hadnt locked it.

But back to our lady inside the GPS. twice she led us around in circles trying to get back to the highway, each much larger than the one before. constantly she asked us to turn down the wrong way on one way streets.  we finally turned her off and just drove as far as we could away from the Home Depot before turning her on again. By this time, Les had located us on the map we had, and had devised a route back to Ajijic. at this point, the smart lady in the Garmin agreed with her.

Traffic
Apr 29th, 2009 by David

David is a brave soul though, after driving in Guadalajara I sincerely question his sanity.  The word chaotic does not even begin to describe the pandemonium that ensues as you venture into the unknown traffic patterns of the city and surrounding environs.  The person in front has the right of way (at least the person who is driving the vehicle has the right of way – pedestrians are another matter all together).  One of my co-workers who spent several summers in Guadalajara made a comment, in passing, “the city is beautiful and you will fall in love with it – just don’t try to cross the street”.  Not only did we not heed her warning, we crossed the street walking – with only one fall on record which we will not address in this narrative and we ventured out driving.  At one point, as David was driving through one of the residential areas and he was actually – believe it or not – beginning to get the hang of driving without boundaries – he dead panned the following comment as we pulled up behind someone who didn’t seem to know where they were going (a familiar happening) “I’m feeling compelled to honk” (honking is something you hear often – not that it does any good).  As I looked at him, he has this wonderful smile on his face and I realized, to my astonishment, he was enjoying this adventure!  Got to love the man!!

 

Les

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