Shit happens

5 December, Tepic, Nayarit to Morelia, Michoacan

In case you’re wondering, yes, I am now in Mexico and am still working on the blog entries for the last few days’ driving, which will be a lot more informative and interesting, I hope. I just had to get this off today. I am half-way to Cancun where I am supposed to meet Marilyn today (Sunday). But I obviously won’t make it as I still have 1300 kms to go.

On Saturday, I woke up wit a queasy stomach. Went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast, where I had fruit and oatmeal. The fruit was kind of boring and rather flavourless: watermelon, cantaloupe, banana, mango, pineapple and a few maraschino cherries. The oatmeal was mostly milk, rather than the solid Scottish porridge I was hoping for. The queasy stomach turned into a full blown “turista”. I stopped at a pharmacy, got some Imodium and also took some antibiotics the doctor gave me in Vancouver. I also finally took the cholera/diarrhoea vaccine I was given in Vancouver.

Suffice it to say that I welcomed the toll booths with their toilets, despite the outrageous Mexican tolls. People have complained about my too graphic previous descriptions so I will stop here and not describe the varied quality and cleanliness of autopista toilets.

The turista gradually abated, and I survived the day on water, Gatorade (on sale, boy that stuff is gross) to replenish the electrolytes, and one orange. Should be good for my diet.

I got stuck in traffic for an hour in Guadalajara (Mexico’s 2nd largest city). Why can’t I go around any city without getting stuck? Kept going and decided I would try to make it to Toluca south of Mexico city. After a while, I pass a gas station look at my gauge and see about one-quarter tank left. I figure I better gas up at the next station on the autopista. I drive 7 drive, but no more gas stations, when up to that point there was one every 50 to 100 kms at every toll booth. At the next toll booth, I ask where is the next gas station, the toll attendant tells me 54 kilometres. Looking at my gauge, I figure that I should be able to make it, but just in case I will drive slow. I get to the next toll booth, and the attendant tells me the gas station is closed and the next one is 24 kilometres. I start to get worried and my worries are justified after another 15 kilometres. So I call the number of the roadside assistance on the map I got from Sanborn, the insurance company, but it turns out that it is the wrong insurance company and a different company underwrote my policy. I finally call the right insurance company, and after some discussion, since my policy does not cover roadside assistance, they send a tow truck for which I have pay $1,800 pesos.

As I get out of the truck, a whole bunch of paper goes flying out on the highway. It takes me a minutes to realize it’s all my money that went flying out of my pocket. I panic, but then I decide to get the flashlight and recover what I can. But it is windy. I do manage to find about 3,000 pesos in the grassy median.

A few hours later, around 9:00PM, the tow truck shows up, they siphon 40 litres of gas into my truck and I pay them $1,800 (that’s pesos, not dollars, divide by 12 to get dollars), $1,500 for the service and $800 for the gas.

The tow truck follows me into Morelia, and I stop at the first gas station. I put in $400 worth of gas as I don’t have much cash and notice an HSBC ATM, which only lets me withdraw $1,000 as I had taken out $3,000 in Tepic that morning.

I waver between getting a hotel and sleeping in the camper, but the accessibility of a toilet makes the hotel win. I get to the Quality Inn (which is wrong in the GPS, it has the address for the Holiday Inn). My credit card won’t work for some reason after numerous tries of putting in my PIN, so I pay cash instead. That’s when I realize I don’t have my bank card. I head back to the gas station (20kms each way), ask but nobody has seen the card. I call the Bank of Montreal to cancel the card, go back to the hotel and get to bed around 1:00AM.

Luckily, knowing myself, I have travellers’ cheques, so I can hopefully get some cash today.

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One Response to “Shit happens”

  1. Giuliano Says:

    Ciao Luigi
    Le email che ti mando, non riesci a riceverle perchè il tuo antispamming le blocca.
    Mandami un numero di cellulare che ti chiamo
    Ciao

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