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Old 01-01-2009   #31
DurangoSteve's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,907
Chip - your Mexico travel advice is absolutely sound, and certainly applies to "developing" countries in general. As budget travelers, my wife and I tend to stay in really modest hotels, ride cheap buses and trains, and generally try to stay very low key in appearance and conduct. Like you said, "don't look like you're worth robbing." Leave the fancy watches and jewelry at home, keep limited currency in your wallet. Usually, I have one of those passport-wallet thingies that hangs from a lanyard under my shirt, with cash in a zipper pants pocket for most transactions. I also like to carry a "fake" wallet with an expired driver license and a $20 bill on top... backed with a bunch of singles. Never been robbed abroad, but the idea is they thieves take the wallet, think there's lots of dough, and they let you go.

You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you. - Heraclitus of Ephesus
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Old 01-02-2009   #32
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,239
no rolex... check

dummy wallet ... check

porn stash to distract officials.... heard that one before.

two stories

My buddy's bonehead brother went over to England and was using a phony accent,his mom is English but he grew up here, and acting like a big shot at a pub .He was bragging how he owned a pub in Denver ,his family owned part of a restaraunt/bar that he had little to do with.The long and the short of it is ,he got rolled in the bathroom and earned the nickname 'fish n' chips Rick 'for the rest of his life.

I once took off a money belt and put it my pocket because it was uncomfortable,then fell asleep on a train .When I woke up it was gone,spent a couple days dealing with police reports getting new passport,plane tickets,travelers checks,eurail pass,etc. sucked .Since I am always rippin' corporations ,I' ll give credit where it is due ,American Express did me justice.They replaced my checks and even cashed some since they knew I had no id.Just make sure to keep the vouchers separate.I guess travelers checks are becoming somewhat obsolete due to bank cards.Moral of the story; you make bad decisions when you are tired.

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Old 01-06-2009   #33
rivermanryan's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 580
I'm Back

I am back from Mexico. Great trip, great country!

Sorry to leave some of you hanging, but I didn't have internet access until I got back. There are internet cafes, but I didn't bother.

We stayed at Adventura Huasteca and it was fine. No hot water or AC, but the room was decent and cheap. Nice people work there. Made me feel at home with all of the boats and rafts in the courtyard.

Crossed at Pharr and it went smooth. Reynosa is kind of a dumpy town compared to other Mexican towns. Next time, I think I might try Matamoros. The highway has been improved and there is a bridge with a loop around town. The highways to Valles are fine, but a later found out that I was driving too slow. I followed the speed limits and everyone else went up to double what they say.

All the rivers down there are beautiful. The micos are sweet and don't seem too damaged from flooding. I would have never known there was flooding if I hadn't heard about it. The road from Valles to Mexico City is amazing. I really liked the village of Xilitla. No tourist at all and a beautiful village hanging off the edge of steep jungle mountainsides.

Went downtown Mexico City, saw the Pyramids and did some work at a church and a homeless shelter. If you think our shelters are bad in this country, try to see one in Mexico City. The kids got a new prospective on what poverty is. Took the Olympic Highway back home - much faster than the Pan-American Highway - we were going 90 mph and were passed often.

One important lesson: never cross at Nuevo Laredo during the Holiday Season. It took us 11 hours to cross at the Columbia bridge. First we went into town at 11am, returned our permit and saw the line was like 5 miles long, so we decided to take Hwy 2 to another crossing, but found ourselves in a traffic jam blocking the highway, so we decided to wait it out and cross there. At 11pm we finally got into the U.S.

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