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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Falang, Dec 6, 2013.
not a lot of change in over 30 years.
When I returned to Mexico and went much farther a few years later on the same bike we didn't camp so we carried much less stuff: everything for two people fitted inside the two Krauser panniers and the English tankbag, nothing was tied on the back. Unless I am camping, I travel the same way today.
amazing work with google earth vs 1981
Great write-up Falang! Brings back many old memories.
When I went back up to BC this last summer, I met a few folks from this site. I didn't see Phil this time as he had moved, have you been in touch with him? I sent him a card but got nothing in return.
The border guard at Juarez was very friendly:
So awesome seeing "vintage" reports. Film still has a magic that digital can't capture.
I love the border guard; looks like he belongs on the bike—or in a commercial.
Exceptional report! Amazing to see how things were before I was even born I envy you having experienced the times before we have become dependent on cell phones and the internet.
Very cool comparison pictures!
You're right, the guard could fit right in that commercial! I feel a bit guilty when I look at that photo. He posed for me because he wanted me to mail him a copy of the photo when I got home. Pre-digital, color photos were more special than they are now. He wrote his address on a slip of paper and put it in my passport, but I lost the paper and never sent him the photo. 33 years of guilt. So if anyone will be passing through Juarez immigration northbound and wants to try passing on the photo, please PM me your email address and I'll email you the full-resolution scan for printing. This guy must be 70 by now and must have retired but perhaps the existing officers would recognize him.
Sorry, Pokie, the last time I was in touch with Phil was 2008. I don't know his new address.
Travel will never be the same as before cellphones, internet, GPS, and Streetview. "The Death of Distance" was published back in 1997. It is so much easier, safer and predictable to travel now--and that's a good thing of course--but most of the exotic mystery is gone. You know exactly what to expect and exactly where before you get there, and while you are there your friends back home know exactly where you are. No waiting for you to return after a month of disappearance and for you to take your films to the lab for developing so that you can bore them with your slide projector and regale them with stories of situations and places totally foreign to their experience. Hanoi has more public WiFi than the USA now; you can Skype for free with your smartphone while you walk most downtown streets.
Except out in the bush of course, and that's what the dual-purpose bikes are for.
Thanks for posting this up. It's really very cool to see the "now" vs "then" comparison shots.
Thanks its a very nice raport !!
I was able to find a few more locations of old photos. Here they are:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o>
Microondas Los Angeles (a microwave relay station in the Baja) in 1981:<o></o>
And in 2013 - still there. You can drive across the Baja on Google Streetview now. <o></o>
University of Guadalajara, with the 1970s-era cars parked in front:<o></o>
And in 2013. Today it's just the same of course, except that the parking lot has been given over to pedestrians. <o></o>
Guanajuato Av. Juarez, with the Mercado Hidalgo in the background (which is how I was able to figure out where this picture was taken):<o></o>
And in 2013:<o></o>
It looks run down today and it looked so charming before. All the old businesses are gone, including the tortilla factory where I shot the lady tortilla maker.
Absolutely awesome. Thanks for taking the time to share your photos.
Right on man! I just finished up a Mexico trip and miss it already! Thanks for sharing!
To those of you that haven't done a Mexico trip yet-worry not as for old times are gone as plenty of Mexico is still very much rural in nature. Sure, they'll be standing there along the road, waiting for the bus with a cell phone in the boonies but much is still unchanged! In Chiapas you'll see guys sawing boards with big chain saws. Coffee spread to dry on lots where taxi's park at night or in rural areas spread in their yard on tarps. People carp about the Cuota as a road choice there(like it's the USA slab I-road-which it can be at times) but truth be known some of the newer ones cut through some unchanged rural areas. Almost nowhere has the influence of modern technology not reached but the simple fact of poverty keeps much of Mexico "looking like" it is unchanged-when it actually has. The further you get from fly-in tourism & large Mexican cities the more you can expect it to look like "old Mexico". Some places transform in an hour-such as Mahahaul in southern area of Caribbean coast. When the cruise ships are in the place transforms to suck up ship board $$$ , then just as quickly , ship leaves, money leaves and all is fairly tranquil until next bunch of gringos comes along. Not far away you can get beyond the reach of the shipped in stuff and relax!
Small local tortilla factories are common in neighborhoods & rural shopping towns all over Mexico. No doubt many have been replaced by supermercados-many of which have the tortilla machinery in the bakery.
Come and visit MEXICO!!!!
Great trip! Many thanks!
Thanks so much for taking the time to post up this ride report. It brings back such great memories. There is nothing better than the sound of an airhead motor humming across the Mexican desert.
Thirty years goes by in a flash. Back in the previous century I had those same Krauser bags. I knew it was time to head north in Guatemala when the right bag popped open going over a speed bump. I wondered why all the locals were waving their hands wildly and yelling as I rode by. I thought it was because they thought I was a celebrity until I looked in my rearview mirror many miles later and saw the lid flapping in the breeze. Lost my spare parts and feeler gauges along with some crackers and underwear. Yikes! Had to adjust my valves with a folded peso note on the way home. I think it was a folded peso note for intake and three thicknesses for exhaust.
Great stuff amigo. I give this report 5 stars. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you down the road in SEA some day.
At the beginning of the 1980s, the peso began its horrible crash after several years of relative stability:
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If you used the one peso note to shim your exhaust valves, you may have noticed an interesting effect. The peso-folding joke circulating along with the fast-depreciating currency in the early 1980s was something like:
First the government takes our peso:
Then the (expletive deleted) politicians cut its value in half:
And they cut it in half again:
And again! So today this is all we have left:
Thanks for a fantastic report! That was an amazing look back in time.
It's less charming but much safer now. Even Medjet covers Mexico now. Mexican safety then is about like Cambodian safety is today. Rules were very relaxed. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o>
When I returned to Mexico on the bike in 1984 I went scuba diving in Akumal, on the mainland near Cancun. My girlfriend and I hadn't completed our Naui training back in Vancouver yet, so we didn't have diving certificates and told the resort's dive shop that. He took us diving anyway! I was young and naive and didn't fully appreciate the risks we were taking. Money talked. <o></o>
When we were down nearly 100 feet on our first tropical dive, my girlfriend saw a Queen Conch and pointed to it. The divemaster attached it to a recovery balloon and sent it up to the surface where the dive boat collected it. The dive shop removed the animal for dinner and cleaned up the giant shell for us as a souvenir. They did this all the time for all their customers, they said. Not only was there no diver safety, there was no concern for conservation and preservation for future divers to enjoy. I schlepped a beautiful, heavy, fishy-smelling Strombus Gigas shell on the back of the bike back to Vancouver via Guatemala and Belize. In 1992 that species was listed in Schedule II of the CITES "Convention On International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora" and I would be breaking the law to carry it out of the country without a permit, let alone across six international borders.