Life saving tips for riding to/through Mixico?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by BigT, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. BigT

    BigT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 21, 2005
    Oddometer:
    991
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, California.
    Does anyone have any useful (or life saving) tips for riding to/through Mexico on a motorcycle?
    Things like:
    What sort of ID to carry (passport, CDL, birth cert.)
    What to bring
    What not to bring (ie. guns or drugs):D
    How to pack
    Gear to bring
    What kind of money (ie. credit cards, cash, travelers checks etc) to bring and how much
    What to expect (that's a biggie)
    How to react when you find yourself surrounded by masked men with machine-guns.:lol3
    Which food/water is safe to consume and which isn't:puke1
    Useful, life saving Spanish phrases.:D
    Where to park your bike at night
    The best/worst places to stay (Inns, towns, cities)
    Where to find replacement MC parts you didn't bring with you
    The best technique for greasing the palms of corrupt government officials and bandits.:rolleyes
    Please let me know if I left anything out.

    -T:ear
    #1
  2. swjohnsey

    swjohnsey Banned

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    Passport is easiest and soon to be required.

    I eat and drink just about everything. I treat water that I not sure about (like out of the faucet at remote Pemex stations) with a little bleach. The stuff that isn't cooked (like stuff made from fresh fruit) might give you problems.

    Don't ride at night.

    Stay away from places that cater to Americans if you want to go cheap.

    All the gas sold in Mexico is sold by Pemex. I don't think they take credit cards.

    Cheap places mostly don't take credit cards.
    #2
  3. advjackass

    advjackass orange crusher

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    no guns or drugs
    #3
  4. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in Supporter

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    where in mexico are you headed and when?

    then the tips will come...

    and first thing needed to bring is a good attitude...leave the fears spoon fed to you by the media at home (as with all travels):thumb
    #4
  5. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    There's also barrel gas sold by locals in small villages, or wherever it's needed and there isn't a Pemex station. This is usualy Pemex gas, but can also be race fuel (leaded) in Baja.

    Paying for things with pesos will usually save you the heartbreak of psoriasis and a crappy exchange rate. The kiss-hug-hug-kiss stores (OXXO) and other national chains can be an exception.

    Pemex's can break large peso bills.

    Know what change you're suppose to receive when buying anything.

    Cuota roads (toll roads) are for rich boys wearing clothes with somebody else's name on them, and those people who need to make time. Not all, but most cuota roads offer less scenery than their poor little brothers, the libre roads.

    Topes like to hang out in the shade, and like deer, they usually run in packs.

    As you drop in latitude, the sun's position in the sky may not be what you're used to back home.

    Donde esta _____ ? Where is ______ ?
    That's my most used phrase, other than una mas cerveza.

    If you're ever stopped by a cop, it can sometimes be best if you are an ignorant but respectful non-spanish speaking white boy.

    The best directions come from cops, military (driver or jefe), taxis and truck drivers. Even then, you should ask again later on.

    Moto riders in Mexico like to help you.

    Speed limit signs are there to block the wind, or to offer suggestions if your V-twin is only firing on one.

    Bottled water is sold most everywhere and it will be cheaper at small tiendas in small towns, like most everything.

    If you arrive late in a town, you will pay more for a hotel room. Not because the prices changed, but because you are tired and don't want to check others. But regardless, ask if a lower rate is possible.

    If you ride at night, it's an indication that you were dropped on your head as a child.

    What's around the next curve is the same as what comes in the bottom of Cracker Jacks boxes.

    Don't let it bother you if other vehicles don't use turn signals in American fashion or have no brake lights. It's really a game - get used to it.

    A tire planted upright beside the road means the's a llantera (tire shop) nearby, or that there's a truck below the tire and there was a sand storm.

    If small kids are trying to peel stickers off your bike, remember that it was you who rode into their town, and that's their birthright. Just give them something else to do.

    Moto riders view highway construction zones, with or without orange cones, as passing zones. Nine out of ten times, you will out run that D8.

    Glorieta (traffic circle) actually means where gladiators play. Have fun.

    Zocalo is the town/city square where cool people hang out, like you.

    When asking how many kilometros away something is and you're told 2 hours, automatically figure between 1 and 4 hours. That should be close.

    Smiling is a habit, and good one to have.

    When being chased by dogs, either stop, veer towards them, kick at them, or ride like Hell. The correct decision changes by location...and mood.

    Even though most of the youngish ladies wear very formfitting clothing doesn't mean that they want to call you Daddy.

    Normally, to refiuse a gift - other than an open, blood-stained knife in a dark alley- is considered rude. Be gracious and smart, and give something back. What might seem meaningless and of little value to you, could be appreciated. The gesture and intent...

    The TV cable service is usually called Sky, and the soap operas with very nice and hot hotties are very popular. When trying to purchase something in a tienda, you may need to use the word "Hola" to get their attention away from the screen.

    If you feel like you've been inconvenienced, you're probably just in a hurry. Grab neutral for a few...

    You're usually paying a deposit when buying 'real' bottles of beer to-go that can be redeemed after you're finished with them. If you don't return them, please tell me where you've hidden them so that I can.

    Machetes are cool, and there are different designs.

    Many of the people in native-dress have ancestors and history older than the country where your reside. They don't listen to rap music or care about your designer whatever crap...

    Goooooooooooooaaaaaaaaalllllllllll..................

    Have a great trip.
    #5
  6. bongodave

    bongodave Fixing Stupid

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    I have nothing to add, but I'm listening!:ear
    #6
  7. Mr Natural

    Mr Natural Really tired

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    #7
  8. Dirt Vader

    Dirt Vader 44444444444444444

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    Paying for things with pesos will usually save you the heartbreak of psoriasis and a crappy exchange rate. The hug-kiss-hug-kiss stores (XOXO) and other national chains can be an exception.

    oxxo, its best if you go with someone who's done it before, preferably a mexican.
    #8
  9. Dirt Vader

    Dirt Vader 44444444444444444

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    stay away from cities stay away from cops, soldiers can be trusted.
    #9
  10. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Many of their stores are now publicly posting an exchange rate.

    Hey, I mixed up an X and O...thanks. :D
    #10
  11. swjohnsey

    swjohnsey Banned

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    Oh, and if you come upon some rocks in the road expect a broken down vehicle ahead.
    #11
  12. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in Supporter

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    I hear the Tom Waits tune in your head LR...step right up!
    "Christ, you don't know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy " - Tom Waits:thumb


    all good points, with flare:thumb

    PS: don't eat the yellow snow
    #12
  13. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Don't cross at San Ysidro/Tijuana any time near dark on the off chance you might be delayed and end up there after dark. Bad things have been happening there as of late.

    Pretty much any border town (US or Mexico) is a pit. Don't stay there. Plan your trip so you're well away from the border by night.

    If you're going to mainland Mexico, dollars are pretty much useless away from the border. Dollars work well in Baja but you'll get an exchange rate of 10 to 1 dollars/pesos vs. 11.? to 1 from a bank/cash exchange place. Along paved highways, there are lots of banks with ATM machines where you can get pesos at the official exchange rate. In BF egypt, carry lots of cash.

    I carry a throw down wallet with an expired DL and credit cards, with +/- $50.00. I use that for my daily transactions. I carry the real deal in a hidden pocket with a larger stash of cash that I use to replenish the throw down wallet when in a discrete location. I've never been robbed but everyone seems to carry one and it seems like a good idea. At the least, divide your cash up between a couple/few locations.

    Avoid 500 peso notes as it's always a wrestling match trying to get change from smaller transactions.
    #13
  14. beechum1

    beechum1 Dandole Gas al Burro

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    lone rider seems to have it locked up.

    all that and don't let the media stuff scare you. it's all manufactured or news stories like that are held onto until it serves a purpose.

    (hijack) like the lead in chinese toys story.(/hijack)


    just be carefull, be confident, don't look weak, drive like you know where you're going, drive like the locals. be confident, be confident, be confident. your fears about these robbery stories are real, but the stories are just the same as any in your local area. they'll happen regardless.
    #14
  15. strsout

    strsout Banned Camp

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    #15
  16. motobrett

    motobrett Dazed and Confused!

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    Great suggestions all. Might I add a few?

    - Take along some stickers, pencils and hard candies in your tank bag. Great for showing your appreciation to the soldiers at the road blocks and the kids in towns

    - Be cognizant that you're a guest in a great country with wonderful people. And remember that you're a representative of the motorcycling community. When you're hanging out doing your thing kindly respect both roles :D .

    - Chill, have a very flexible schedule, eat the local food, stay away from the tourist spots, go find local festivals and celebrations, don't buy a time share, enjoy! :clap
    #16
  17. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

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    On you way to the border---be so very careful going thru any U.S. cities---they are full of crack whores, thieves, robbers, druggies, murderers, child molesters---etc. etc. etc. Also lots of nervous people in a big hurry who will run over you just to get to where they are going. I try to go around them if I can.

    Once away from the Mexican border--all is well--and your back to 1953.
    #17
  18. Hootowl

    Hootowl Long timer

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    Please don't hand out candies or toys or "stuff" to kids. You're training them to be beggars. Donate the stuff to schools or give it to the parents to hand out.
    #18
  19. mattmexico

    mattmexico Adventurer

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    yo

    - when turning left on a high trafic road stop on the right, having your turn signal on to the right, let all trafic pass from both directions, when all clear turn left

    - if you want traffic to pass you use your left turn signal

    - if you use your left turn signal and are going to turn left traffic behind you will assume you want them to pass you and they will .. and if you then turn left they will shoot you off your wheel set

    - when talking to law enforcement smile, do not offer bribes as in th elast 5 years a large effort was undertaken by the government to cut bribes and they are in the prosess of winning ht euphill battle

    - when talking to law enforcement take your sunglasses off

    - do not call offiicals amigo, guate, vato, etc. but si senor and senor official

    - federales are in the black and white cop cars, they mostly speak english if you need help

    - avoid Mexico City if you can

    Matt
    #19
  20. Jeff Munn

    Jeff Munn Just along for the ride..

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    I don't agree with this at all. If they're approaching you they are already begging. Giving them money encourages begging. Giving them a small toy or something useful like a pen/pencil brings a little joy to their lives, and it is something they don't have to go home and give to whomever sent them out to beg. Many of them may or may not have "parents", and may or may not actually be going to school.

    It has worked for me all over the world and is an excellent ice-breaker when you arrive in a strange town, or at a border crossing.
    #20