June 16, 2007

Driving the highways and the crashways of Mexico

CABO CORRIENTES, Jalisco, Mexico - The day we left La Manzanilla for our return trip to Puerto Vallarta the rain clouds gathered over the mountains and the humidity soared - along with the temperature.

But until we got fairly close to Puerto Vallarta, not too much rain fell, though it was enough that we saw more than a few small accidents and two big ones to which I wager the rain contributed some.

One accident, fairly close to PV, was a truck rollover, a small Nissan not unlike the one I have in my driveway in Sacramento. We came by moments after the mishap and the young men seemed to have survived ok - if a little bit dazed by the experience.

Roadside wreck
Rollover near Puerto Vallarta

But about a half-hour earlier, we had one of those highway moments.

We had been driving near a town called Chamela when a large propane truck (Soni-Gas) passed us on a curve, doing about 70 - as in 70 miles per hour, not kilometers per hour.

It was terrifying because we knew that if an oncoming car or truck had come at him, he would have simply started moving over, which would have put our Pepsi Can, er, I mean Nissan Platina, right into the ditch.

But sometimes karma is more obvious that other times, like in the photo below.

Soni-Gas rollover
Soni-Gas truck on its side - the karma of a speeder?

Yup...the same truck that went careening past us, apparently took a curve just a little too fast for the wet roads and rolled over onto its side. The driver was standing out chatting with a passerby when we zoomed around the corner, and no one seemed too concerned.

That lack of concern is hard to read in Mexico, because the nation seems to be largely unconcerned about a lot of things (one of its charms). I like to believe they were unconcerned because the tanker was empty and not full of volatile gas.

At least I hope so.

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