March 09, 2010
While talking to the Morgans in San Jose, Costa Rica, Gary asked me what was the weirdest thing I saw on my trip; All I could think of at the time were the sex motels, which were everywhere I had been. The fact that the Centro Americans and Mexicans were so furtive about flings with their floozies (yeehaw) actually demonstrates how strait laced the Latins are. But I saw plenty of other weird things as well, so Morgans if you are paying attention, here is some more.
The meat market in Chilpancigo was a shock. This was all taking place in a temporary stall open air farmers market type set up. It all looked pretty sanitary, notwithstanding it was all out in the open. The weird thing about this was that Norte Americanos are used to getting their carne (meat) in sterile little packages that essentially cover up the fact that we are eating dismembered animals. No longer any doubt about that if you visit Chilpancigo!
Moto taxis are all over the southern part of Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua. If you have ever seen an movie about India you will have seen these little buggies, which come to Mexico from India. The company that makes these ones is Bajaj, (apparently Vespa in Italy was the first to come up with them).
Then there was the Pelota court in the ancient Indian town of Teohuacan which has been excavated and reconstructed. This town had a population of 3,000 people, and just like a Canadian town of 3,000 will have their hockey rink, this ball court was where they played their national sport against rival towns. Now according to my guide and various web sites, the winning team or members of the winning team were sacrificed to the gods by having their hearts ripped out after the game, as opposed to say, getting a big old stone vase filled with tequila.
This would definitely be in contrast to the Maple Leafs or the Oilers, who rip the hearts out of their fans.
I have to put on my skeptic hat when I hear these legends, who would be dumb enough to wake up early, go to practice, take the kids to practice, play this game to the best of your ability, knowing what the reward is for winning? If true, the games would have been way more pathetic than ever a Leaf's game as each team tries to throw the game. These stories get better for the telling I am sure, I wonder what the effect would be on our national sport if we added a little human sacrifice into the rules? And no, I am not talking about the draft picks either, lets offer some of those millions of dollars a year boys, I am sure that Don Cherry would be happy to officiate as high priest.
I have already mentioned how impressed I was by the way the Mexicans steal power to use for the street vendor stalls.
I encountered this combination electric water heater shower head in one of my hotels in Guatemala.
It actually worked! there is only one water line (cold) you can set the switch in one of three positions. Note the carefully taped up wires. I am thinking this is not likely to be CSA approved, but a cool idea, sure saves on plumbing pipe and fixtures.
Then there is the stuff I was not able to capture in photos, a two ox-power bennet buggy (wagon made from car parts), the guys riding horses down the middle of main streets all over Central America, the central american ladies carrying their shopping on their heads, the wild manuevering of the bus drivers as they swerve all over the highway to load and unload passengers; this can be very entertaining unless they are doing it beside or in front of your moto.
Finally I come to the Latin American nights. Night falls quickly, and as soon as it does the noise begins. Somehow everything seems louder when it is black as pitch outside, which it invariably is. My problem is, coming from Canada, I associate the warmth I feel here with daylight that lasts till midnight. Here it is dark by 6 or 7 depending on which side of the time zone you are on. When night falls, the boom boxes are turned up, the buses and taxis blow their horns more, what sounds like a million car alarm sirens are actually the sound the trucks use for their reversing warning in contrast to Canadian trucks inoccuous little 'wheep, wheep, wheep'. Street vendors whistle at everybody constantly, as do the taxis, and the 'conductors' or ticket takers on the buses. It is quite cacaphonius. It may look like Toronto, Miami, or Chicago, but when the sun goes down you know you are in Latin America.
My final picture is less weird and more synchrononous (as in icity), this is a store front sheet metal shop, with all the right stuff, right on main street Tuxtepec.