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Old 12-21-2011, 03:15 PM   #5656
dwj - Donnie
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Originally Posted by Flagixxer View Post
If you have Adventure Mexican Insurance (Platinum plan) do you also need Medjet Assist? AMI indicates that they will provide air and land Ambulance coverage? I am a little confused and what is really needed.
I use them, but it is my understanding that they get you to "a hospital", not a US Hospital. On a different point, they do allow you to to change the bike covered once per year if you purchase a 365 day Liability Policy.

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Old 12-22-2011, 06:24 AM   #5657
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Baja pictures are uploading and will be posted here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...4#post17569664
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:07 AM   #5658
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Baja pictures are uploading and will be posted here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...4#post17569664
Thank you! Donnie, for sharing sign me up for the next one
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:42 AM   #5659
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Thank you! Donnie, for sharing sign me up for the next one
I will be going through the mainland in March, headed in the Panama direction.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:36 AM   #5660
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Our Technological Advancement

This might be our first QR code in this thread, who knows.

If it is snowing where you are, here is the solution to your non-riding days:


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Old 12-22-2011, 02:04 PM   #5661
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My night out with the cartel.

Well I've once again successfully navigated the dreaded Mexican border zone between GTo and Tejas. That makes about the 15th uneventful border crossing in the past three years, and having spent part of my day catching up on this thread, and finding some people still concerned about their personal safety here south of the border, I thought I'd share this story which I published online elsewhere of a night I spent with someone who is part of the cartel here in Mexico. As my story says, the night was not without thoughts regarding my personal well-being, but I think the take-away from it was that you at least partly take away from Mexico what you bring to it. In that regard, if some riders here are fearful or wary of what they'll find south of the border, perhaps they'll be better served by riding elsewhere. Then again, for those riders who are open to experiences and adventure, maybe especially when their personal demons may be trending in another direction, the experience of riding in Mexico can rejuvenate your view of mankind, and maybe change your life for the better. Maybe my experience will help someone make the right decision for them, whichever side of the coin the fall on. Kinda long, but here's my story, as I told it in 2009:

The names and details herein have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike.

I've been in Mexico over a month now and I've befriended two businessmen, an economist, two chefs, a university professor and poet, a stucco/plaster trabajero, an electrician, a truck driver, and tonight I met el Cabron. After a scenic, traffic-free ride of 300 km, I arrived at a city which counts itself the center of the Mexican revolution. I check into a hotel in the heart of town, and setting out to explore on foot, eventually stop at a neighborhood taberna for an afternoon cerveza. On the return journey to my hotel, I initiate a one man pub-crawl, and eventually settle into a chair at the end of the bar on my third stop. I am joined shortly by two Mexicanos. The one sitting closest introduces himself as Martine and we begin to talk. At some point he says he is a "cabron" and asks if I know what that means. There are different definitions, so in the end, he elucidates that in his case it means a powerful dude, (to paraphrase). He tells me that he speaks some English, which is an inestimable advantage if one isn't fluent, (which I'm not). He talks of Pancho Villa, a commoner, who killed the son of a wealthy landowner who had tried to rape Pancho's sister. Wanted for the murder, Villa fled, first turning to robbery and eventually to revolution. He was the first General in the Mexican revolution, and became governor of Chihuahua. He lived and was assassinated in the town I'm in right now. Martine professes his undying admiration for Villa, his true cabron, eventually slipping his shirt over his head to show me the central part of his back, which bears a tattoo of a likeness of his hero. Much of the rest of his body displays tatoos of a cruder design. I ask where he learned his English, and he confides he had studied enough to get by while serving 17 years in US federal prisons for killing a man with a gun. He says he didn't need to learn much English as he was part of and protected by his Mexican brotherhood while he did his time. I remark that killing someone with a gun is too easy in the heat of an argument, and he agrees, although I don't think he supports gun control legislation.


As we speak he tells me he doesn't like gringos, but he sees in me, someone he can look in the eye, and not hear bullsh#t, when we talk. He introduces me to his companion, Javi, who in turn professes his allegiance to Martine, his hermano or brother. As we talk, Martine expresses his respect, and identifies himself as the Cabron in this city. He looks me in the eye and pays me the compliment of calling me a cabron, and we exchange the 'secret' handshake common to all streets between Juneau and Central America. Others in the bar come by after witnessing this endorsement, and pay respect to Martine and, (oddly enough), me. I am beginning to believe Martine is in fact a heavy dude in the local scene. He tells me I need not worry about anything while I am in his city, as I have his protection for as long as I am here. I laugh and tell him that I generally don't worry about such things, but thank him for his consideration. Martine initiates a terrorist fist bump as if to endorse my attitude. He asks if I like to smoke pot, which I do on occasion, and tell him so. After we finish our beers, he invites me to join them for a ride, and to smoke some 'mota'. In my year of living dangerously, I accept his offer. I make the decision that a life lived in fear is not an option... today at least. If he is planning on 'rolling' me for the few hundred pesos in my wallet, or kidnapping me for ransom he isn't batting an eye. On some level I trust him and we depart to the parking lot and Javi's truck. On the walk, I am asked bluntly if I am an FBI or DEA agent. When I burst out laughing, while declaring that I'm neither, I think he believes me, but warns nonetheless, that if he finds out otherwise, he will kill me. After satisfying himself that I am who I say I am, he confides that he is the big pot grower in this area of Chihuahua.



Upon our arrival at the truck I am immediately aware of its' advanced state of disrepair, including a severely cracked windshield. My sensors are going up, as this doesn't look like the kind of truck a jefe would be driving around 'his town' in. It's not the kind I'm used to from the steady diet of Hollywood gangsters in their SUVs served up by the American media. Martine jokes about how the 'stupid ones' drive around in Humvees, and he prefers his role of being chauffered around town by Javi in this beater truck. We begin a circuitous route through barrios in this home of the Mexican revolution, and navigate neighborhoods I would never have entered left to my own devices, eventually stopping in the street outside an 'unpretentious' one story building. Javi jumps out of the truck and enters the casita. Martine and I sit in the pick-up and talk. It turns out, we're at the home of one of Martine's local distributors, and Javi soon returns with a sizable bag of their product. There comes a time when you're being driven around a strange city, in a foreign country, in dubious neighborhoods, far from the center of town and your hotel, with an admitted murderer and his sidekick, when you begin to question the reasoning/decisionmaking you employed that has brought you to this point in time... Martine periodically turns to me and asks, "You OK?", as if to reassure me or to test when this gringo will jump from the truck and run for his life. I reply to him each time, looking him in the eye, "Estoy bien. Y tu?", (I'm well. And You?). He invariably replies that 'todo esta bien'.

We stop by a minute market to pick up a six-pack of beer, and as I offer to buy, Martine sends Javi in with me to make sure we pay the non-gringo price. I give the clerks the money and they hand it back, to Javi. I reach for it instead. When the clerks realize Javi and I are together, they begin to fawn over me asking what I'm doing in town, and giving me knowing looks. Javi, quickly intercepts the conversation, shutting down their questions and we exit the store. I interpret the exchange in the store as a further indication that Martine and Javi are who they say they are. Still, there are some wayward synapses of trepidation firing as we drive out of town, leaving the lights of the city far behind.


It's dark now, and we exit the paved road onto a very rough, rocky road leading down to a river, (for those of you who don't live in a desert, you would call it a creek). As we exit the pavement, I think to myself, 'Well, if they're gonna roll me, this is the place it's gonna happen', and calm myself and start to review the various public places we've been seen together, building an imaginary list of witnesses, should my body turn up in an arroyo tomorrow. Still, there's an honesty, and respect that has been shown me this evening, which I've reciprocated. I think we are friends, as Martine has professed, though perhaps not brothers as Javi and Martine are. I'm growing on both of them though. The ease of the conversation and joking as we stand by the darkened stream sets my mind at ease. Just in case, I've got a bottle of beer in my hand should I have to live the 'broken bottle fight' bad dream. At some point Martine seizes my nostrils and kneads them with the thumb and first two fingers of his right hand. A pungent odor immediately penetrates my mucus membranes. Again, the gringo fear button trips, though I don't betray this, and I wonder if he is administering some narcotic that will assure my docility 10 minutes hence. But... he's laughing, and looking me straight in the eye, and I ask him what he's doing. He tells me he's rubbing the resin from his cannabis sticky fingers on my olfactory delivery system. He waxes poetic about the night, the moon, and the river. Water. Here in the Chihuahuan desert, water is the stuff of life magnified a thousand fold.

As we talk, Martine is taking off his shoes and socks. I follow suit. We're soon up to our knees in cool clear, water. I think to myself: if I am to die tonight, I'm enjoying a very special evening as my last rites. I've had an opportunity to face some potent fears, and have traded words and thoughts openly with a strong man, and my fears were stood down each time, as I saw the honesty, intelligence, and humor of the man I was speaking to shining back at me. Martine looks at the moon which is almost full, and talks of the impoverishment of his people, and the wealth of mine. He points to the moon, and states that it is the same moon shining on both the US and Mexico and declares the wealth of his people in all things natural. He says that he, and his Mexican brothers and sisters are wealthy by comparison to those who chase the dollar. I want to relay the story of Alexander the Great entering Corinth and encountering the indigent philosopher, Diogenes of Sinope, but he's on a roll. We are in accordance, here, and I tell him so. He further delares that his people will not always be last economically, to which I agree as well. This fits well with some thoughts I've been formulating regarding the shifting global economy. He scoops water from the stream, and wets my hair, again and again, saying, "Agua! Vida!, Is good!", and declaring his allegiance to a natural life away from the cultural icons foisted by the marketers of television and radio on his people here in his city, his barrio, the home of Revolution. I wet his hair in turn, as we laugh and talk. It dawns on me that I have been baptized in the Chihuahuan waters of life and revolution. Martine delares that I am now his brother as well as his friend. Javi, laughing, says that the two of us are dangerous together. He's probably right. I know we looked each other in the eye tonight, and neither he nor I flinched. We spoke truth to each other, at least as we know it, and heard the other do the same.



We eventually return to town to eat. As the truck enters the arroyo, Martine forces my head out the open window, exhorting me to breath deep; to smell 'la vida', (the life), so pungent an aroma here in the desert, where even a little water concentrates, giving birth to the desert flora. I comply. The smell is radiant until we gain on the large truck in front of us and the acrid smell of exhaust overwhelms the desert perfume of sage. The night is not over, but its' experiential nature feels perfect to me.


I don't know whether my Chihuahuan brother is complicit in what has been referred to as the 'failed state' of Mexico. By omission or commission perhaps we all culpable to some extent. Whether we are part of the demand for drugs from across our southern border, or part of the legal and political infrastructure that has declared war on those drugs, or part of the illegal infrastructure that produces and distributes those drugs, we have all enabled what passes for the status quo hereabouts. The roadside armed details throughout Mexico standing behind rock walls and sandbags are testimony to a failed policy that may be spreading northward. I do know, and say without equivocation, that Martine is an honest man, whether he makes his living by breaking societies laws or not. When he spoke there was no lie in his voice, and when I spoke I returned his honesty in kind. When we looked to each other, I think we both recognized something of ourselves. It's quite odd really. A gringo born to relative privilege and an Indio born to relative hardship. The gringo learns in life that charity costs relatively little, and responds to challenges with verbiage, rarely provoking or being provoked to fight physically, while his Mexican brother responds to his hardship with reaction, physical assault, murder, and endures years of incarceration for his crime. Who can say what he or she would do given the same circumstances?

Perhaps a 'failed state' boils down to the honesty the state's citizens perceive in their politicians' eyes. If the government does not have the trust of the people, if that trust is betrayed for financial gain, or to pander to special interests, the people lose respect and will begin to operate outside the legal confines of citizenship, perhaps eventually co-opting the state. Perhaps an 'alternate state' will be created by honest men who will at least be true to their word, however cruel. Just as Pancho Villa began a revolt against an aristocracy that failed to prosecute their own, the electorate of a democracy can rise to oust an unresponsive political class. It's something for politicians from all countries to take to heart.

The only thing that governed this gringo and the cabron today is the heart, (el corazon), the sun, (el sol), the moon, (la luna), and the river, (el rio), whose waters bind all life, (la vida), on this planet. Who could dream such a thing?



Afterward: I understand that this post is rife with moral as well as intellectual conflict. I tell this tale, which is true, in order to expose some of the ambiguity, (intellectual, emotional, instinctual, prejudicial, and moral), that presents to us the lens through which we navigate our lives. Say what you will of my (mis)adventures, life is a rich tapestry which we all contribute threads to. Together those threads make up the patterns of our lives and ultimately the world we live in. I am happy to have had the pleasure of meeting my brothers Martine and Javi, to have had an opportunity to confront some of my fears, as well as prejudicial stereotypes, and ultimately to have survived, better off, for my effort and decisions, than when this story began. I hope the threads I'm weaving here contribute to the overall pattern and well being of our planet. I do not recommend that anyone reading this take this narrative as a model of behaviour to be followed when traveling either at home or abroad.
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:51 PM   #5662
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Batopilas to Mulege

Great full-on twisties from hwy 16 all the way over to Obregon cut-off...no narcos chasing me. Batopilas was a little tense with gunshots every night (drunk lineros)....was there 3 weeks though.
Ferry from Guaymas to Rosalia leaves Mon Tue Thu Sat at 8pm...need to get ticket in advance if possible...I got befriended by Captain and a berth and free food....Guaymas a little sketchy at night, Police, Federales and Marines everywhere.

Mulege quiet...

...seems pretty safe so far in Mexico.

Will be in Mulege for a couple of week at NOLS...on Coyote beach south of town 10km


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Old 12-22-2011, 02:52 PM   #5663
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^^ just another lucky adventure rider.

EDIT: OK, make that two lucky adventure riders.

But seriously, Miguelito, that's one fine story you shared. Timely, as well. Thanks!
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:55 PM   #5664
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Great full-on twisties from hwy 16 all the way over to Obregon cut-off...no narcos chasing me. Batopilas was a little tense with gunshots every night (drunk lineros)....was there 3 weeks though.
Ferry from Guaymas to Rosalia leaves Mon Tue Thu Sat at 8pm...need to get ticket in advance if possible...I got befriended by Captain and a berth and free food....Guaymas a little sketchy at night, Police, Federales and Marines everywhere.

Mulege quiet...

...seems pretty safe so far in Mexico.

Will be in Mulege for a couple of week at NOLS...on Coyote beach south of town 10km


kingsX
If you drop in at Hotel Serenidad please give us an update. Haven't been there in years. Heard they dropped the weekend pig roast.

Safe travels, amigo.
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Old 12-22-2011, 04:13 PM   #5665
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^^ just another lucky adventure rider.

EDIT: OK, make that two lucky adventure riders.

But seriously, Miguelito, that's one fine story you shared. Timely, as well. Thanks!
Thanks amigo. That was a memorable night in this gringo's life, to say the least. :)
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Old 12-22-2011, 04:46 PM   #5666
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The "Cabron" tale reminds me of the several years I spent as a counselor in a prison. There was never a dull day,never!, as the place was jammed full of some very interesting people. There were some very dull people as well , as in brain dull from various substances. Obviously we didn't get to wade in the creek or tip a cold one...
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Old 12-22-2011, 05:41 PM   #5667
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As a chaplain and a “very white gringo” at a jail that houses detainee’s from all over the world, I have found the most respectful are those from South America and Mexico. They will accept me very quick compared to many of the Asia and European counties. So, I am not surprise at the response many of you are getting from some of the “Bad Guys”. The ones from many of the Africa countries also are easy to get alone with.

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Old 12-22-2011, 05:55 PM   #5668
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for the vintage adv peeps

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Old 12-22-2011, 06:14 PM   #5669
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"El Cabron"

Miguel good insight into a complicated side of Mexican culture.

But I have to say, if that guy is El Cabron then the guy working hard to earn an honest living must be "El Super Chingon"

I've heard a lot of the "it's OK to be a criminal, Pancho Villa was, and he was a hero" philosophy. I think that philosophy is part of a suite of bad philosophical ideas that came out of the Revolution, many of which are screwing up Mexico, more so now than ever. It But that could be the subject of a doctorate thesis.

I don't have a problem with the poor guy growing Mota up in the Sierra, I have also met a few, just as long as they stick to that. I bet Martin and Javi were interesting and exciting to hang with for a while, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere around those guys when the crop fails, the beer money runs out and they need some cash, fast!

Your story was from 2009. It would be interesting to see if these guys are still around. Guys like Martin and Javi don't live very long.

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Old 12-22-2011, 07:30 PM   #5670
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Miguel good insight into a complicated side of Mexican culture.

But I have to say, if that guy is El Cabron then the guy working hard to earn an honest living must be "El Super Chingon"

I've heard a lot of the "it's OK to be a criminal, Pancho Villa was, and he was a hero" philosophy. I think that philosophy is part of a suite of bad philosophical ides that came out of the Revolution, many of which are screwing up Mexico, more so now than ever. It But that could be the subject of a doctorate thesis.

I don't have a problem with the poor guy growing Mota up in the Sierra, I have also met a few, just as long as they stick to that. I bet Martin and Javi were interesting and exciting to hang with for a while, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere around those guys when the crop fails, the beer money runs out and they need some cash, fast!

Your story was from 2009. It would be interesting to see if these guys are still around. Guys like Martin and Javi don't live very long.
Yep.. I made a point of leaving town without trying to hook up with those guys after that night. That meeting was a rare synthesis of personalities, timing, and good fortune for me. I decided it was better not to tempt fate, and left town while I still had a good story to tell. I'm quite happy to leave it at that too, as I've never been back to the bar I met them in, though I've been through the town many times since then.
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