Continuing his story from yesterday’s post, my dad Hal is sharing his story of traveling through Central America on the Pan American Highway, 1963. Enjoy the fourth episode in his journey:
Now, I had asked different people who had experience traveling in Mexico and Central America a lot of questions. All, without exception, said it was easy, that there was only one road that went straight through Central America. I thought I could probably stay on the “straight and narrow road.” (As it turned out, it was mostly narrow but not straight by any means). I just drove straight through Reynosa on that one road, but it ended up in a pasture, so I came back to what I thought was the center of town. At that time Reynosa had a population of about twenty thousand (though now it has over a million). So I took another straight road. I went all the way across the town, stopping at all the stop signs, and the road suddenly ended outside of town. I turned my Suburban and trailer around, went back into town, and tried another straight road. I thought surely this one would take me to the other side of Reynosa. I finally began to stop and ask anyone who would talk to me how to drive out of town.
One person who spoke English finally asked me where I wanted to go. I said “Mexico” because I thought that was what you were supposed to say if you were going to Mexico City.
He said indignantly, “This is Mexico.”
So I said, “Mexico City.”
“Oh, yes,” he said, “I can help you. Go down the street for about ten minutes and take a right.” I quizzed him about exactly where he meant until I was pretty sure I understood and started driving through Reynosa again. Hey, it worked! I finally came to the place where he said to turn, and in about ten minutes I could see I was leaving Reynosa. That was so exciting!
About the middle of the day, when I drove over a hill, I saw about forty goats that looked as if they wanted to cross the road. One was right at the edge of the highway, close enough to hit my bumper if I hadn’t stopped. The goat walked in front of my vehicle, stopped, and looked both ways, then walked on across. By that time there was another goat in the road. I waited impatiently for all forty goats to cross the highway one by one. Eventually, I would learn how to dodge or outwit animals in the road. Suddenly I wondered, “At this rate, how am I ever going to get to Mexico City?”
Continue reading: Traveling in Mexico