We’ve been back-and-forth to Mérida for over six years now, and I still have yet to take the wheel of a car anywhere in Mexico. City driving has never fazed me, but my reluctance to drive in Yucatán has been documented. [Read more…]
The Google maps have been updated, it seems. Although I’ve never really contemplated doing it, just for kicks I’ve sometimes asked Google for driving directions from Connecticut to Mérida. It never could complete the task. This morning, however, was able to generate a route.
Enticingly, it tells me that if I start now, I could be there in two days and nine hours. Assuming I never stop, of course. Who needs sleep when El Centro awaits?
So, let’s review the directions. First, I take a left out of the driveway…
Bla, bla, bla, I take I-95 to New York City. (It occurs to me that if I were still a New Yorker, I’d shave an hour off the trip.) I cross the George Washington Bridge to the New Jersey Turnpike, and at the Newark International Airport (where a sensible person would park and board a plane) I enter I-78, driving west into Pennsylvania. About 126 miles later, I merge into I-81 South, driving 500 miles through through Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia, then entering Tennessee. Then I drive [Read more…]
Spring is beautiful in our little corner of the northeast this year, and normally Paul and I would be planning a weekend road trip or two. From where we live, we are blessed with wonderful daytrip destinations in all directions: The Jersey shore, the Connecticut shoreline, the Hudson Valley, Litchfield County and the Berkshires are all places we love and can drive to in a hour or two.
But this year, we’re not. One reason is gas prices. When it takes $60 dollars to fill my tank, I think twice before I drain it. Joy rides feel especially self-indulgent.
Perhaps another reason is that we’ve been together almost 20 years, and we’ve done these trips over and over. We love the unchanging nature of these places, but the other side of the coin is that … they’re so unchanging. We’ve seen them and we’re ready for something new.
And that dovetails with our plans to move to Mérida. Now that we have future plans that require substantial [Read more…]
Mind you, I’m still living NOB, and will be for some time. Am I jumping the gun a bit? Maybe, but I’m starting to get curious about driving directions, that’s all. When I want kale, I’ll want to know if I make a left or a right on Calle 47. Be prepared, that’s my motto. One day I might want kale, and I’ll need to know my options.
I learned about the kale, and the fact that kale access is an issue, on one of those Facebook groups. I’m learning lots of small details like this. By the time I actually get to Mérida fulltime, maybe kale will be available at the Costco or Walmart, but I’m not taking any chances. I love greens, and I’m vowing to renew my focus on health and nutrition once I’m residing in Casa Nana. Greens aren’t a particularly central part of the local diet, I’m to understand. I’m not even sure you can order chaya at Chaya Maya.
I’m still overloading my virtual map with virtual pushpins. Restaurants and grocery stores are my focus lately. There’s a new spot in Col. Mexico that serves mussels. My Facebook friends seem to like it. How do I get there? Do I take a cab? Is Bruno Bistro taking reservations for 2014?
I’m fearless when it comes to driving in New York. I get annoyed when people “block the box,” and pedestrians will push their luck at crosswalks, but in general Manhattan’s grid is easy to deal with, especially if you’re going uptown or downtown. (It’s crosstown that’s tougher, for some reason.)
I’m used to driving in heavy, chaotic traffic. I drive I-95 all the time, and have no issues taking my car into Manhattan or Boston. (Boston is worse!) It’s not so difficult fighting traffic NOB. Just lean on your horn and keep your middle finger limber.
But I have issues with driving in foreign countries, even if they’re neighboring countries. It’s irrational, I know, and pretty lame.
I took my car to Montreal once, which shouldn’t have been a big deal. Just a ride up the New York Thruway and through the customs booths. But I was caught off guard to see signs had no English, and even with arrows and proper nouns, they were confusing. A sign warning me of a work zone appeared to me to be telling it to keep going ahead for parking. I assumed they would provide both the French and the English, the way we do at home with Spanish/English. But non. I ended up turning into a bike path, which did not amuse the Quebecois.
Driving in Mérida is so stressful that even one of our most uplifting bloggers one day delivered a rare rant over her morning commute to the yoga studio. Maybe if I just avoid driving during a full moon? Since Mexico’s inclination toward polite manners appears to dissolve behind the wheel, would flipping the bird be an acceptable and effective maneuver?
We all drive on the same side of the road, the red/green/yellow signals are the same, and the Stop signs look familiar enough. But as a passenger, I’ve seen enough. One real estate agent drove us up the Paseo de Montejo, north toward “Boston Pizza” (an unlikely combination of words it seems to me) and TGI Fridays, the Land Rover dealership, etc. I felt like we had driven straight into outer Phoenix. But at intersections and merges, our experienced driver was occasionally doing battle with determined, me-first drivers.
Looking for a house in which to nest, I crave a walkable neighborhood, but I know I’ll also be craving a Starbucks coffee then and again as well. And that will mean driving north past the TGI Fridays and the Land Rover dealer.