Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mexican Biker Gangs

Sunday night Ibis and I headed to the plaza to join the town in its weekly celebration of... well, I'm not really sure what exactly they celebrate, but there's food and entertainment and people of all ages. Good, wholesome, small-town fun.

They have tacos and tamales, ice cream and slushies (raspados), popcorn and fried plantains, and of course ears of corn served with cheese, cream and salsa. Yum. I've tried all of it, but these days I try to restrain myself and only have one or two items.

Lately I bypass all that and get a gelato from a nearby store, but that night I had a slushy (lime flavored with three different salsas). We sat on a low wall to listen to the singer -- dressed in a traditional Mexican costume -- performing in the center of the basketball court and watch the teenagers as they cruised the "strip." (I use that term loosely as the plaza is in the center of the pedestrian plaza.)

Anyway, on to the biker thing. If you've ever traveled to Mexico you may have noticed that a lot of people get around on mopeds. Only they don't call them mopeds -- instead they're motos -- and they don't follow US moped rules. While the police are cracking down on helmet usage, they don't seem to do anything about how many people are allowed to ride on one.

The most I've ever seen was a family of five. We lived with Ibis' family for our first couple months in Mexico, and one particular family drove by nearly every day. Dad, mom, daughter, son, and infant wedged against mom's breasts. For months I tried to get a picture, but since we kept the camera in our room, I was never fast enough.

Another amusing thing about the motos is most of them have stereos. That they play loudly. When it rains a small percentage of the year, I guess it makes sense to trick out your bike. And since a lot more people walk here than back home, you could even say they're even providing a service to the pedestrians.

But back to Sunday night. As Ibis and I wove through the cobblestone streets on the way to our car, we heard really loud noise on the street ahead. Just as we approached the corner we saw not one, not two, but THREE motos turning the corner, all blasting their music IN UNISON! (They were most likely playing the one radio station we have here, but STILL! In unison!)

Each moto was driven by a teenage boy, with another teenage boy chillin' on the back. (Please forgive my use of the word chillin', but they so were.) Traffic was barely moving so we had the pleasure of walking alongside them as they rolled their way down Avenida Nicholas Bravo, kickin' it Mexico style.

It could be dangerous asking this question, but what's the strangest thing you've seen in Mexico? Or if you've never been here, what's the strangest thing you've seen on vacation? Or heck, what's the strangest thing going on where you live?

20 comments:

Benjamin Solah said...

That sounds so cool.

The strangest thing is my family... lol, jokes.

Penguin said...

Ahhhh, I have been to Indonesia and Malaysia, I have seen some really bizarre stuff.
Oh, and I now live on the west side of GR, that makes most of the stuff I have seen in third world countries look tame.

Melanie Avila said...

Benjamin, I busted out laughing in the middle of the sidewalk.

Melanie Avila said...

Penguin, I'm sure you saw your share of weirdness in Asia, but GR? Reall? I don't buy it. :P

JLC said...

In Mexico - Donkeys painted to look like zebras. (I've only been there a couple of times)

Here - Come on! Its the Pacific Northwest! Just walk around downtown. Soon you too will be singing the Doors song "People are Strange.." Just the other day I saw a young woman dancing with her iguana.

I would love to see a pic of five people riding a moped. :D

Natasha Fondren said...

Wow! Five? I would love to see that picture!

Okay, see, I got the lime slushie part, but it's the three salsas that are tripping me up. Are these fruit salsas?

(Drawing a complete blank on your question at the moment, LOL...)

Robin said...

OMG - I'm so with Spy. I keep thinking about the lime slushie with salsa. Do you dip your spoon in the salsa, or do they mix it in? Is it spicy salsa? I think it sounds yummy.

The strangest foods I ever had saw were in North Carolina - fried pickles and fried cheesecake. Not yummy. Just gross.

Nadine said...

It's funny what the police crack down on. They are doing a big "click it or ticket" campaign here, but apparently don't care how many people ride in the back of a pickup truck.

The strangest thing I've seen on vacation was in Paris where hundreds of cows were below the Eiffel Tower. This was during the mad cow disease, and the French farmers were protesting and showing that their cows were okay.

Melanie Avila said...

JLC, did you tell me about the donkeys before? That sounds familiar, and still just as funny.

Jes gave me a link for a picture of five people on a moped -- I"ll have to see if it's ok to share.

Melanie Avila said...

Natasha, the salsas are similar to a spicy buffalo sauce or tabasco (but thicker than tobasco). One has a slightly sweet flavor, and one is actually a spicy salt -- I should have taken a picture.

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, I've always heard about all the fried foods down south, but haven't come across many. Did you try any of that?

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, that sounds so cool! How many cows? Did you take a picture? Were they all mooing?

There still aren't rules about riding in the back of trucks here and I'm sometimes amazed at how many they fit in. Cuts down on expenses I suppose...

Natasha Fondren said...

Uh, what do you mean? You have sweet lime slushie with tabasco sauce on top? Mixed in? On the side? Um, that works? It tastes good?

Now I want to see and try! Well, I definitely want to see, and maybe I'll try. :-)

Melanie Avila said...

It's all mixed in. They put salsa on everything here (just sauce, no veggies or anything) including fruit and chips. You get used to it.

Maybe I'll get it again next week and take pictures. :)

Nadine said...

There were hundreds of cows. It was an odd thing to encounter when we were just going to see the tower.

I do have pictures somewhere. I'll see if I can find them and scan them on my trip home.

Melanie Avila said...

I'm sure!!

Pink Ink said...

Wow, that sounds like the Philippines so much, that street commotion. I miss that!

Fiesta!!

Allen said...

Robin, Melanie, come on. Fried Twinkies with chocolates sauce!!!
Fried pickles with salsa
Fried bananas with fried ice cream on top.

It just don't get any better than that.
(Ok, so I'm from Virginia. We have to have country ham also. And sweet tea.)

Melanie Avila said...

Pink, it's funny. I've seen pictures from a lot of different foreign countries and these same things seem to be common all over. Maybe it's just the US that's weird...

Melanie Avila said...

Allen, we eat fried bananas here, and I've had them with fried ice cream.

I miss sweat tea SO MUCH!!