Saturday, September 19, 2009

How Do People Disappear in Mexico?

Here in Mexico road construction (or lack there of) can be a wild dangerous thing to drive up upon on the roadways. There's no miles of orange barrels and cones and cement dividers here to herd traffic away from danger, no flashing signs.

My first experience with construction here was to drive up and see a half 50 gallon barrel with a fire inside and 3 orange cones herding me into oncoming traffic at the bottom of a hill. I drove into the oncoming traffic only to realize that they, coming down the hill, had NO warning that the opposite side of the road was being herded toward them. Much honking and "holy shitting" later I made it through back to my side of the road (at the top of the hill) and went on my way. That's how it works here, half the time you fend for yourself.

If a giant slab of road is gone or being dug up they will put up one small sign a foot from the edge and you had better be paying attention and get over - or you're going in. One small orange cone in the road might mean that an entire bridge is out, you just never know. Over time I've learned to drive many times more aware than I ever thought of in the U.S.

The pictures on my blog today are all in front of my own house. The grate that's bent and falling in over a huge drain has been this way for about 6 months and we just last week got our very own sign. The sign points AWAY from all traffic, but hey at least it's a large object that will keep people from running over the grate. Last weekend the sign got knocked over somehow and had fallen in the drain itself, but Chino and I fished it out and put it back.

:PP When our new neighbors moved in there was no sign and they hadn't got the hole memorized yet and backed into it one morning. Luckily they were driving a huge truck and with some doing they managed to get it out without damage. My little car? Eeeesh, that would be a different story.

What scares me the most about the bad grate isn't cars driving in, but people walking by in the dark or heaven forbid someone walking right into it when it rains and floods here! When the water covers the road here for 2 days at a time there is no way to tell that a giant gaping hole is waiting to swallow someone up. The water drainage is so slow that there's no whirlpool to give warning.

The next picture is up the road from us and shows a little car that didn't see that the manhole there is open and has no cover. Whenever it floods people come along and flip the manhole covers up on their sides in the hole so the water can drain faster. People will drive through the flood waters so at least with the covers on their sides they can see that the holes are uncovered. The problem is that a couple of months ago after a flood the manhole covers dissapeared and never returned.

If you look to the right in the picture you can see a tire jammed into one of the open holes - the neighbors put it in there, I thought that was nice of them, but the other hole is always open. I've wondered for a while what would happen if I forgot about the open hole, and now I guess I know. Bummer.

Maybe this is all part of the reason why Mexicans drive so slow in the U.S. ? It's the big joke that if you see someone in the fastlane backing up traffic for going so slow that it'll be a Mexican, but hell it looks like they've got their reasons.


Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Ellen!! I'm sorry, I was still editing and I screwed up and deleted and lost your comment. GAHHH. Anyways - Nahhh you'd be fine - OR - you'd drive off a bridge :P I'd stay where you are ;)

Ritamg said...

Where do the manhole covers go? We were missing one on the canal street last week after the rains so someone stuffed a tire in it.

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Ritamg - I think they might take them to sell for scrap metal. (??) Unless somebody arond here just likes them a lot - who knows. :P Be careful :)

Krissie said...

And that is why I don't drive.

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Krissie - The roads aren't scary where you are are they? Your city looks so nice and modern. (and clean!)

Krissie said...

Yeah, but YOU NEVER KNOW! :P

Sunshine said...

Ok....i am soooo not going to lie when i saw your post about plp disappearing in mexico...i got so scared thinking someone else from your hubs familia got kidnapped or something....i was starting to wonder about you thank goodness it was only about pot holes...yes pot holes the size of freaking tires...yes pothole that you hit going 65 miles an hour down the road at night time....ohhhhhhh noooottttt goooodddddd at allllll!
I think we hit about 65 of those between Reynoville and Tapachula...i probably need new tires already!

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Krissie - True dat, you're so wise. :P

Sunshine - Nope, just being snarky, glad you're back safe!