I Moved To Oaxaca

Monday, October 25, 2004

On Friday, while G and I were busy typing away at the internet cafe, we kept hearing sirens and zooming vehicles going down Alcala, right outside the door. Frankly, it sounded like a 9-1-1 call back in Albany. I'd say we heard rushing vehicles for a good 20 minutes before we finally logged out and took a look.

Road rally!

Now, Alcala is the cobbled tourist walkway leading from Heroes de Chapultepec -- aka Hwy 190, aka the Pan-American Hwy -- past Santo Domingo and down to the zocalo. It seems a little odd to funnel race cars down the city's one pedestrian walkway, but hey! It is Mexico. So we walked (carefully) down to the zocalo to check out the action.

Normally the zocalo is stuffed with couples, tourists, and families with kids out enjoying the afternoon and early evening. That Friday, it was thronged with men armed with video recorders and cameras, oohing and aahing over engines. I'm not sure why an engine needs to be videotaped, but hey, it's not my hobby. We noticed all the cars were vintage, from the 40s to about the 60s or 70s (as far as we could tell), and from just about all over Mexico, the U.S., and Europe! Fords, Chevys, Chryslers, Triumphs, Corvettes, Porsches, Mercedes Benzes, BMWs -- stuff we couldn't even tell what it was. And all the drivers swaggering through the crowd or standing around their race cars drinking beer.

We asked a pair of drivers about the race, and they told us it was the Pan American Highway Road Rally. They'd started in Tuxla Gutierrez, in Chiapas, were stopping for the night in Oax-town, and were heading out in the morning for Mexico City, and eventually Laredo, Texas. We talked about what it was like going down city streets, over topes, and driving on the generally crappy and full-of-surprises Mexican highways, and he agreed it was something to be zooming along through town at 140kmph, police escort or no. He said someone got nailed, too; one of my students on Saturday said it was a traffic cop! What do they call topes Down Under? Sleeping Policemen? Heh.


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