This is what happened in the first 3 days of driving down here.
1: I stopped in Paebla, Mexico and was approached by a guy in a SUV who asked me what I was doing driving from Texas.
I've been threw this before. Here is the way it goes down. They ask you where you are from in Spanish. Wanting to know if you can speak the lingo.
When they find out your skill level, they decide what to do. Im my case it was obvious. I left the guy very quick but it was too late. He called in two goons that was suppose to rob me or kidnap me. BROAD DAYLIGHT.
I watch from a window in the mall. The only way i got out of it was to get the guard to walk me to my pickup. When in the pickup they followed me out of the parking lot. But, I hit the highway and was gone.
2. From Cordoba, Mexico to Pelenque there are a few tolls to pay to get there. The local gangs have taken over the first three toll gates and are extorting money from the cars going threw.
At the first toll gate the police and army was called in to disband the gangs. But, at the second and third toll gates. The ganges got me. Strictly a strong arm and extortion racket. If you don't pay you don't go. Banging on your car. Whatever it takes to get you to pay there price.
I am currently in the Yucatan and have not had any problems. I love it here. A throw back to my younger days in southern Texas.
As a young man from south Texas i am used to the crime somewhat. But, it is getting worse.
If you are not used to the Mexican lowlife in the cites. I suggest you do not drive threw Mexico. You will get either robbed or extorted here without a doubt.
Be very careful if you decide to drive.
As I am getting older I am getting tired of putting up with the same old extortion tactics. In my younger days. I have been robbed by taxi drivers and the police.
Mexico is not cheap to travel in. Gas is almost double what it costs in America. What you save in hotels is easily eaten up in gas prices.
Now for the good.
1: Mexico is huge, you won't get claustrophobic here..
2: I love the general atmosphere, and the slow pace here.
3: I like that I can fly home in a few hours, and not have two weeks of jet lag to put up with. Asia is a nightmare to come home from.
4: I like having to learn only one language (Spanish). In Asia every little country has it's on language.
5: In Mexico and central America it is easy to travel in and out of with relative ease.
In Asia it is very hard to travel. Each little country has it's laws and some won't even let you drive into there country. A royal pain in the ass if you are a birder. The politics are unreal.
6: The visas here are very easy. I get a 180 day tourist visa and my travel permit for my pickup is only 63 dollars. In Asia I have to deal with Immigration every 90 days. But, I have to get a retirement visa to get that stay in Thailand. And, you have to have the funds to get those privileges. You need to prove at least 2200 US dollars a month income.
Final word. Would I live here. IN A HEARTBEAT.
I am thinking of selling my Tundra and my pickup in Asia. And buying a small Tacoma and moving to Guatemala. That way I will have southern Mexico and central America as my birding playground.
And I LOVE Mexican food... :)
All the best, Gary