Last summer, I visited Mexico with a few friends. One of those friends was the internationally famous musical sensation Joshua Schulman from the band “Thunderbang!“. Josh was the driver and I was primarily the passenger. I sat back, drank Pernod, and took in the beautiful scenery and heavy aromas. I was also in charge of the radio, and bribing officials when we encountered trouble. Bring lots of extra cash to Mexico.
Now, driving in Mexico City is insane. We rented a car, a Nissan Tsuru (although we were given a Chrysler Town & Country), to visit the Toltec ruins in Tula, and on the way back had the misfortune of getting lost north of Mexico City’s historic district, where, among other mistakes, we drove through a market and almost killed a number of extended families.
Josh was nice enough to highlight some of the choice bits of driving wisdom he learned from this harrowing experience in Mexico City:
- Cars will not stop at red lights. They will only stop when traffic with the right of way inches up enough to block them off. This happens at major 6-lane intersections.
- Cab drivers will cut off three lanes of traffic to pick someone up at the side of the road.
- Cab drivers will also antagonize other cab drivers. We were passengers in one cab on our way to the airport, when another cab came in alongside us, trying to enter an on-ramp. Our driver said to the other driver very calmly, “Chinga tu madre, ¿sabe cómo usar sus direcciones?” which translates loosely to “Fuck your mother, do you know how to use your turn signals?” This resulted in us getting cut off half a dozen times.
- Nothing matters at night. Drivers will blow red lights behind cops who just blew red lights.
- Left turns on red lights are okay, as long as you look both ways. The key word here is “look” – oncoming cars are irrelevant.
- Hundreds of naked protesters will distract you while trying to find a gas station on a major thoroughfare.
- Children will walk backwards into oncoming traffic, often while holding their parents’ hands. It’s like a bizarre, real life David Lynch movie
- A drunken local will stand in the middle of a crowded market intersection, directing traffic to try and ease congestion. When you don’t follow his directions because an entire family is running out into the path of your minivan, he will call you ‘the faggot’.
- Don’t enter traffic circles. Someone will die.
- There will be traffic any time of day. This will not stop anyone from escaping said traffic by driving 75 mph in reverse onto an on-ramp in order to get to a side street.
- DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, enter a traffic circle.