21st~23rd Nov 2011
98% of the people had told me terrible things about Mexico. But, I am here! I feel like I am in a dream. Thanks to my host in Nogales, AZ, I crossed the Mexican border over six times, but I’ve never traveled in Mexico by bicycle. I was surprised that many drivers were so nice. One time, I tried to go to the washroom, but found out that I had to pay 5 Pesos ($0.4). When I returned to the washroom, an employee let me go into the washroom for free.
I rode my bicycle a few times up hills like the one in the above picture. But, it was almost all downhill from the Mexican border. I was so excited.
Nogales, Mexican border town, is very busy because of traffic. However, a little further it became so peaceful. this area was so peaceful. I finally feel like I am in Mexico. People are so nice. They always said to me “Hola” which means “Hello” in English.
Finally I arrived in Magdalena. It is over 80km(50mi) south of the Mexican border. I started late today, and so I was worried riding in the dark. But, I finished riding around 4:30pm. Before traveling to Magdalena, I only knew its name. The city is small but very pretty. I love it here.
Magdalena looks like real Mexico.
I felt better because of the child who was playing with the dog.
24th Nov 2011
The next town was Benjamin Hill. It is 64km(40mi) South of Magdalena. The route from Magdalena to Benjamin Hill was on MEX 15 with a wide shoulder which made riding easier.
I finished riding around 1:30pm. Benjamin Hill is a so small town. It was too early to get a place to set up my tent, so I looked around the town. Many people said “Hola”(Hello) to me.
A family kept looking at me, so I went over to speak to them. By using my IPod’s dictionary, I showed to them the word for “tent” and “church” in Spanish. I also used body language. They looked like that they were trying to explain to me where was the church, but I couldn’t understand. So, I thanked them and went on my way. But, they called out to me and they brought me to their house. By using laptop and an internet translator, they showed me on the computer screen “You can stay at my house”. I was really happy. Their second oldest daughter is in the picture.
Their mother’s name is Kariana. I saw many chickens in their yard.
The family’s eldest daughter is Mariby. She invited her friend and introduced me to them. Mariby is third from the left in the picture.
Karina’s youngest daughter is 3months old.
I asked Mariby to show me around her town. The main road was paved, but the other roads were unpaved.
The above picture shows downtown Benjamin Hill and where I met karina.
They showed me around the town and the park.
They are 14years old.
It was a very beautiful sunset.
We visited Mariby friend’s house and made hot chocolate. The chocolate looked like part of the Mexican food culture because I also saw it in Nogales.
Such a cute boy!
Mariby’s friend speaks English very well. She showed me her note and I was shocked. Their school starts at 7am!! I think that is too early. Elementary school starts at 7:30am. No way!
Karina’s family. They were so kind!
25th Nov 2011
The next day Karina made breakfast for me.
Mariby took me to her school. It was interesting to visit a Mexican school. Different course subjects are taught in each classroom, so the students move to a different classroom for a different subject and teacher. When I was a student in South Korea, I didn’t move, but instead, the teachers moved. But when I was in the university, I also moved to a different classroom.
Mariby and her friends knocked on every classroom door. Every teacher permitted us to enter.
Their history teacher is in the center of the picture
The students asked me about my travels. One of the students translated English to Spanish for me. The girl wearing the red jacket sung a Mexican song for me!
The student on the right translated for me.
We also visited a kindergarten elementary school.
Such a cute boy!!! I tried to answer the best I could to all of their questions.
These students were asking a teacher’s permission to enter her classroom. Every teacher gave us permission to enter.
The students asked many questions: What is your name?; How old are you?; Where are you from?; Why are you traveling?; Why do you bike?; Where and when did you start?; How long are you traveling?; Where are you going?; What is your country like?; Are you not afraid?; Are you not tired?; Have you been sick after eating Mexican food?; Do you like it here?; When can you come back and visit us?; etc.
Mariby sister’s class room. The students in her classroom were so friendly toward me.
They gave me a huge hug. I will never forget their love. I was the happiest ever. I will give it back to everybody. I will share this hope.
I am not special person, but only a normal person. But, I keep dreaming. I want to tell students, “Keep dreaming. That’s all you have to do. Don’t stop dreaming whatever, however and whenever”. I visited over 20 classrooms and I received much courage from them. It was really a good experience.
There were many trucks on the road. They were waiting to be inspected for drugs by the police officers and the army. I heard that they have to wait between 3 to 6hours. When anyone tells me about Mexico, they always talk about drug wars. After drug wars, their public security was worse. I am not sure what happened between the government and them. Anyway, I think it is necessity to stop drugs.
The next city was Carbo and it was over 71km(44mi) from Benjamin hill and it’s 7km(4mi) from highway. I had to zoom over 15times to see this city on Google map.
It was also too early to get a place to set up my tent. But I felt safe to travel around town during the daytime. I can’t speak Spanish. So, it’s difficult to communicate with them. When they say something, I just smiled. I met a 16 years old boy who could speak English; he helped me to communicate with the locals. He lived in LA, but he became tired of LA and returned back to his country. Every person has a different opinion. We don’t need to think the same way. Home is where you feel comfortable and what you miss. Mexico is home to that boy.
Local people found the place to set up my tent and gave Mexican food. I wanted more communicated like Benjamin hill. But that’s all.
After I said good-bye to my new friends, I became lonely. I miss the people of Benjamin hill. I walked around the town.
One of the things I do is make balloon animals. I gave them to the children as a gift. I didn’t ask them to pose. They know how to have a picture taken more than me.
I watched some boys who were playing soccer.
The children were smiling who stopped by to talk to me. I made more animal balloons for them-One more, then one more, then one more … endless!
I needed a special pump to make so many animal balloons. But, I decided not to carry two different pumps. So, I used my bike pump, but it causes pain in my fingers. I made over 60 animal balloons for the children. But I was so happy to see them smiling and to hear them laughing.
I slept one night here. No one visited me. It was a lonely night.
26th Nov 2011
Celebrate to over 3,000km(1875mi)!
There was not a shoulder, but I want to say “Thank you” to all the drivers because they moved over a lane for me.
I rode over 94km(58mi) to Hermosillo. I also found a bicycle lane in Mexico. Yeah!
I rode uphill for 20minutes. Then, when I descended, I was so excited to see a big town.
Ed, who was my host in Nogales, introduced me to his friend in Hermosillo. When I arrived near host’s home, my front rack was bent. When I got out of sidewalk, it just happened because of a impact. I tried to straighten it.
My host and her family showed me their city at night. Hermosillo is like a US city. It is very well developed. When I was in Benjamin hill, it felt more like Mexico. But in Hermosillo, it feels more like the US.
Such a cute puppy. He is one months old. Unfortunately, his mother and his 4 other brothers died. :'( I hope he lives longer.
My host has three daughters and one son. Her eldest daughter’s husband is a baseball player in Japan. He also played in the major leagues in the US for 10 years and 4years in Mexico. His name is Luis. This cute boy is his son. He liked to play swinging his arm-like hitting a baseball.
27th Nov 2011
I visited my host mother’s home the next day. Tacos were under the vegetables. So yummy.. mmmm….!!! I put more chili on my tacos and my host laughed. She said “I can’t eat like you. You can eat spicy foods more than me” . Yes, that’s why I love Mexico! Their foods are so hot!!
On the left is my host’s sister, and on the right is my host’s mother.
On the left is Luis who is a baseball player in Japan. On the right is his wife. She is pregnant. I asked her where she is going to give birth to a baby. She said “I am Mexican and I will do it in Mexico.” It was good to meet their family. I think Mexico is family life.
I walked around their area after lunch. I wondered why every house has iron bars because all the people I have met are very friendly.
I slept in the little room on the right. It was very comfortable. I was always with good people. This is the first big city in Mexico I have visited.
Bill, thank you for editing this post.
English is not my first language. If you find any mistakes,(such as words being used out of context, grammar, syntax, etc), please let me know. Thanks