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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Walking in Mexico

January 10, 2005
Zihuatanejo, Guerrero Coast, Mexico (17o 38' N 101o 33' W)

The saga of fuel hose:
Well my 350 peso fuel hose turned out not to be such a great deal. The first signs of trouble appeared when I tried to put an in-line fuel filter in the new hose (same as the old hose had). I cut the new hose at the appropriate location and pushed the end of the in-line filter into the hose and to my surprise, the 'brand new' hose split like an over ripe banana! It took several tries before I was able to get the filter into the hose without splitting it. Of course I feared that the first time it got stepped on in the dinghy it would break wide open, but I didn't have any ready alternative, so I put it on the outboard hoping it would be ok. Yeah sure. Later that same day I looked into the dinghy from the deck on NAKIA and saw a big puddle of gasoline. The hose had split on about a foot of its length, without even having to be stepped on! Oh well, it was crummy hose anyway, so we spent an entire afternoon rowing in, walking to the bus stop, taking the bus to the 'car parts' section of town, buying a new length of quality fuel line, taking the bus back toward the boat, walking back to the beach, rowing back to NAKIA and putting together the new fuel line. It's much better than even the old hose was, and to make sure it doesn't get stolen again I've put a stainless steel wire on it which locks it to the dinghy.

We've been pretty careful announcing on the morning radio net that there has been a theft of an outboard fuel line and that people should make sure to lock stuff in their dinghy. Unfortunately more fuel lines have been stolen. All the thefts are of fuel lines that have in-line fuel filters. In fact, it was clear that someone tried to steal ours again but was thwarted by the stainless wire I installed. I guess it's not all paradise down here...

Speaking of the challenges of cruising MX, we've noticed that walking in Mexico is a lot like driving in the US. When you learn to drive in the US, they tell you that you should not fix your attention on one spot, that instead you should continually scan everything in your field of view: the road ahead, out the side windows, the side and rear view mirrors, the engine gauges... Well, walking in Mexico requires the same kind of constant scanning, especially in the city. Everywhere there are 'Gringo Traps' waiting to come out and bite you. These range from un-finished gaps in the sidewalk to low hanging awnings to temporarily permanent power lines strung across the sidewalk. To avoid falling prey to these traps it's necessary to scan your surroundings as you walk along the street. It's a jungle out here!