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The racism is an interesting point that I'll come back to when I've a bit more time.
Please do, the grittier, darker side of an area can be just as interesting as the nicer bits - from the safety of a computer screen.

I say that with a visit in mind I made to a friend in Dublin.

He took me for a short motoring tour, and I asked him to include some urban decay with the usual touristy bits.

We pulled into a street behind the Guinness brewery.

My friend swore, having not realised it was a dead end.

Sure enough, as we turned around (briskly) the local yobbos started pelting the car with stones.

It was almost as if they knew we had only come to gawp.

I suppose you could say we got what we deserved.
 

Heigue'r

Über Member
Location
Upminster
Kerrygold...you just can't beat it👍
 

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
Please do, the grittier, darker side of an area can be just as interesting as the nicer bits - from the safety of a computer screen.

I say that with a visit in mind I made to a friend in Dublin.

He took me for a short motoring tour, and I asked him to include some urban decay with the usual touristy bits.

We pulled into a street behind the Guinness brewery.

My friend swore, having not realised it was a dead end.

Sure enough, as we turned around (briskly) the local yobbos started pelting the car with stones.

It was almost as if they knew we had only come to gawp.

I suppose you could say we got what we deserved.
To be honest my experience of the grittier places has been positive - once I calm down the instinctive (?) fear that rises.

The people are friendly, saluting, saying hello and generally giving off a positive vibe, even if every other indicator is negative - houses with tarps covering the roof, broken down cars dumped around houses etc.
That's a marked contrast to the suspicious looks I receive cycling through the richer neighbourhoods.

While there may be little outright racism on display, the relics definitely remain.

It is a very complex issue.

As for your experience in Dublin, unfortunately I believe that is something common to the UK and Ireland. I've cycled through some of the dodgier areas of many cities in Europe with no issues. Cycling past Manchester and out of Dublin were two of my most unpleasant cycling experiences. I had no hassle, but there was an air of intimidation from groups of young men.
 

Brandane

Fair weather cyclist.
Location
Ayrshire.
Wow; what a read @HobbesOnTour !
As an ex Merchant Navy apprentice deck officer (1978 to 81 :ohmy:) I especially enjoyed your Atlantic crossing. Also look forward to reading about the Mexican section of your ride as I spent 6 months on a tanker which was on contract to PEMEX (Petroleos Mexicanos - I think is the name of the national petroleum refiners). We used to load at Salina Cruz in the south, and then discharge at various ports on the Pacific coast including Manzanillo (where I flew to join the ship), Ensenada, and Mazatlan where you are headed.
 

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
Thanks @Brandane The ship was the satisfaction of a long held dream!

I'm sure times have changed since your day; One day I overheard the Captain commenting that he was nothing more than a remote control - all decisions about route, speed etc. were made in Head Office. He just implemented them.
When I got off in Norfolk the Captain and Chief Engineer were going for a run. Far from the carousing I expected when a ship made port!

The technology too, is amazing. "Live" charts showing depth, currents and other ships as opposed to the "old" paper ones. Yet, at night, the Bridge was in total darkness and any lights strictly forbidden to ensure that human eyes could still see as well as possible! They may have state of the art navigation and radar equipment but the eyes are all important!

And in port! The organisation of the loading & unloading of the containers! Amazing! I'd never thought about such things but the logistics are beyond comprehension. The Second Officer took a morning to explain the whole system and told us that the only way such big container ships could operate efficiently was due to computers. He said that the logistics of placement, loading & unloading are too complicated for human minds.

As I'm getting closer to Mexico a certain apprehension is starting to build up. Mexico doesn't have a great reputation in these parts, but then again, when I lived in NL the next town over didn't have a great reputation!

There's the language issue and for the first leg to Mazatlán I'll be following a route that few have cycled. But at the end of it I'll be cycling "The Devil's Backbone"! 😀
 

Brandane

Fair weather cyclist.
Location
Ayrshire.
Containerization of cargo was what spoiled the Merchant Navy as a job, @HobbesOnTour . All that efficiency might be good for profits and speed of turn-around in port; but it's not much fun for the crew who are full on working when in the old days you spent days (sometimes weeks) in port appreciating the local culture :laugh:. Just like most walks of life, things were done in a much more leisurely fashion back then. And I'm beginning to sound old :ohmy:. Good luck with the rest of your trip, especially once you reach Mexico. I've been on this site for about 9 years and don't know how to bookmark a thread; but I'm about to learn :okay:.
 

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
@Brandane ,
I certainly didn't mean to imply you were old!!! 😀

You're right about the speed of turnaround - typically 24 hours in port, or less.

And the crew certainly work their asses off! In this case, a handful of French officers with Filipino crew.

In NY/NJ there were new rules prohibiting shore leave from the immigration services. Due to some crew on some ships disappearing, any crew with less than 5 years of records entering (& leaving) the USA were prohibited from shore leave. It had a big affect on the crew.

Delighted to read you're learning how to bookmark! Many thanks for the compliment!
 

Brandane

Fair weather cyclist.
Location
Ayrshire.
A few years back I was working locally as a taxi driver and used to get occasional runs taking crew/officers from our local coal port at Hunterston to or from Glasgow airport for crew changes. Chatting to them was fun and finding out the changes to life on board over 30 odd years. We used to carry a full crew of about 40 personnel; from the Captain, Chief Engineer, deck and engineer officers, radio officer (probably replaced by a mobile phone now), deck crew, engine room crew, and catering staff.
All now reduced to about 20 I believe! No such thing as stewards to clean officers cabins and serve meals, it's all DIY - although you spoke about a steward @HobbesOnTour , so maybe they still have one where passengers are carried (I never sailed on a ship with passengers). No bar on some ships too, are they "dry"? Any ship I was on had 2 bars; one for officers one for crew, and they were the hub of the ships social life. Very well attended!
 

CharlesF

Veteran
Location
Glasgow
Loved your visit to Elvis' birth place, I'm a huge fan of his. And imagine you spoke to someone who knew him! I once read that he used wear mascara in the days around Sun Studios, I would ask if that was true.

I'm sure you will find the local Mexicans friendly and helpful. I'm friends with a Bolivian lady, as far from drug dealing as you can get; so caring and thoughtful.

All the best as you head off into the "unknown".
 

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
....We used to carry a full crew of about 40 personnel; from the Captain, Chief Engineer, deck and engineer officers, radio officer (probably replaced by a mobile phone now), deck crew, engine room crew, and catering staff.
All now reduced to about 20 I believe! No such thing as stewards to clean officers cabins and serve meals, it's all DIY ...

are they "dry"? Any ship I was on had 2 bars; one for officers one for crew, and they were the hub of the ships social life. Very well attended!
All in there were about 20 on board - officers, crew & up to 3 passengers.

I was told the ship was dry....but it wasn't! Wine served with lunch & dinner.
The Officer's mess had 3 tables; One for French officers, one for Filipino & the table in the middle for passengers. Filipino crew had a separate mess.

The French officers had their own bar and the Filipino officers and crew had a separate one.

The steward was there for food service & cabin cleaning. Split shifts every day. A real PITA trying to organise going ashore for him.

As you said, things have changed. For anyone considering such a trip, I'd imagine a good agent and an established company from a Western country would be top priorities.
 
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HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
Loved your visit to Elvis' birth place, I'm a huge fan of his. And imagine you spoke to someone who knew him! I once read that he used wear mascara in the days around Sun Studios, I would ask if that was true.

I'm sure you will find the local Mexicans friendly and helpful. I'm friends with a Bolivian lady, as far from drug dealing as you can get; so caring and thoughtful.

All the best as you head off into the "unknown".
Glad you liked it!
I wouldn't class myself as a big fan, but I really got a kick out of it.
The couple I chatted to had also visited Graceland and said that while parts were over the top there was also an authenticity to it too.

To be honest, it's not drug dealers I'm wary of. Americans aren't flavour of the month south of the border and it will automatically be assumed that I'm one of them!

There have been some kidnappings along the border too - far away from where I'm crossing.

And you're dead right - most locals everywhere are friendly and helpful. All my experience points to that. 😀
 

netman

Senior Member
I've been reading avidly and really enjoying the writing - had something in the back of my mind for a while and then you wrote it - The Road Not Taken! The perfect poem for your trip...

The Road Not Taken
BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
 

HobbesOnTour

Über Member
Location
The Netherlands
I've been reading avidly and really enjoying the writing - had something in the back of my mind for a while and then you wrote it - The Road Not Taken! The perfect poem for your trip...

The Road Not Taken
BY ROBERT FROST

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
A great poem, simple but deep. Thank you.

'Tis the great dilemma of the Traveller - where to go & which route to get there. I'm of the opinion that too much planning and research only confused the mind, a bit like a kid in a toyshop, we want it all.
Then there's the reality on the ground that can often be different to what we expected.
Enjoying the moment is the key, being grateful for where we are, not frustrated at what we're missing.
Thank you for that!
 
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