The street that fronts our apartment at Los Tules is named Boulevard Francisco Medina Ascencio. It’s a long name for a long street. Walmart is on this street. So is Costco. You can buy a Ford or a Chevy on this street, or souvenirs at Señor Frog’s.
With all that industry, it’s no surprise that Ascencio is not only long, but wide — eight lanes wide. Eight lanes of rattly buses, death-wish motorcycles, and cars — lots of cars, all traveling at homicidal Mexican speed. We cross this road almost every day. Our nearest grocery is on the other side of Ascencio and crossing it is like playing the game of Frogger — for keeps.
Remember it now? Frogger is us.
The Plaza Caracol is a huge shopping center, anchored by Soriana, a grocery store similar to a massive Safeway or Von’s. We do most of our grocery shopping at Soriana. There’s a bead store in the plaza as well (Louise says she has died and gone to Heaven), and lots of little shops that sell electronics, ice cream, and tours. There’s even a multiplex there, with captioned movies (instant Spanish lessons!). If you need anything, it’s at the plaza. And it’s across the road. The Frogger Road.
Understand this: Pedestrians do not have the right of way in Mexico. Perhaps by law they do, but law is an abstraction here. Even on marked crosswalks, one does not step out from the curb and expect traffic to stop. The buses, in particular, hardly have brakes. Nor do many of the cars.
Thus, the Frogger experience.
The next time you present yourself at a crosswalk, say, in Spain (where they always stop for pedestrians) or the US (where they usually do), remember Frogger Road, the Mexican buses with no brakes, and your friends in Puerto Vallarta who take their lives in their hands every time they need a quart of Chunky Monkey. Hop, hop … squish!