It was in the 1970s and 1980s that I first fell in love with Latin America. Unfortunately, at that time, many of the countries that I wished to visit such as Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Uruguay were ruled by dictators and—in the case of Peru—marked by a violent Maoist insurgency (the Sendero Luminoso). But Mexico was okay at the time. Now there are parts of Mexico I would fear to visit because of violent narcotraficante gangs. And Central and South America are generally safer.
I remember traveling thousands of miles by bus—all on buses built in Mexico by such companies as Masa, Sultana, and Dina. I remember one Cristóbal Colón bus between Mazatlán and Durango that crossed the Sierra Madre Occidental and forded several (then) unbridged rivers on roads that would have left a GM bus in pieces.
In central Mexico, I fell in love with the Flecha Amarilla (Yellow Arrow) line of clean second class buses one could board within minutes to destinations such as Guanajuato, San Miguel Allende, Querétaro, Pátzcuaro, and Mexico City. Along the Gulf, there were the buses of ADO (Autobuses de Oriente) that went clear to Yucatán. Only in Yucatán itself were the intercity buses broken-down wrecks, especially the ones operated by Union de Camioneros de Yucatán. (This may no longer be the case, but it was when I traveled there.)
All through my travels, I kept thinking of a Luis Buñuel film entitled (in the U.S.) Mexican Bus Ride (1952), although the original title is Subida al Cielo (“Ascent to Heaven”). Most of the story takes place during a long bus ride from a coastal fishing village over the mountains to the interior. During the film, there is a death, a birth, a seduction—in other words, just about all of life. It is probably one of Buñuel’s best films, and certainly his best production made in Mexico.