Posts Tagged ‘border’

We’ve arrived in Mexico

4th May 2011 by Helen

Another one of them veritable cascades of blogs about to follow (dated according to when they happened).  But just in case you don’t want to read them all – here’s the summary.

After a quiet couple of final days in Texas (blog titles: Heading out; Our final day in America) we crossed the border into Mexico on Easter Monday.  It was a bit of a dash away from the border, as this is where most of the ‘troubles’ are at present.

The last week has been a bit of a cultural week for us.  We spent a couple of days at Real de Catorce (blog titles: Arrival in Mexico; An old Mexican town; Chicken broth), a lovely old silver mining town but probably better known now as a tourist spot and its role as a film set.  Then we spent a day at San Miguel de Allende which was the seat of the uprising and independence movement in 1810.  After that we headed out to the pyramids just north east of Mexico City.  We spent a couple of days in this area because we discovered the local town Tecamac was just starting a week long celebration with lots of amazing displays of local dancing and music, street vendors selling food, and lots of other stuff going on.   More detail and photos in the blogs for those days.

The advice we have been given is to stick to the towns and main roads and not to travel at night.  We have largely heeded that advice.  But that has meant that wild camping has not really been possible and so we have reverted to the habit of Siberia and been camping among the trucks in the truck parks.  No-one seems to think it odd to see a little Land Rover with a tent on the roof in a truck park and it’s been an easy little routine.  The trucks around us make lots of noise with reversing alarms, air brakes, running engines, generators, coming and going generally.  Of course, as usual, I pretty much sleep through all this.  Paul has found the answer in ear plugs!!

I have also discovered an amazing (new to me) crisp flavour – chilli and lime – the lime flavour is really strong and yanks the saliva from your saliva glands ready to spray your burning tongue from the chilli.  Really works and very tasty.

We both suffered from the effects of some ingestion that disagreed with us.  Paul took delight in making me eat chicken broth in my recovery – a memory of childhood illness and subsequent torture he suffered.  I tell him it’s nothing compared to the dry toast and cornflour mixed in milk my mother inflicted on me as a child, to pleas of “do I have to eat any more?”!!  I think I had the worse deal.

Arrival in Mexico

25th April 2011 by Helen

After another uncomfortable night we grabbed a quick breakfast in WalMart and headed for the border crossing.  Bridge No.2 was our first destination.  We had our paperwork ready as we approached the bridge.  Just a toll bridge, no sign of anything official required to leave America.  But we needed to have some way to verify we have re-exported our vehicle again as part of our original temporary importation agreement.  We were directed back through the bollards heading back into America.   At Customs the border guards insisted there was no official form or stamp or letter or anything else they had available in the system they could give us.  We could driving 10 miles along the coast and asking there but they didn’t think there was an official export system to counter the temporary import.  Their only suggestion was to keep whatever evidence we get of temporary importation into Mexico and use that as evidence.  So that is what we will have to do.  It was a much different experience at this American border control than when we first arrived by plane at Seattle – still doing their job but much friendlier and seemed to be much more willing to be helpful.

Back through the bollards we paid the toll fee (and kept the receipt for that too) and on to the Mexican border controls.  Rene, our Mexican contact, and his wife met us and helped us through the procedures.  As borders go it wasn’t too bad.  We had to buy our tourist permits and car permit.  We also had to provide a ‘bond’ on the car as protection against us not taking it out of the country again.  We also got stung for a tax on the importation of our personal goods – we think this was because Paul ticked a wrong box on a form, easy to do when you can’t read the language!!

Anyway, from there we set off at a bit of a lick behind Rene towards Saltillo.  Poor old Landy wasn’t too happy at trying to keep up with a modern road car and his engine was overheating with the thinner winterised oil we still have in from America, hauling some hefty weight up some of the hills, and all the while trying to keep up with ‘motorway speeds’.  As any owner of an old Land Rover will know, not a good combination.  Still we made it to Saltillo and parted company with Rene and headed off towards Matehuala.

After two cab sleeps in a row we were both tired and I was wilting in the heat.  It’s at times like this we have that conversation about why Paul decided to remove the air con when he was doing the vehicle preparation:  you’ll acclimatise quicker that way he told me.  All right for him, he acclimatises to temperature changes in a day or two.  It takes me several weeks, by which time we are often heading off into the next climate again!!  It’s been hot like this since Arizona, currently around 36C.  I hate the heat.

Landy as we exited the motel next morning

Landy as we exited the motel next morning

Anyway, the upshot of that was we decided to stop at a Motel along the side of the road.  Now, any Mexican will know exactly what that means, but for our English readers, let me explain a little (I had read about this in the tour book just before we stopped).  The rooms are all detached.  Inside it is quite large with air con.  A bed about 7 foot wide, one settee type seat, no cupboards, nowhere to hang clothes, one electric power point by the sink, and a shower large enough to take four people.  Order food from the reception and it is delivered via the turntable in the wall.  That saves you having to leave your actual room to open the integral garage, through which you have to pass to get to the door.  That’s so you can park your car in complete privacy.  Got the picture yet?  Does the option of 4 hour room hire and Viagra available from reception complete the picture?  The perfect getaway for you and your mistress.

Campsite – Maehuala – Mexican Motel

Distance travelled – 560 km

Getting ready to move on

14th April 2011 by Helen

We’ve been spending a few days relaxing and working in what will be our last couple of weeks here in North America, staying a few days in the home town of this young man:

While here we have been preparing Landy for the next stage of Mexico and Central America, offloading some excess baggage, and such like. Paul has fitted new security measures to our windows. Our side locker lights also now work again and we can re-charge our re-chargeable lights thanks to a fancy bit of soldering. Small stuff but it makes life easier.

Whilst staying here we have also been using our on-board water system for the first time since leaving Seattle – and discovered the filter had broken into several pieces and is not working – no doubt another effect of the freezing of everything in Montana’s arctic conditions.

Paul is also practicing his fake Mexican accent.

We are preparing our final route through Texas and the border.  It looks most like we will be going through this place:

(Paul is somewhat bemused by the fact I can sing along cos I know all the words to these songs – didn’t he know I was a Marty Robbins fan?)