Monday, November 15, 2010
Approaching Mexico ~ The Border Crossing
We're on the road now ... I won't bore you with our first several stops in the US. From our last night arrivals and early morning wakings, we did see many of these such sunrises (this one from the Dessert Springs Walmart parking lot) and lots of cacti. Our first night was just past Los Banos, California, next was Dessert Springs, California and then, Tuscon, Arizona. When we finally reached Nogales, Arizona, we knew we were in a different place.
We found the RV camping park which turned out to be a very "modest" trailer park north of downtown. To scope out the neighborhood in daylight, for later walks (remember we have Cody, our Golden Retreiver with us) we begin past the trailers and are charged by two ferious pit bulls. We held our breath, WHEW, saved when the dogs spun around reaching their chains end. Ok, we'll walk towards the highway and with only permanent trailers here, our hopes of finding a group of RVs to caravan into Mexico fades.
Part of what I'm realizing about myself is, that I travel like a snail, my husband travels like a bullet. So this whole trip is affecting each of us differently. Me, I'm feeling so scattered I need to have some time to catch up with myself. I talk Roland into staying an extra day here (it wasn't easy).
So we have a leisurely morn, and take a drive into downtown Nogales. The small passenger vehicle and pedestrian border crossing is right there in town. There are a plethera of military visuals all over town, border police, police on horses, on bicycles, vehicles of camouflage and ATV vehicles from the desert creating a less than warm fuzzy atmosphere.
Two buildings were of interest, this court house, now a university had beautiful stone work. We'd hoped to find an internet cafe but laughed at our nieve-ness (I have to tell you that as I'm typing this I'm in Mexico and my spell check is only in SPANISH, so you'll have to forgive spelling errors). But back at the trailer park a small RV has pulled into the slot next to us and - YES - they are meeting another RV and driving across the border in the morning. THANK GOD we waited an extra (do I hear a faint "I'm being taken care of" echo in the wind?) We have found our "caravan".
These people take off at 6am, so I'm up at 4am to do my yoga and meditation
You first cross over the border very unannounced. Then in a mile or so, we came across the first marked stop. But not alot occured, just waived us thru. After about 17 miles we come across the major crossing. All three of us RVs park in their ample lot and walk into the bowels of Mexican bureaucracy, hoping we remembered all the necessary papers. We need registration to both vehicles, passports, drivers licenses, Mexican insurance, and papers from our vet stating Cody had had all appropriate shots and been de-wormed.
There are three different stages. First, where you fill out the personal info and intention of the visit which is inside and nicely heated. Next stop is outside at a glass window where copies are made of all papers. By now I'm getting pretty cold, remember it's 6am in the high desert. By the time we reach the third window, also outside, where we are to have permits created for both vehicles, make payments for that process and are given receipts (we were lucky to have both vehicles with both our names on the registration, as they allow only ONE person to have one vehicle on each Mexican permit). At this stage there is probably around a dozen of us waiting in these lines, all speaking English and shivering, making jokes to ease the tension and chill. I'm counting my blessings that we had our "caravan" buddies coaching us along thru these stages, telling us what the Official wanted and what to do. We return to the first desk (inside again, hurrah) and they verify our receipts etc. Finished!!
Successfully getting all border crossing papers, we trek back to our vehicles. One of our peers reads his thermometer, telling us its freezing!!! No wonder we are shivering!!! Cody greets exhuberantly, we don't know if its because he's happy or needs a walk but who cares.