Crossing into Mexico

Today was the big day. I didn’t sleep that well. I think I’m getting a little nervous about this whole thing, which I think is inevitable. Because of that, I got a relatively early start this morning, picked up my title from Fed Ex, and had lunch at Popeye’s. I love Popeye’s, and haven’t seen on yet. While sitting there, I started talking to another guy who came in at 10:30 on a motorcycle looking for lunch. He ended up being a real nice guy, and we exchanged contact information(If you’re reading this, howdy!)

Well, after that, it was on to Mexico. There wasn’t any real wait at the border. The hardest part is figuring out where immigration is (so I can get my tourist card), where to get the correct documents for my bike, and where to get insurance. I found immigration, but couldn’t get to on my bike. I ended up parking about half a mile away and walking. In the noonday heat, wearing and carrying my bike gear. I had to make two trips. Immigration was taken care of by about 1 p.m. The only way to get an vehicle imported is to drive 30KM down Highway (?) 45 towards Chihuahua. Too bad I wasn’t going to Chihuahua. Once I got there, well, everything was on Mexican Time. The first step was easy – give some guy $1/US to photocopy what I needed for step 2. Step 2 involved waiting. And waiting. It took about 90 minutes to go through the line to import my vehicle. And of course, I don’t speak spanish (yet!) That caused a few awkward moments. The chicha behind the counter had someone translate for me. He said “You’re on a motorcycle” – yes. “Where are you going” – Oaxaca, then leaving south, “Are you travelling by yourself?” – yes. “That’s Weird”. Mexican Lesson number one – always brings something to read.

Having gotten the first and second of my task out of the way, I went for insurance. I was looking for a Sanborns office, but they had someone in the same building, so I went to see what they had to offer. After filling out the insurance forms, I find out that they can’t use EITHER of the credit cards I had. I had intended to head towards Neuvo Casa Grandes to see the nearby ruins, but I didn’t want to end up without a way to pay for a room, and frankly, it was getting late, and I was spent. I saw a temperature reading of 32 degrees, which I calculate to be approximately 8000 degrees Farenheight (sp?) It was by far the hottest day of my trip. The stress of the day, and the heat were getting to me, and I wasn’t sure I could make it to Neuvo Casa Grandes in time, so I decided to go back to Juarez and get one of the overpriced chain hotels I passed. I didn’t have a map, and I took a wrong turn coming back. I don’t mind just driving around a town, so I did that for a while. While travelling, it’s not to bad having a jacket on, but when stuck in traffic for 15 or 20 minutes, with my bike getting hot enough to worry me, it was like an oven. Eventually I found a nice clean hotel, with what appeared to be underground parking. Started talking to the guy, and found out the rooms were about 330 peso (~33/US.) But, that’s for six hours. It was a freakin’ love hotel. I knew they had such things in Japan, but Mexico too? He offered a room that didn’t have underground parking for $27/US for the night, but I declined. What if some lonely couple couldn’t couple because of me. I can’t be responsible for that. The room was very nice though. And the place was large. I guess if could have gotten underground parking AND the internet, I’d have thought about it.

I eventually found a Holiday Inn. $66 for the night. Not too cheap, but not too bad either. It has been a long day, and sometimes you just want to stop moving. I plan on getting an early start, to cover the 150 or so miles the ruins I want to see. The rough guide I have warns of banditry on the road heading to the ruins, so I might just head to Chihuahua instead especially if it’s cooler. This heat is killing me. I’ll see how I feel in the morning. I have to be in Oaxaca for a Spanish class in about seven days, and it’s slower travelling round these parts. And I need to get out of the heat. Maybe I’ll head to the coast for a day or two. Funny to feel like I don’t have enough time, given that I’ve got all the time in the world.

As a side note, normal Mexico cable has occasional full nudity, which I found flipping the channels. But it’s not one of those softcore porn things without plot. A little nudity, then a plot. It’s like a bad USA channel movie, but with nudity. I’m torn – nudity good, rest of movie bad.