domingo, marzo 30, 2014

Driving Into Mexico The Thelma and Louise Way

Traveling to another city in a foreign country to meet a fellow blogger whom you only know by email isn't a very common thing to do. And crossing the border into Mexico on that person's car is an even more.. peculiar thing to do. "Are you crazy?", a friend said. Be very, very careful, you never know. And that's true, you never know, but I've learned to listen to my own body language and the only message I received was "Go ahead and have fun!". And boy did I have fun.
The moment I met El Gringo Suelto I knew that he was a very sweet and kind person, easy to get along with and, above all, an excellent travel companion with whom you can spend hours and hours talking about a million interesting things, exchanging opinions, and having fun all the time. We shook hands and our own particular road movie got rolling, both of us feeling like we had known each other for many years.
The first stop was the Mall, where I bought a new pair of sunglasses that I needed badly. Then we stopped at WalMart, where I bought a beautiful bicycle for Rodolfo. The moment I saw it, I knew he'd fall in love with her at first sight, just like I did. We managed to put it inside Kim's truck and off we went, since we wanted to travel into Mexico while there was still daylight.
But choosing the wrong border crossing and then being thoroughly inspected at the right US border crossing took almost two hours of our time. When he saw our faces, the officer must have thought that Kim and I were a couple of dangerous criminals smuggling drugs and weapons concealed in secret compartments of the vehicle, but after a meticulous search that made him and us feel frustrated and sick, he wasn't able to find anything.
We were luckier in the Mexican side. The traffic light gave us a green smile and we could have proceeded without stopping, only I got confused and directed Kim to the wrong lanes, where the vehicles are inspected. "Didn't you get a green light?", the officer asked. I mumbled "Yes..." feeling an asshole, and he then told us he just couldn't let us go without inspecting the car (there were cameras all around), and after a 30-second search he waved us good-bye. A little later, at the second point of inspection, the Mexican soldiers just looked at us and gestured a "go ahead". Viva Mexico, cabrones!

The rest of the trip went without any incidents and we arrived in Monterrey in the early hours of the night. We picked up Rodolfo and then had dinner at a very traditional restaurant, where Kim was able to taste the cabrito -- the famous dish of my hometown. There was a mariachi band in the place, whose leader politely asked if we wanted a few songs sung at our table, just for us.
And yes, they came and sang Puño de Tierra, Motivos, and Mexico Lindo y Querido. "Want more?" "No, that's alright, I said. And thank God I said that, because only then the crook informed us that we owed him 450 pesos! I got very angry and complained with the waiter, but it was no use. We had been the victims of a ripoff.
I was very, very upset, but then I decided that it was best to calm down and not allow those idiots to spoil our dinner. After all, the food was excellent and the three of us were having a wonderful time. It had been a long day and it was getting late, so I invited Kim to stay at our house. He accepted and Rodolfo and I were very honored to have him as our guest and did our best to make him feel at home.

The next day I dedicated my second day off to show Kim around: we enjoyed a great view of the city from the top of Hospital Zambrano Hellion, admired the high-rise buildings in San Pedro Garza Garcia, walked the streets of Barrio Antiguo and the Macroplaza in Monterrey and then boarded a boat in Paseo Santa Lucia that took us to the beautiful Parque Fundidora. Rodolfo met us there and then the three of us mounted the elevator that took us to the top of the furnace called Horno 3. What a magnificent view of the city! None of us had visited this attraction before (shame on me!), so it was just as thrilling for the three of us.
The whole day was very cloudy and I resented that Kim had not been able to admire all the beautiful mountains that surround my city, especially the renowned Cerro de la Silla. But I hope he can come again when it's sunny and clear.
Being a tourist guide for Kim made me appreciate all the beauties that Monterrey has to offer and made me look at it with better eyes. Monterrey is very different from other Mexican cities, but it is also beautiful and unique.
Early the following day, Rodolfo and I got ready to go to work while Kim was packing his things to continue to trip. Then we got in the cars and I led the way, with Kim close behind. Soon afterwards, Rodolfo rolled down the window and pointed to the right. I honked the horn and waved him good-bye, feeling the same emotion I had felt so many times at airports and train stations,
seeing off the people I love.

6 comentarios:

  1. In spite of a few aggravations, it sounds like you all had a great time. And I know what you mean when you say that being a tour guide makes you appreciate the beauty of your home town. Cleveland, Ohio is not considered a tourist destination, but when my friend Alejandro from D.F. visited me, there was no lack of places to show him. Being used to the chaos of D.F., at first he thought that Ohio was sort of boring... but before long he came to appreciate the more tranquil pace, and he enjoyed Ohio immensely. And even though I was at home, it was like a vacation for me too.

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    1. Hi, Bill, you are perfectly right, we enjoyed so much our time that we could easily forget about the obsessive inspection of the American officer. And when you say that you felt like you were having a vacation in your own city, I remember having just the exact feeling last week. Have a nice Sunday!

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  2. Hola. Me llamo Fernando Castillo y me ha gustado mucho tu blog. Poco hablo inglés y ver tus primeras entradas sobre tus gustos por el inglés y como decidiste hacer de eso tu profesión me han motivado a querer estudiar más ese idioma. Lo cierto es que poco le puse atención en la escuela y ahora lo necesito, pues casi toda mi familia vive en Estados Unidos. Sólo mis papás viven aquí, el resto está allá.

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    1. Muchas gracias por visitar mi blog, me da mucho gusto que lo que escribí haya sido de inspiración. Te recomiendo mucho que hagas un esfuerzo por dominar el idioma inglés, de verdad te abre muchas puertas y multiplica las posibilidades de conocer y aprender. Saludos.

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  3. ¿En un road trip? Eso me quedó pendiente por hacer hace tiempo. 3 veces hubo uno planeado, y a la mera hora quedaban mal los otros, se acobardaban.

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    1. Así es ,es un road trip de mi amigo Kim http://gringosuelto.wordpress.com/ , quien ya llegó a Mérida después de haber viajado por carretera desde Boston. Yo también deseo hacer un viaje como este, pero hasta ahora no se ha podido debido a mi trabajo. Pero sé que lo haré y lo disfrutaré mucho. Tú si puedes, anímate, espero que la próxima vez no se rajen tus compañeros, la clave es planeación y compromiso.

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