Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ups and downs

Well the border was pretty easy except that due to my lack of Spanish we drove right past the office where you get the temporary car permits and ended up heading back towards the USA. It is at times like this that it helps to be a girl. I flirted with the guys on the US gate and they moved cars so I could back up and then moved cones so I could drive back to the parking lot for the permit office. This all went pretty smoothly. I went into the office at 7.45 expecting to wait after Allie and Han's experiences. But no - the window was open and we were processed pretty quickly.
Then a fairly hairy intro to Mexican driving through Matamoros. We had no real idea where we were going. My GPS basically has a few of the major roads and at least tells you which direction you are traveling in. After a few wrong turns we eventually got onto the road that leads to Tampico - I-180. the journey was OK. 180 is interesting. Mexicans seem to be fearless in the face of close passes. On a two lane stretch its not uncommon to see a huge truck heading right at you in the process of overtaking someone on his side. There were crosses all along the sides of the roads - clearly there have been many victims of this driving style. I hit a pothole which kind of bumped my trunk open a little. No lasting damage seems to have been done.
We arrived in Tampico at around 4.30 and spent the next 2 hours looking for this stupid hotel. My friends know me as a tinsy bit anal - and in true style I'd booked hotels in advance in Tampico and Veracruz. This is a very stupid thing to do, I have decided, as we passed possibly 30 perfectly decent hotels with on-site parking searching for this Best Western. The more we searched the more determined I became to find this stupid hotel. Eventually we paid a cab $5 to lead us to the hotel (which is ridiculous - but at that juncture I would have promised him my first born).
At last, almost 12 hours since we left our hotel in Brownsville we arrived at the illusive Best Western in Tampico.
Progress report:
So how are we progressing:
8 stops down
Thurs Aug 28 - Baltimore
Fri Aug 29- Asheville
Sat Aug 30 - Nashville
Sun Aug 31 - Memphis
Mon Sept 1 - Dallas
Tues Sept 2 - Austin
Wed Sept 3 - Brownsville
Thurs Sept 4 - Tampico
4 to go...
Fri Sept 5 - Veracruz
Sat Sept 6 - Villa Hermosa
Sun Sept 7 - Campeche
Mon Sept 8 - Valladolid
Tues Sept 9 - Cozumel!!!!!

Dad is sure that he can find the hotel I booked in Veracruz easily: "its right on the sea front - you cant miss it" he promises. So he has convinced me not to cancel that booking. My plan is to get to the hotel at around lunch time and take a cab to see my immigration lawyer. Tomorrow we get out of here early.
My Mexican cell phone seems to be working but when I try to make a call a recorded message in Spanish says: "Bla bla bla asterisco bla bla 4", having the benefit of Allie's blogging on the subject I know asterisco (sp) to mean *. The *4 thing seemed to work a few times but now does not want to work. My US cell phone minutes are finished and I don't have the energy today to work out how to use the Mex cell.

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