Saturday, June 16, 2012

Time Passed Quickly

Last week went by in a whiz.  This time last week I was at my friend Martha's.  From there I went to my daughter's house to help her move and then to my brother and sister-in-law's house for a short couple of days visit, back to daughters and then by Wednesday night I was in Laredo.  Ready to cross home to Mexico.  It was 108 degrees at 8PM in Laredo.  I stayed in the air conditioned room plotting my escape the following day to cooler temperatures and little traffic.

On the news that evening was a State Dept warning telling all American citizens not to travel in Mexico because there might be a retaliation for shutting down a horse farm operation in Oklahoma!  Really?  How preposterous.  Ridiculous.  Do they think news travels fast in Mexico?  Do they think they read the US news?  Honestly, just ludicrous.  

I headed out in my usual fashion the next morning.  Having the car checked at the Shell station on Hwy 35 which has one of the few attendants left in America, I think.  He checks the tires, water, fluids, etc.  Very serious when I tell him I'm driving nine hours alone to San Miguel.  They always tell me to have a good journey.......always? 

Next I pay $3.00 to US Customs to leave the USA.  Then cross the Rio Grande - the scene for some of sadness or elation.  As I come up to Mexican customs I always enter the "do not declare" lane.  One can either get a green light which means you don't have to stop to be inspected or the red light which means a conversation and possible search.

I always speak English - an advantage for me.  For them, believe it or not, most agents do not speak any English even though they are less then three miles from the USA.  The conversation is, "Where are you going?"  I tell them home to San Miguel de Allende.  The name of the town always elicits a smile.  Then they ask if I have anything to declare and I say, "No".  Then they ask if I will open the back of the SUV.  They look in and then tell me to have a good journey.

Off I go.  Next stop is at about sixteen miles where they ask for my document that shows I have permission to be in Mexico.  My FM-3.  Then they smile after looking at it and wish me a good journey.  Now my heart is full of happiness as I know in an hour or so I will be seeing mountains and vast amounts of wildflowers

Little traffic, fabulous  toll roads.  These roads are four lane divided highways all the way..........

Music is playing - this trip Merle Haggard, Leon Redbone, Norah Jones, Steely Dan, The Platters, and many more.  Usually I listen to books on tape but this trip I just wanted to rethink some things and enjoy the views.

Animals I saw grazing next to the road this trip - lots of horses, goats, sheep, burros, cows and a few stray dogs here and there.  Why do the shepherds always graze their goats right up to the road?  I decided because it is on an incline.  Any other thoughts?  A few animals crossing the road - especially cows.  Can you imagine driving at night and hitting one of those?  THAT is why people don't drive at night.  Open range.

Next thing I know I'm making the turn at the San Miguel exit onto a 2 lane road through the most beautiful farmland where broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, onions, asparagus and who knows what else grow.  Much for export, some for us.  The mushroom farm is all grown for Whole Foods in the USA.  Farther north I drove through apple orchards and lots of potato farms.

As I get closer to the house, a steep, steep decline on the cobblestoned road tells me that the next turn will be my street.  As I look up San Miguel is displayed in all its glory and my heart flips.  Always my heart flips.

It's my "welcome home" after a good journey



You made me feel like I was travelling in the passenger seat with you.
HOME SWEET HOME, there is nothing like it.
Have a great week rediscovering yours.
Belinda x

Babs said...

Thanks Belinda - I'm doing exactly that and enjoying the coooool breezes too.

Dan in NC said...

Driven to SMA 3x, but find it is less expensive to fly into MEX, and take the bus into town. It is a long haul to SMA from NC, and although the convenience of having a vehicle in town is wonderful, I have found that NOT having a car makes the town more personable. Walking SMA slows down the Mexican experience to the level that allows the full impact of the town to soak into the "reality" of the visit. It is a great way to discover the "nooks and crannys" of this fab town. Taking the local buses is a fantastic way to explore the outlaying areas on the cheap, and gives one a chance to see colonias you would not consider otherwise! Good Grief! Wish I was walking there right now!
Dan in NC

Babs said...

I SO agree with you Dan. I couldn't wait to get home so I could park the car and be able to walk again. THAT is not possible in Houston. I felt like I was floating yesterday when I was striding down the hill. Many, many people live here without cars and do just fine. That's one of the
great things about SMA.

Steve Cotton said...

Nice to have you back in country. I will see you soon.

Babs said...

Looking forward to it!

Cheryl said...

Wow that last line brought a tear to my eye because that is how I feel EVERYTIME I come back to SMA! What a wonderful town! I have never driven it, but will one day from Dallas. Thanks for the trip.

Marilyn Krichman said...

Babs, That post was just lovely! Made me remember the only time I ever made that drive; but mostly made me remember that 'homecoming' feeling - no matter which home you're coming back to after an absence. Welcome back! I don't know you, only follow your blog, but I'd love to meet you one day in SMA.
Marilyn K.

Babs said...

Thanks Marilyn for posting. AND thanks for following the blog. I'm usually "on the bench" in the jardin for about an hour each Monday and/or Friday from about 11:30 til 12:30. It's one of the reasons I came to Mexico - to sit and watch the world go by.......I call it my "discover channel" time. So if you're ever down that way....say "Hi"