Saturday, August 27, 2005

We're back in San Miguel de Allende

By the time the Explorer was loaded we had the back filled up to the windows which isn't too bad for us because we have often brought down a FULLY loaded Explorer. But this time was a little different because we were loaded with electronic gear. A new HP desktop, a new high-end LCD monitor, a Epson 4000 inkjet printer which leaves a 36" square footprint and weighs about 85 pounds, and my camera bag plus I was bringing in a digital back and some other photography stuff for a friend. I figure we had roughly $15,000 worth of equipment. I was ready with some "invoices" should we need them but I was very nervous about what to do. Stop and declare or just keep going and see what happens at the checkpoint....red light/green light. The Customs declaration point is just over bridge #2 in Nuevo Laredo and I was still debating what to do as we got to the middle of the bridge. But then I see several cars with everything piled out of them on tables and the ground and I decided to take a chance and play dumb gringos.

We had left Houston about 9:30 AM on Friday and crossed the border about 3:00 PM. Shortly after we crossed the bridge on the road around Nuevo Laredo we passed two open truck loads of Mexican soldiers with weapons and bullet-proof vests ready for the drug war. From the bridge to the checkpoint needless to say I was worried. But we got a green light and went on our way with a sigh of relief. Actually I think we have only gotten a red light one time and that time we didn't have anything that might be "contraband." That time they asked us what we had in the car, we said personal stuff, they had Ned open the hatchback and said we could go. I don't think it would have gone that well this time if we had gotten a red light because that damn printer is so big it can't be kind of covered up with stuff.

Within the first 25 miles or so after the checkpoint we passed through two other checkpoints which is unusual. One was the Federal Police and the second one was the State of Nuevo Leon police. They waved us through but they had stopped some other people and were searching cars and trucks. I seems strange that these checkpoints were on the side of the highway for people going further into Mexico rather than on the side of the highway of people going to Nuevo Laredo where the drug war is being played out. In fact, all along Mex 57 on the way down we saw more police and Federal Highway police than we have ever seen so it appears that Mexico is stepping up police visibility.

We were making good time so instead of stopping at El Rancho about an hour from Nuevo Laredo, we went on to Saltillo and arrived there just in time for the traffic jams. But we checked into a hotel. By the way for any of you traveling with a moscata....that would be Taylor, the cocker spaniel at our house.......it is difficult to find hotels that will accept a dog. On the internet nearly all of them say, No Pets but we have found that if we show up and have the dog and pesos and promise that he will stay in his crate, that we can get a room. But we have friends who live part of the time in San Miguel and the rest of time on their boat at Isla Muejeres and they have had to start having their dog sleep in the car because they have been unable to find lodging that will let him stay.

This morning we left Saltillo about 7:30 AM and pulled up to our door here in San Miguel at 1:30 PM. No problems....just a long drive.

It was so good to walk into our house. When you come in the door you are in a patio and it was so lovely, cool and refreshing to step inside. The car is unloaded and parked in the parking lot. It may take a day or two to get all our stuff hooked up and working but it is good to be back.

10 comments:

TexinSYR said...

Hi Billie,
being a native Texan but living quite a ways fm it (Syracuse, NY) I enjoyed your comments...I lived in Spring several yrs and, yes, remember Fiesta, Blue Bell Ice Cream and some fo the best restaurants I've ever experienced...down in the Montrose. Do they still have Marvin Zindler and that crazy Furniture salesman jumping up and down?
But what caught my eye on your blog was your references to the Mexican soldiers geered up for the drug war. There was a couple of stories today out of Mexico about the Interior Minister of Mexico saying the drug war can be won, but that the US had to do more. Since you have lived in Mexico for a long time, what do you think?

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Brenda said...

Glad you had a good trip and got back safely.

BillieS said...

TexinSYR yes Marvin Zindler is still on TV and he just turned 84 years old. What a character. Mattress Mac is still selling furniture like crazy and has huge, huge showroom. The restaurant in Houston is very vibrant, lots of good eats in the Montrose area but also in Midtown where lots of townhouses are going up.
Billie