Monday, March 27, 2006

Houston to San Miguel de Allende

The trip to San Miguel was easy as 900 miles of driving can be easy. But we broke it up into two days. We left Houston about 11:00 AM and drove to about an hour on the other side of Nuevo Laredo spending the night at El Rancho.

Nuevo Laredo is always a worry and this time I needed to stop and get a visa as my FM-3 was expiring on the day we left. I don't know how it is in the downtown area of Nuevo Laredo because we always go on the by-pass around town. But on the by-pass it was very tranquilo along the Rio Grande. There are lots of soccer and baseball fields along the river and they were all filled with people and games. Nothing seemed amiss. No signs of the drug wars, just people going about their lives. However I have read that many of the wealthy Mexicans are moving out of Nuevo Laredo. Also day-trippers from the USA have slowed to a trickle and that is creating a very bad impact on most of the businesses in Nuevo Laredo.

This picture was made just as we left the immigration place where you get car permits and visas. Getting there is an adventure. The street signs are now a "little" better but it is so counter to our normal sense of the rules of the road. You are on the right side of the highway going east and you need to turn all the way across the traffic coming west and then back in a U-turn to also go west on a road on the other side of the highway. The road that leads to the immigration offices parallels the highway and is two lanes although it isn't marked very well and you are surprised to see cars heading toward you. In this picture the Rio Grande is to our left and the four-lane highway is to the right.

The next morning we were up at 5:00 AM and back on Mexican highway 57. The light of the rising sun is beautiful on the mountains. Just past the first toll-booth on the Cuota road lots of truckers had stopped to have desayuno (breakfast). It is amazing how so many little buildings spring up seemingly overnight add a few plastic tables and chairs, a grill and you have a truck stop/diner or in the case of this toll-booth, you have many diners.

It is really beautiful coming through these mountain passes in the early morning light. I love seeing the big sky. The stretch of the horizon. The tiny villages tucked here and there on the mountain sides. The shapes of the cactus across the plateau leading to the slope of the mountains. The open highway stretching into a curve. The spring green of the huisache and mesquite against the raw umber and ochres.

As we drove down the mountain and into San Miguel de Allende as always I was thrilled to see the town spread out across a little valley and up the sides of the mountain. And at this time of the year it is dotted with the most amazing purple color of the blooms of the Jacaranda tree. So beautiful. After we have settled in I'll make some pictures to post.

Everything was good at the house. One of the orchids is outdoing herself. When I left she had just lost her blooms but it looked like she might be putting out some auxiliary spikes on the main spike. Sure enough, she did produce two small auxiliary spikes. One orchid is open and two more are about to open.

Enough for now. I have to get in some fruits and vegetables. Meg is coming over for dinner.


Garry Ladouce said...

Hey, Goodluck in Mexico;

Anyway if it is of any help, make sure you brush your teeth with bottled water and do not put your hand to your mouth! I practiced these two things while in Mexico and I got by without once getting sick except on the last day. What a wonderful plane ride that was! Caught something on KLM after a month in Mexico!!! But you probably already know that-- about the teeth and hands I mean.


Anonymous said...

Greetings Billie,

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Anonymous said...

Hi Billie - Great photos as always - you can even make a shot through a car window interesting ;-) Very cold here this morning - those warm clear skies and coffee are warmimg me up. Adios - Juan