Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Traveling Home

We left Austin shortly after lunch on Monday and drove to El Rancho about an hour and a half outside of Nuevo Laredo. I kept thinking as we drove that it was as if I was seeing the area between San Antonio and Laredo for the first time. I know that we have driven that area at this time of the year before but maybe they have gotten more rain this year because it was so green and there were still so many wild flowers. It was really pretty.

We zipped across the bridge from Laredo to Nuevo Laredo and as we drove along the Rio Grande and around the town on the by-pass, we were seeing more development. A new Holiday Inn Express looks like it will soon be opening. There are some new housing developments and a new Ford Dealership on the corner of the by-pass and Mex 57. That intersection that has always looked so ratty had been spiffed up a bit with some planters in the esplanade and the venders weren't there to attack our car while we waited for the light. Shortly after that we saw another new Dealership, Chrysler I think it was. This made me start wondering about what is happening in Nuevo Laredo with the drug war as well as economically. I've tried a few googles looking for some current news about Nuevo Laredo but all I'm finding are the articles about the drug war from a year ago. We never drive through town, just around the by-pass so I don't know if the day traffic from the USA has returned or not. If any of my readers have current information about Nuevo Laredo, I hope that you will post it.

At the immigration station on the other side of Nuevo Laredo, we were stopped by Mexico's army. They had a tank with a soldier fully armed and ready peering from the porthole or whatever that hole on the top is. All of the soldiers had weapons and they looked quite ready for battle. They were stopping cars both entering and leaving Nuevo Laredo. They asked us to step out of the car and they went through it although we did not have to take the luggage out. They hit on the side panels and floor, looked under the dash and seats, in the glove compartments etc. Then they told us we could go on. We got the green light and we were on our way back home.

We were stopped again by the Army somewhere around Matehuala. Again they asked us to get out of the car and they did the same search. Ned asked one of the soldiers what they were looking for and he said drugs and weapons.

If you are looking for a place to spend the night between somewhere in Texas and San Miguel, El Rancho is a great place. It is right after the first toll booth on the Mex 57 cuota road. The rooms are clean and comfortable, there is a gas station, a restaurant, Church's chicken, a Subway, and a convenience store. They don't take dogs although we have been able to talk our way in with Taylor a few times. Taylor stayed in Mexico on this trip with a sitter so no problem. We went to the restaurant for dinner. Ned had a cabrito stew and I had a brochette of beef. It was all very tasty. The problem with the restaurant is that they say they open at 6:00 AM but that just means that their employees start to arrive at 6:00 AM. Up until this time the convenience store has been open at 6 but yesterday it wasn't. Still we headed on down the road and stopped near Monterrey for coffee.

Those of you who have driven from Mex 57 through Los Rodriquez to San Miguel know how bad the road is. Well some work has been done on the road especially through Los Rodriquez. The road paving has almost eliminated most of the topes through town but be careful because they could put them back in at any time. We also noticed that in general the town seems to have cleaned up a bit....yes it still has a long way to go.....and there are two new, very nice looking automotive stores. I don't know why Los Rodriquez needs two big automotive stores but they are there.

We drove up to our house about 2:30 PM. The weather is cooler than when we left and we slept well last night in our own bed. We had a wonderful time with family and friends but we're glad to be home.


wolverinemx said...

Welcome back!!!

The soldiers not only search drugs and weapons, they look for centroamericans too... it is a contradiction!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Billie, I'm doing a short project for a company with HQ in Laredo. The Laredo people tell me the drug wars have been good for the U.S. side because everyone prefers to do business on the safer side. Nuevo Laredo is hurting though because no one goes there to shop or eat or buy gas - too dangerous.

Bill O.

P.S. We had a very pleasant visit with Barbara Eckrote when she was here. She is good friends with Martha Taylor, our friend and neighbor.

wolverinemx said...

In the border, everyone prefers buy american things, some things because are cheaper (electronics, clothes, gas), the security is not the only reason.