We’re spending the weekend at mi Güela’s en México. Which means an eight-hour drive to get there and another to get back. And while we usually drive out on Friday night, this time we left early Saturday, early this morning. That’s what had us up on the road by 5:30 a.m. this morning. my “trunk” was packed sky-high for a weekend trip for 4 people.
Ever taken a road trip in to the Valley in Texas? I grew up on these trips, either from Mexico to Houston or Houston to Mexico with 10 minutes notice to pack. We’d all get into my Dad’s van and entertain ourselves by looking out the window while the world whizzed by. It was usually nighttime and we were much more entertained by the shadows than the harsh sunlight on dusty land.
Arianna went out dancing last night, so I got stuck with driving duty today. It really wasn’t that bad, but by the time we got to Victoria I really needed some coffee.
We stopped at this taquería in Refugio. The only reason I know the restaurant is that the Adame buses that go to Roma stop there for food. Mi Güela takes the buses all the time and raved about their gorditas until we made an effort to stop there. let me tell you, gorditas aren’t the only good thing on the menu. My Mom and I had machacado, Juan had migas and Arianna had gorditas for breakfast. The coffee sucked, but the food was really good.
We stopped again, for gas, in Falfurrias I think. And that’s about when I lost cell phone access. An hour or so later we reached Roma. We always make it a point to stop in Roma to fill up (even though I only need a quarter tank), get some sodas and go to the bathroom before crossing the border.
The thing about making a trip over and over is that you develop routines. W always stop at the same Exxon station in Roma. We frequent the same rest stops and restaurants along the way. It becomes familiar.
The line at the bridge in Roma was horrendous. Holidays are like that. We saw more state troopers out this weekend than I’d seen in a long time. Because we all still had the permits we took out over the summer, we drove the extra 20 miles and crossed at Falcon Dam.
Those of you who don’t go to Mexico, especially if you don’t’ drive there, don’t know that you have to take out a “tourist” permit to get into the country. The permit is valid for 180 days. Then you have to get another one for your car, a temporary import permit, also valid for 180 days. They’re a hassle to get and you can’t get them at Falcon Dam, even though you can cross from the States into Mexico and vice versa. That’s one reason why very few people go through there. another reason is that there isn’t anything there but the dam, no shops or anything, so it’s not very appealing.
There were only 2 cars ahead of us at Falcon, and they didn’t even ask us for Ids. We _were_ stopped by 2 military checkpoints, one before Cd. Guerrero and one before Paras. The second crew did a once-over of our luggage. Both did the whole where-are-you-going, where-are-you-from bit. The third checkpoint was the reviso aduanal, and that’s the only pace I had to produce an ID and show the permits for my car and myself. It’s also the place where they would have impounded my car if my paperwork wasn’t in order.
Getting to mi Güela’s house takes less than an hour once you get into Mexico. So we were here by 2 p.m.; starved and hot and grimy form the trip.
The first thing we did was say hi to the folks. The second thing was to go to Elena’s restaurant and get a few order of milanesa to eat. Then we all took a 3-hour nap in my Güela’s living room, on the floor, in front of the AC. It was, after all, 105 degrees outside.
As soon as I get the energy, I’ll drive around town and think about my days on these streets. We’ll take our luggage to our house (yes, we own a house here) and take showers with cold water and think about growing up in this place.
Right now, however, I’m going to find myself an ice-cold Coke and sit in the shade some more.