About 15 kms to the Mexican border. The wall – between our kind of the world and the world on the other side. I feel like before an exam at med school. Dry mouth, pounding heart and stomach ready to puke. I don’t know why but this is how I feel and Tom has the uneasy feeling as well.
The day when we go into the unknown has finally come. Past 5,5 months have been adventurous, but we knew what to expect. Canada and USA are very close to the European lifestyle, so we didn’t really expect big cultural shock. There have been some small shocks but not too surprising ones.
“Are you not afraid to go to Mexico?” we stopped counting how many times we heard this question. Last time yesterday at the vet from another dog owner when getting the health certificate for the doggies. We both started being very allergic to this question, giving only short responses to this, mentioning US gun culture. Unfortunately, most of the people warning us have never been south of the border and all their information come from the news.
We’re approaching the border. There is obviously no wall (yet). There are lines of cars, but moving pretty steadily through the control. There’s a Belgian malinois lying in the cage, between the lanes and when he notices our dogs he starts moving impatiently. The officer asks me to open two of the panniers, one of them with food but he doesn’t want to examine it further. Phew, all our worries about the trail mixes and chia seeds are gone. We would have been pretty defensive if they wanted to take our food. There’s a sharp line between people we meet and our food and only some of them are welcome to cross it :-D.
“Is this it?” I raised my eyebrows at Tom. They know we’ve got the dogs, as they were barking at the Belgian but they don’t want to see their paperwork or them or the trailer. For this we spent 70$ at the vet yesterday! I ask the officer about our American visa that we are supposed to return on departure. He showed us where to go. There was another immigration officer who totally loved our dogs and looked after our bikes when we went back to the US side to return the visas. We took the pedestrian route of the border crossing that was lined with small shops (salbutamol inhaler was on offer) and people waiting for something. When we finally found the US Department of Homeland Security, there were 3 officers and they seemed pretty unaware of our need to return the visas prior to leaving the country. We left them the papers and can only hope they won’t bin it.
Then the Mexican immigration officer told us (in Spanish!!! and we got the point :))), that he needs to give us tourist visa as well. My question is what would happen to the visa situation if we didn’t go to see him originally to find where to return our US visa. We would probably just have many many troubles later when exiting Mexico. Also, the dogs’ paperwork goes unnoticed still. We say Adios! and head to Mexicali.
The traffic is … southern like :). Honking, fast driving but they seem to be noticing us in the traffic and letting us pass. Thankfully, our warmshowers host Roberto, medical doctor who allows cyclists to rest at his clinic, is nearby. What we noticed though, is the huge difference between Calexico and Mexicali (do you see the word game? ;-)). The streets look rough, few dogs chase us between the cars, people stare at us, some of them smile. From Roberto’s clinic, we can’t really walk the dogs anywhere, as the dogs from the surrounding houses, some of them having fences and some of them not, don’t appreciate their presence. This will be better once out of the city but now we’re in a cage.
Tom went to buy fresh fruit and veggies and a SIM card on his own and I stay with the dogs at the clinic. Btw dogs and the clinic. All the patients that we met in the waiting area are not surprised at all seeing our furry friends there. Imagine this in UK. Obviously we’re not staying in the patient area but still. Tom comes back with some treasures. 4 avos for 50 cents and an Opuntia cactus fruit. We will love this part of it!
We spent exactly 4 months in the US and cycled 5971 kms here. We loved the nature, didn’t like so much how the folks treat it. Trash, cars, roadkills. We met some great people here (no names but you know who you are and we will be forever grateful to the great universe we had the chance to spend time with you). Now off to the next adventure :).