Day 576 – USA (TEXAS) and MEXICO: There and back again

I’m in the clear. I now have enough time to stay in the US in order to complete the journey to Los Angeles. Popped over the border at Eagle Pass, into Mexico at Piedras Negras today. And then popped back into the US. Hey presto, another 90 days.

Market street in Piedras Negras, Mexico

Rob Inglish, the guy who I have been staying with for the last three days was a legend and drove me all the way down to the border from Boerne, Texas. That’s a 2 and a hald hour drive. “I’ve never been down to that border before, and I’d like to get some vanilla…” he reasoned. A fantastic opportunity for me, and many many thanks to Rob for helping out in this way.

Market arcade in Piedras Negras, Mexico

We left Boerne at noon, just after seeing Rob’s wife and kids off. Liesl, Madeline and Cade were headed for Dallas for the weekend to visit friends. Rob wasn’t going. “As soon as I get near Dallas, I start to tense up,” he said. The Inglish family had lived in Dallas for some time before moving to Boerne, a small town of 10,000 people, and they seem to appreciate the slower pace of life and more rural surroundings. Rob and Liesl are both into eundurance racing such as Ironman events and triathlons. They are both very successful at what they do, Rob even having trained in Belgium as a cyclist.

With the Inglish family in Boerne, Texas, USA

But anyway, we arrived at the border at 3pm, and proceeded to park the car and wander across the border. There is no check at the US side of immigration. Noone seems to care if you leave the US. We walked the 500m across the bridge that spans the Rio Grande, the river that separates the US and Mexico. I was expecting a bigger river. It’s not as grand as the name suggests. No wonder so many illegal immigrants get across it each year into the US.

Entry into Mexico was interesting. No passport checks. Wander in and noone would ever know you entered. I wanted a stamp in my passport however, and had to ask for one. The official was perplexed and had to call his superior to find out if it was indeed OK to give me a stamp.

Church in Piedras Negras, Mexico

We wandered around the immediate vicinity of the border, in all the overpriced tourist markets. Rob found his vanilla, and we spent not much more time in the country.

Market shop in Piedras Negras, Mexico

The small taste of Mexico I did get however, has left me interested in traveling there a little more. It has that familiar and comforting lack of regulations that so many less developed nations have. The western world is so full of regulations and rules that as a traveler I feel trapped. Mexico has an exciting free feel to it. Not to mention the colour and vibrancy of the place.

Hats on sale in Piedras Negras, Mexico

But Mexico will have to wait for another day…first, I had to get back into the US. This was relatively painless however, the immigration officials more interested in my story than anything else. I was able to show them my website, assuring them that I wasn’t just trying to dodge the system and work in the US. They did however want to search my pack. Pulled everything out. Put it all back in again. I was out and back onto US soil by 5pm.

Then we drove all the way back to Boerne. 2.5 hours back. Again, Rob Inglish, what a legend. Thank you so much. Great fun.

So now it’s all go. I have an unconfirmed speaking engagement in Hemet, California, booked for the 28th of March, so I have 6 weeks to cover about 1,400 miles. Easy.