Monday, March 17, 2008

What can I say about yesterday? It certainly didn’t go according to plan, despite the fact that we managed to leave more or less on time. We pulled out of Totonaka just before seven o’clock in the morning – Roger, Chantal and Terry in their vehicle, we in ours. At various points during the day we met them again, including a fuel stop at Altar, where we commiserated about the horrible driving conditions on Hwy. 15, the main north-south highway. It has deteriorated markedly since last year. Driving it is a rattly-bangy experience at best, and there are potholes that are downright scary. We were very, very glad to get to Hwy. 2, which runs more or less east-west just below the American border.

As we traveled north, the weather deteriorated. We had rain, and even some hail, but then the sky cleared again, but it stayed cold. Eight hours after we left San Carlos, which is to say, at 3 p.m., we arrived at Sonoyta, the border town. Robin and I arrived first. It was quite a while before we saw Roger et al in our rear view mirror. They were in the other lane, about ten vehicles back. There was plenty of time to watch for them, as we weren’t going very fast. Robin and I try to switch drivers every hour, so we continued to do that in Sonoyta. During one of my one-hour stints, I traveled 2/10 of a mile. Roger would overtake us, then we would overtake him. In all, we spent five hours in the line-up for the border. That, in itself, was horrid. The experience was made worse by the fact that we were surrounded by drunken children. That was just depressing.

The idea had been to get out of Mexico before Semana Santa, when all the Mexican people get holidays and they all rush for the seashore. What we hadn’t figured on was that this was the end of Arizona’s Spring Break, so every kid in Arizona had spent the week in Mexico, presumably in the border towns, and now it was time for them to go home. They had a wonderful time hopping in and out of each other’s cars, drinking (including the drivers), wandering off and leaving their cars unattended, dancing in the street (that part was kind of cute), barreling up the wrong side of the road and then barging into the line ahead of people that had been waiting for hours, and generally being total pains in the ass.

One thing did rather fascinate me, and that was the baggy pants phenomenon. One guy, one of the street dancers, was wearing charcoal grey jockey shorts. They came up to about his belly button. On top of them he wore royal blue boxer shorts, maybe, or some kind of shorts. The waistband of those was at hip level – maybe six inches below the navel. Finally, he wore some sort of jeans with a wide, studded belt. The belt went around him just about at the bottom of his buttocks. The outfit defied gravity. I suspect it was all held together with Velcro, or Crazy Glue. The lowest of his crotches was at knee level. I was, and I remain, baffled.

I had a lot of time to ponder the fact that there is no legal drinking age in Mexico, and to wonder what happens to these kids when they get to the border. Surely somebody is going to notice – or maybe the border guards have more important things to worry about than thousands of kids DUI on Arizona roads.

Well, as all things do, this passed. We got to the border station and the border guard chatted with us for about twenty seconds. He decided we looked okay (or he knew there were still several thousand cars behind us), so he waved us on. Robin went into the office to have his passport stamped for insurance purposes. That took another five minutes or so. Then we were on our way to Ajo, where we have now spent the night. We came to La Siesta, our favourite stopover here. The price has gone up from $20 to $25, and they only had a space available in the back forty – where the wi-fi won’t work – but we didn’t care. We were tired. We did stop at a Quicky Mart or something in the town, where Robin bought a microwaveable soup. That was his dinner. I had ramen. Then we tried to get the sound of engines out of our ears, and we wondered what had become of Roger and Chantal and Terry. The last time we saw them, they were at the border crossing. They were in the second lane from the left. We were routed way over to the right, on the other side of a building, so we couldn’t see them any more. They were supposed to be coming here, but they didn't. Hmmm. They probably pulled in back at Why. (Why not? As JJ would say.

Today we'll just keep a lookout for them as we head toward Quartzite.

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