April 10, 2004

Hasta Luego Mi México

Well, it has been about a week since I returned to Minnesota. It is still early spring here, and it can be quite cold at times - at least compared to places like Mexico. I know why people live here, the booming economy and population, but I'll be damned if I know why I would ever want to be here any earlier in the year the than the first of May. But here I am. So I thought I would say a bit about my trip home.

I left Cuernavaca about 8:30 Monday morning, the 29th of March. I had decided to take the most direct route to Laredo and to use all the 4-lanes roads that I could - tolls or no tolls. An hour after leaving Cuernavaca Raphael and I were in Mexico City. As usual due to a traffic jam, it was almost two hours before we were north of the city. Things went fairly smoothly after that. Generally, you can drive between 70 and 90 mph on these roads - faster if you want to brave the few Federalies. We pretty much flew north. The weather was good, with a few rain showers as we neared Monterrey. The tolls are only high in two areas: Cuernavaca to Mexico City and the roads into and out of Monterrey. The total was about 550 pesos or about $50. Take away the three high tolls mentioned above, and the cost would have been about $25; still outrageous, truly highway robbery - but necessary if you want to move quickly. We covered the 750 miles to the border in 12 hours, which I considered outstanding time. Once again my car was searched by the army twice in one day for no damn good reason. Does it piss me off? Yes, it does. Why Mexicans put up with such outrageous behavior is beyond me. Anyway, we continued another 50 miles into Texas before stopping for the night.

The next day, Tuesday, was pretty uneventful. The road through Texas took us to San Antonio, Waco, and then we veered toward Dallas. I had decided to stop in Springfield and St. Louis to check out some family history. Plus, Raphael was head for Lacrosse where I planned to drop him off. We drove through Oklahoma and stopped in Joplin, Missouri, for the night. Eating diner at the local Applebees was a bit of a price shock. Food is so cheap in Mexico.

The next day, Wednesday, I stopped at the Wilson Creek Battlefield Park, near Springfield, to gather information on my grandmother's great uncle Horace E. Wright. He was mortally wounded at the battle and died four days later at the Springfield hospital. Then we pushed on to St. Louis. I found little more here, but we stopped at the library for about two hours. Then off again we drove through Illinois, Iowa, and into Wisconsin. We arrive late in the evening and I spent the night on the farm where Raphael works near Chaseburg.

On Thursday, the first of April, my 2400 mile journey from to Minneapolis was over, when I returned to Minnesota and my Betty. It felt great to be in a house that I knew so well. I had left nearly two month before. I had driven 8640 mile in the two months. Other than a spring cold I had no health problems. I had not spent all that much money. I had met many new and interesting people. Some of whom I hope to stay in contact for years to come.

Mexico is Mexico. It has its good and bad points. One of my goals was to see if I could live here for a while. I found several cities where it would be fun to live. Food is very inexpensive. Real estate is reasonable but not cheap. Most North Americans might call it cheap, but they have not been in South America. Many services are reasonable too. The people are good and friendly and kind. They love their families, they work hard, and they have wonderful music and dance and art. It is a bustling country, where the rich are really getting very rich. And life is much better for everyone than it was ten years ago. I would be glad to spend more time in Mexico.

Since my return, I was just getting use to being around the city again. Then I got a case of the stomacher flu. I have often gotten this while traveling but I rarely catch it in the US. I thought that it was ironic. Well I am better today. So, I will not be writing as much in the next month in this BLOG, but - when I do - I will let my regular readers know

Posted by bill at 12:00 PM | Comments (1)