I returned home early Friday morning after an twelve hour surreal black and white bus trip down from Tucson. The only color I can recall was the Nogales city border crossing which was colorfully lit with storefront signs. We arrived at the border around ten, Thursday night, and US border guards, who spoke perfect spanish, came on board first to ask to see all of our papers. They walked right by me and did not even look at my passport which I so dutifully opened for them. Off the bus, aduana took over and requested we put our bags on the conveyor belt, which did not run, so we had to push our bags along. We each had our turn to press the pass through button and from what I could see, everyone got a green light.
The trip home was very short compared to the trip north. On Monday, the fifth, I boarded a nice and roomy TBC bus in Alamos around nine pm.
We stopped at the large bus stations in Navajoa, Obregon, and Hermosillo and as many small bus stops in between that the driver found neccessary. Sometimes we would pick up passengers at these out of the way stops, but our bus was always full.
Things seemed to be progressing smoothly. I had seat number four, which is right up front behind the plexi glass barrier. I recommend this seat because you can see what the driver sees as you are barreling down the highway, straddling two lanes. You can also see what the driver does not see, which can be a bit worrisome. I know he saw the goats begin a short sprint across our lane because he swerved to miss them. But I am not sure he saw the large pile of rocks in the right lane until he looked in his large rearview mirror after he ran over two of them.
Several hours south of the border, near the town of Santa Anna, is a military checkpoint. I have told you about it before. It is the checkpoint that we believe the US government paid for and constructed and is only a bother if one is heading north. Because of the heavy Semana Santa traffic, it took three hours to get through the checkpoint. I do not recommend bus travel during the Easter week, unless you do not mind crying babies, loud talking hard of hearing grandmas, chirping chickens and old snoring men for a long extended period of time.
Getting off at the Nogales, Mexico bus station, taking the cab to the border and walking across the border worked like a charm. However, US customs did not mess with my bag or my passport. They did ask me if anyone had asked me to carry anything across the border for them. I had refused to take those chirping chickens, thank goodness.
The seven passenger shuttle concerned me a little after passenger number fifteen was loaded and all the bags were removed from the shuttle and thrown in a trailer that got attached at last minute to the van. I put on my seat belt but noticed no one else bothered. Arizona has that click it or ticket thing, but I did not know if that applied to fifiteen people in a seven people van or not.
Sure enough, at the new US border checkpoint at Tubac, Arizona, we were told to pull over so customs could see all of our papers. They ignored me once again, but checked thoroughly the papers of all the Mexicans onboard and asked our driver to open the trailer. The agents did not seem to mind that we were obviously overloaded in the people department and after waving us on, our driver proceeded to drive over the curb twice before we continued our journey.
At the airport in Tucson, I caught my breath and settled in for a four hour wait for my plane to leave and when my family picked me up in Dallas, we continued a northern drive for around an hour, and I calculated that I had been on the run for almost twenty four hours.
Although I moved away from the state in the early seventies and went to Santa Fe, there are just certain times of the year that make the Lone Star state a real gem. I believe April, and then September, are the best months to visit. The air is still cool in the mornings in April and then, cool in the September evenings. Days are lazy and warm, but there is usually a good breeze.
We had several adventurous country drives, down near Corsicana and Ennis, where we searched for Bluebonnet flowers. We were not disappointed as we saw fields of blue mixed in with the delicate reds and pinks of Indian Paintbrush. We baked bread, we baked praline cookies, we ate barbeque, we watered the lawn, we went to an art showing of one of my mother's paintings, we went to garage sales, we spent time out at my sister's farmhouse, we went and watched airplanes land at the small local airport, we watched tv!
This was a wonderful April trip. I may just have to go back in September and do it all again.
I would just probably travel differently...................
Senor picked me up at the small downtown bus station on Friday morning. I was already off the bus, sitting on an iron park bench beneath the cottonwoods. Several people I knew walked by as I waited................ a mother taking her daughter to school, one of the Alameda sweepers, the store owner from across the street and a man on his bike. We either waved to one another or chatted. It felt good to be off the bus, good to be sitting on something not moving.
At home, it all looked the same. I asked Senor what he had been working on and he showed me...........all little detail stuff that is important to making the bigger stuff work.
Then suddenly the water pump broke and Senor started hauling it out of the little locked storage area and laying it in the back of the truck so he could take it to the water pump fixer man and Umberto wanted to know if I had a good time in California and Cookies tried to bite me and I noticed that the dishes had not been done for awhile and that there was dust everywhere and two of my petunia plants looked dead. I sighed, it was good to be back home.