Friday, September 09, 2005

Brownsville, Texas to Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico


(On May 13, 2012, I noticed that there was no blog entry for this date, which seemed unbelievable, as it was a pretty significant point in the journey – the first full day in Mexico. Finding that indeed no notes seemed to have been captured, or at least retained, from this day, I decided to reconstruct as best I could the events of that day.)

An e-mail sent to Drew, Susan and Jeff late in the evening:
I made it ten times as far on this foray into Mexico!

200 miles today. I’m at a new hotel in  downtown [Ciudad Victoria]. They don’t have internet hooked up yet (maybe tomorrow), but I can catch someone’s wireless signal from a stairwell higher up in the hotel!

Dinner: 3 tacos and a Pepsi for about $2.50. Now that’s more like it!

Tomorrow, I’ll probably turn towards Tampico and Veracruz, weather-permitting.

Buenos noches!
(Before leaving Brownsville, did I learn my lesson and stock up on more water this time? Can't recall.)

Border crossing into Matamoros, Mexico. This time I stopped to obtain the proper permits! The border station was a modern, clean structure, and there was little delay in processing my application. Paid a temporary vehicle import fee of 321 Pesos, about $30. Got my big official sticker attached to the lower center of the windshield, with instructions “don’t take it off!” Only officials can remove them.

This time, I think I was not even stopped at the immigration checkpoint, where the fuel pump had previously failed.

In Ciudad Victoria, I found the new Victoria Inn at the corner of Allende and Cristobal-Colon Norte. Parked the bike just outside the front door. I think they gave me a discounted rate of about $60. (I don’t think they were set up to offer breakfast.)

After settling in, walked south to the Plaza Hidalgo where a bustling open market was underway, drawing crowds of revelers. Families with many children. I did not take my camera along. I don’t think I was comfortable yet carrying it in foreign cities.

I had the feeling tonight that the adventure had begun. I had finally arrived! I was definitely out of my comfort zone.

Plaza Jose Maria Morelos is across street from my room, with vendors attracting customers to their carts into the evening. For dinner, I had tacos at a little hole-in-the-wall shop with roll-up steel doors - maybe at 123 Lauro Aguirre? (Found on Google Street Views from the multi-colored pillars inside the restaurant holding up the building!)

Surprised at what a bustling shopping center this city is, including "Waldo’s Todo a 1 Precio" (kind of like a Dollar Tree or Family Dollar store.)

Walked west on Hidalgo, through a city square and pedestrian plaza, turned north on Madero and found the quaint little Helados Sultana ice cream shop. Bought a cone and headed back toward the hotel on Morelos, a dark back street. I didn’t feel particularly uncomfortable walking these streets alone.

At the hotel, I went out in pursuit of a wi-fi signal, exploring the upper floors (the upper floors not completed yet?) and even trying the outdoor fire escape where I finally caught a signal.

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