“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers
of people who should be friends.”
Are We Still In Kansas, Toto?
Except for the huge border fence separating Mexico from the U.S.A., you would never know we'd left the States.
The roads are wide and smooth, the terrain Arizona-like.
We drive for a long time until we began to see 'pueblitos' in the distance that look distinctly 'Mexican.'
Yes, we really have left 'Kansas', Toto.
Smiling, we relax a little more, and start to feel some excitement. What had we been we so afraid of?
After what seems a long time, we approached customs.
There are two lanes to choose from - 'Nothing to Declare' and 'Items to Declare'. We chose the former. We're only carrying personal belongings.
We look around for some indication as to what we should be doing, but become more confused.
There are no stop signs, no directions of any kind. And while a man leans casually against a wall chatting with his com padre, he looks at us indifferently and provides no assistance.
Did we need to stop? If so, where?
Finally Greg comes to a halt, deciding it was better to stop then not to. We waited, and waited, all the while growing more nervous.
It's Not Right to Be This Nervous
Palms sweating, butterflies a flurry, I keep ordering the kids to be quiet. This is, after all, my first rodeo.
At last the chatty man approaches our vehicle.
Questioning Greg (part in English, part in Spanish) about what we were carrying in the ginormous totes attached to the outside of our SUV, he asks what our final destination will be (Costa Rica), casually looks inside the vehicle at each of us, then waves us on our way.
Why do I feel so relieved when they finally let us through? It's not as though we're fugitives on the run or we're trafficking children.
I suppose it's the adrenaline from doing something that's new, unfamiliar, unexplored.
It's stepping out of our comfort zone and exploring what's beyond those boundaries. It's the fear of the unknown.
When In Rome...
Following the signs that point toward Nogales, we see the Centro de Importacion de Internacional Temporal de Vehiculos.
Greg goes in to purchase our temporary vehicle import permit (see what else is required for driving in Mexico) and to get his passport stamped.
A few minutes later he returns and tells me to go in. I take two of the children with me, per the Mexican consulates instructions, so they can be added to my visa.
I timidly approach the official and wait for him to do his job. He starts speaking to me in Spanish. Or English. I'm not sure which.
Feeling a little nervous again, I'm able to catch enough from my limited language skills to understand that he wants me to get visas for the kids.
I explain in broken Spanish that I'm going to get my husband to help me translate.
Now I'm really nervous. What do we do? We don't have passports for the kids, is it going to be a problem?
The Mexican consulate in the U.S. said we didn't need visas for them, what is this guy talking about?
I let my husband go handle it while I wait in the car with the babies.
The result? The kids over two need their own visas, but I guess no passport is still okay. The youngest two were free and clear, no passport, birth certificate or visa required. How's that work?
Back on the road we follow the signs to Hermosillo, then a mad dash to San Carlos on the coast where we hope to get some beach time and spend the night.
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