Back to the USA- Don’t mess with Texas
San Antonio, Texas
8 y 9 de Agosto, 2011
Zacatecas a San Antonio: 7 hs a Nuevo Laredo, 2 hs en la frontera (la de México, 10 min en la de USA), más 2 hs a San Antonio
Arrancamos a las 6 am y todavía era de noche. Teníamos un largo camino hasta llegar a la frontera. Muchos mexicanos nos contaron que pasaban cosas feas en el norte y para no arriesgarnos nos fuimos directamente hasta USA. Después de 7 hs llegamos a la frontera, tomamos un puente nuevo llamado Colombia que casi no tenía gente y aunque tardaron bastante del lado mexicano, pasado el mediodía estábamos de vuelta en USA. Las primeras impresiones al llegar no fueron las más positivas: por las rutas de Texas sólo se veían hoteles y negocios, la gente es enorme, gorda, las porciones son increíblemente grandes, la comida casi toda chatarra y los autos gigantescos (el nuestro de pronto parecía un bebé). 2 hs más tarde estábamos en San Antonio. También nos sorprendió la cantidad de banderas de Texas que vimos ya que ni sabemos como es la de Massachusetts. Una ciudad no muy grande, con un único atractivo: el riverwalk (un paseo por el lado de un río), lleno de restaurante y negocios. En Texas hacía un calor insoportable (entre 35-40 C todo el día). Al día siguiente, como hacía tanto calor, decidimos ir a Seaworld (una especie de disneylandia de agua y animales marinos). Nuevamente la gente enorme nos llamó la atención, al igual que los tamaños de la comida y el tipo de comida que se vendía. Vimos varios shows y aprovechamos las piletas. Ya de noche nos volvimos a la ciudad.
Back to the U.S.A
A few mexicans we have found along the way have told us that things ‘do happen’ in northern mexico and that the safest time to drive is between 6 am and 2 pm. If I remember correctly this was only the second time in the last six months that we set an alarm clock. We were ready to leave by 6.10 am and it was still completely dark but we decided to get going towards the border anyway. It was not until an hour later that the sun started to show up. We also hadn’t seen a sunrise in quite a long time. The long drive was uneventful, stopping only for gas and food. Even though we still have a month before we arrive in Boston, driving towards this last border we felt like the trip was coming to an end. E still talks about extending the trip but it is mostly for him to dream about it.
At the Nuevo Laredo border we followed the signs to the ‘Colombia’ crossing that promised a faster way to San Antonio. Colombia is a ~30 mile detour but less busy than the bridges that go through Nuevo Laredo. Indeed, the huge border building in the Mexican side was empty. E still spent over an hour going from one place to another, filling papers, getting back the US$400 deposit we had paid to enter the car and paying a fee we hadn’t paid. The US immigration side crashed all records at under 2 minutes (no customs needed to enter the car since we have US plates). We drove up to a window and broke the first rule even before entering by getting too close to the car ahead of us. After being signaled to back up we drove up to the window, handed our documents, answered a few questions and on we went. First country not to have a “Welcome to ThisCountry” sign, but fortunately the state of Texas did welcome us. We took an empty highway towards San Antonio and arrived almost 11 hours after leaving Zacatecas.
First impressions of the USA (only the bad things): fat people, huge (unbelievable) serving sizes, hard to get a decent meal on the road, fast aggressive driving (it feels like passive-agressive driving here, especially on the highways when needing to change lanes or exit) and ‘shopping’ seems to be the main attraction everywhere (when we ask about attractions people point us to places eat or shop). Also for the first time our car looked small compared to most other cars on the road.
We spent two nights in San Antonio under oppressive heat. The city is nice, with big open spaces and a nice ‘riverwalk’ that goes through downtown. We decided to cool off in Seaworld that nowadays is more a water park than an animal park. We declined the ‘all you can eat all day’ option and still had a good time.
Next stop was Houston to visit some old friends. We stopped in Austin for lunch and found many cows sitting on the streets. There’s probably a reason for that but we didn’t ask. T and M were too tired to go through a tour of Congress so we skipped it and kept driving.