Marathon ride home
I boarded the bus at 9:00 in the morning in Puebla and spent the day rolling over the countryside from Puebla to Poza Rica. According to the weather it is 47 degrees in Texas. Brrrr. It was kinda crisp in Pubela when I left. The bus ride will last until 5 pm tomorrow. Approx 30 hours before I reach Houston. As I rode along I kept thinking about getting all my gear through customs OK. I was praying for a green light. Night fell somewhere along the mountain road and I slept until the bus stopped at a station. Everyone said, 'Off the bus'. That scared me to death coming out of a sound sleep. I had no one to ask if we were changing busses and did I need to take my carry on bag with me? Finally one lady managed to get across to me that we needed to stand on the bus loading dock and wait for the bus. I looked around me and none of the passengers seemed to be in a panic. I finally figured out that they had to fill the bus with gas and couldn't do it with the passengers on board. It didn't take long and the bus drove up to the platform and we all returned to our seats. That happened in Tuxpan. Sure put a fright in me, not knowing the language and being able to communicate. Kinda had to play it by ear and watch to see what the rest of the crowd was doing. I slept rest of the trip to Reynosa. We arrived about 4 in the morning. It had been raining. The taxi conductor at the bus station asked me if I wanted a taxi. He understood a little English and I asked him for a taxi that would take me to the Greyhound Bus station in McAllen. He went and searched the line of drivers and finally found one in the back of the line somewhere. The driver zoomed up to the front of the line, loaded my stuff up and we took off for the border; approx 10 miles. He kept praying to the plastic Jesus statue on his dash that we would get through customs. He knew just what line to get into and the border guard asked if I had any liquor, fruit or cigarettes. I told him no. I can't remember if I had to show my visa, but I must have. He was sleepy from the early hour and wet from rain, so after a few looks in the window at my bags and gray hair he waved us through the custom stop. The driver then began thanking the plastic Jesus and I must admit I said a few thank you's too. The bus station in McAllen was another 10 miles. When we arrived I thought the trip would cost 20.00. He charged me 50.00. I was so thankful for the ride and green light at customs I pulled out one of the last remaining pesos I had and paid him. He unloaded my bags, but didn't take them into the depot. I managed to get them hauled up to the ticket counter and buy my ticket to Houston. After that the ticket agent told me I could only have two bags on the bus. I couldn't believe it. I traveled all that way in Mexico without any problem and now, in the US I had 6 bags too many to take on the bus. I asked what I could do. He said I could ship them as freight. He weighted them and told me it would be 28.00. I pulled out my change purse and dumped the rest of the pesos I had on the counter and told him that was all I had left, which was about 26.00 and some change. He took it and checked my bags to go on the same bus I was going on. I was flat broke of pesos. There was a fast food place in the depot. I found 50 cents in my pocket and asked if I could get a coke for that. The man on duty gave me a cup and said it was on the house. Wow. How nice. Considering I still had 35.00 American money tucked in my pouch I kept for expenses on the way home. I had to wait until 8:00 a.m. to take the bus to Houston. It wasn't a greyhound bus but an inner connecting valley line that ran from McAllen to Houston. I found that surprising. We stopped once in a small town for about 20 minutes and then resumed the trip. We had to stop again when an immigration officer boarded the bus to find any illegal aliens. He asked me if I was a citizen. I was so surprised he would think other wise I stammered a 'Yes'. When we arrived in Houston it must have been around early afternoon. After stopping at three other bus station terminals we finally debarked the bus at the main greyhound bus station. One of the porters (a large black man) loaded my bags on a large dolly and told me he would watch it until my ride came. I called Linda and after a very nervous wait she arrived and the porter took my bags and me to the back parking lot and we loaded it all in her truck. I gave him a good tip. I was so glad I didn't have to watch my bags like a hawk anymore I finally relaxed. I was on home turf at last and time to find some good American food.
More later, Gay