Our Mexican adventure is over, and we said "Adios" to Alamos, the little Mexican town we had all grown so fond of. We took two days to get back, since it was over 400 miles from Alamos to Nogales at the border. On bone-jarring, pot-holed Mexican roads, one day would just be too punishing. So Friday we drove 242 miles in 6 hours with a brief 30 minute stop for lunch, from Alamos to Hermosillo, staying overnight in a small RV park just north of that big city. Saturday, we drove 169 miles in about 4 hours, but waited another hour and a half in line at Customs at the border.
The actual inspection took about 5 minutes. They asked if we had any of the prohibited meats, fruits or vegetables and of course we said, no, since we had cleaned out the refrigerator before we left. They looked in the refrigerator anyway, but found nothing. Later I would see that I still had a couple ham steaks in the freezer which I had forgotten, but apparently they didn't see them. As I expected, they confiscated my two little plants, an African Violet, and an Aloe plant.
Although the inspector saw our dog, she never asked about our dog food (you're only allowed a very limited amount), nor did she ask to see any vaccination or health certificates for the pets. We made a point of topping off our fuel tank at the Pemex station before we hit the border, as diesel there was only about $2.00 a gallon. We had seen on the news that diesel was approaching $4.00 a gallon in the states, and we took a sharp inhale as we passed the first gas station in the U.S. and saw diesel advertised at $3.99 per gallon. Yikes! Another good reason to travel in Mexico.
As I sit here in little Patagonia, AZ, typing this on Sunday, I'm remembering last Sunday in Alamos. Sunday is their public market day. The market is set up in the dry wash or arroyo. They sell everything there. It's not just a fresh produce market. There are some "flea market" type vendors selling all kinds of used goods, as well as clothing vendors, and even hardware vendors. In fact, one vendor was even selling large appliances: washers, dryers, refrigerators. Lots of fresh produce stands, and even a vendor with cases of hot dogs, pork chops and other meats. And of course, the usual assortment of taco stands. One vendor was grilling chicken and I took some home. Another was serving up fresh sweet strawberries which he spooned into a cup and then poured a sweetened cream over it. Yummmmmmm.
Sunday evening, there were festivities in the church square, where families gathered, children danced and teenagers "cruised", walking the perimeter of the square, girls in pairs, boys in "packs". It was a beautiful evening and the square was as lovely lit up at night as it was in the sunny daytime.
Our last full day, Thursday, we hurried to see the things we hadn't done, like drive up to the Mirador, which means scenic overlook in Spanish. A spectacular view of the charming town in one direction, and a lovely serene view of the mountains and land in the other. This is a very popular venue with local families on Sundays. Note picture with Gazebo and benches. Even up here there were vendors selling trinkets, and I bought a little decorated bowl which I will use to serve Guacamole in the future and remember my time here.
And we visited the local museum. After we each paid $10 US and walked in, I realized everything was written in Spanish. Well, duh! What did I think? Fred tired of the outing easily and waited outside. Doug went off on his own, and JoAnn and I wandered the entire museum. With our limited knowledge of Spanish, by looking at the exhibits and analyzing the captions, we actually pieced together quite a bit of information. We were quite proud of how much we could actually understand. The museum had wonderful artifacts from the mining era. And I was amazed at the high society that existed there, at least among the rich Spanish families.
I was impressed with a photograph of the town taken in 1868. Imagine, a photograph from 1868! I also snapped a picture of the caption to try to translate later. While going through my photographs of town taken from the Mirador, I found one that captured the exact same image of that old photo, giving a comparison to what it looked like then, and now.
We also found the local Panaderia (bakery), which I had only just read about. They have a wood fired oven that turns out all manner of rolls and sweets. We got there just as the first buns were coming out, what a wonderful aroma. I ended up going back an hour later for the next batch of cookies and rolls.
Everywhere in Mexico you see a lot of stray dogs. They are friendly enough, but roam freely. There were two dogs in our campground. They weren't stray in the true sense of the word, but lived outdoors on the premises and roamed at will. The white one was named Paloma. I never learned the name of the brown one, so I named him "Rusty".
Early on, they seemed to adopt me, and I, them. I knew that feeding them would only cause problems, but after a couple days, I couldn't help it. When we would come home from dinner, they followed our truck from the gate to our rig. I started to feed them from the doggie bags. Then started cleaning out the refrigerator, giving them leftover meat and cold cuts. When I didn't have any of that, I gave them plates of Boo Boo's dog food. Soon they came to visit in the morning too. And finally, they made themselves right at home, sleeping in our lounge chairs.
I cracked up the first time I opened the door and saw Paloma sitting in my lounge chair. Soon "Rusty" joined her, sitting in Fred's chair. You would have thought they were our dogs, and very spoiled and lazy ones at that. I don't normally like bigger dogs with short shiny coats; don't like the way they feel. But I sure came to love these guys. And it was kind of sad to say goodby.
We loved our time in Mexico, most especially in Alamos. We left with mixed feelings. We were glad to be coming back to the U.S. Glad to come back to the land of diverse cuisine, glad to come back to good electric connections and consistent water flow. (The city of Alamos turns off the water about 9:00 in the evening, and back on in the morning. Fred read where the city is supplied by a cistern and it needs the evening to fill back up.) Glad to come back to a place where I can communicate easily. No matter how friendly the people, or how beautiful the ambiance, I was always keenly aware that I was in a foreign country. Before we return to Mexico, I will definitely make some attempt to learn enough of the language to communicate.
But the leaving was bittersweet. We loved the people. Even on the road back, at one of the toll booths, a uniformed worker smiled and held up a sign as we drove through, on which he had written "Good Travel". I know someday we will be back.