Welcome to Mexico - the desert side

Wednesday, July 4, 2012
We basically drove all day, both of us in rather testy moods to begin with.  Have you ever lost something that you think you really needed while traveling? Something perhaps of usually little consequence but it a very annoying loss at the time.  Where could it go - your entire life is packed in one little vehicle.  This always happens to me, every trip at least once.  I lost my facial sunscreen somewhere. 

We actually drove across the border to MEXICO today! We drove for an hour to the customs office where they made us abundantly aware of the fact that we did not have a vehicle permit to drive in Mexico.  At this point we were an hour from the border. Ken turned around and headed north not really knowing where we would get our permit.  We went all the way back to the border. We were more than just testy after that waste of time and gas.  Sparks were flying. Somehow we managed without being too silly with our annoyance, we filled out the proper paper work and got our permit.  That took an hour and a half of our time.  We than drove the hour back to the same customs guy who waved us through.   We drive, drank cold coffee and ate sunflower seeds - not that exciting.

We got a bit lost at our destination of Chihuahua.  We had to boondock a signal from a hospital for a Google map close up of this city.  We were close to the hotel - Best Western Mirador. It was nice, classy, indoor pool and has great food.

Thursday, July 5, 2012
We decided to walk from our hotel to the Zona Historica .  In the government house we saw huge murals.  It was a typical gov't house with at least three stories and an inner courtyard.  This one was covered with a giant white tarp, likely to keep out the rain and the birds.  The local artists were selling their art in the store we stopped at and took pictures.  Walking into the store you could smell the pine needle baskets from the Copper Canyon area.

Friendly - Looks like dogs terrorizing deer

 Once the walking temperature became too hot  we returned to the hotel and began our journey down the toll highways through the desert of central Mexico.

We drove and drove and drove some more.  We stopped and paid at eight different toll booths, paying 597 pesos.  We discovered our new back speakers work well as we had them cranked listening to Peter Frampton Comes Alive - well you have to do something on a boring drive.

Every time we stopped to stretch our legs there was the immediate realization of just how hot it was outside. The scenery, if that was what it could be called, was flat, low lying bushes and a bit of rocky dirt.

Torreon, our destination for the day, seemed like an industrial city.  

We followed the Goggle maps blue dot to our hotel which was in the Zona Historica. It was modest accommodation which we almost did not stay in.  We parked on one side of the building and as we walked to the front we saw about two dozen federal police officers and about six official vehicles - scary. Oh, and they were dressed in full body armour.  They even had desert camo scarves on along with black masks and machine guns.  I heard Ken quietly say"was up" to one guy, then "esta bueno" to another who replied "si".  We kinda floated up to the front desk probably looking like two deer trapped in head lights.  We found out from the desk clerk that all of the policia  live at the hotel and had for the past two years.  When I looked behind the desk I saw evening the snack laid  out for the boys along with galloons of purple drink.

Once registered in the less than desirable hotel we walked the small zorcola which had music playing.  We discovered a big circle of chairs with people watching someone doing kareoke. Ken ordered a small pizza and we shared it in the park with the kids all making out around us.

Friday, July 6, 2012
We woke up and decided to leave our less than desirable room quickly - we went for the free breakfast.  We again walked before it got too hot, although it was hot anyway.  There were all the rest of the people going about their daily business of work, etc.

Google maps told us a certain route to leave Torreon but Ken looked on the map and thought it was a longer route than we should be taking.  We went the shorter way. We came to the realization that Google maps picked the longer route for a reason, google suggested the toll route not the free route.  That meant we had to dodge people, topes and traffic.

Once we left Torreon the scenery had more trees and was more mountainous.  The dirt became a reddish colour.

It seemed we had never would never reach Zacatecus.  We had stayed here before for several weeks, about four years ago, and loved it so we were anxious to return. 

 The name of our hotel had changed from Hotel Del Bosque to Hotel Baruk.

Once we walked down the hill into the main part of the city or Centro Historic we realized our favorite restaurant, "Rice and Beans" had disappeared.  We went to a favorite Argentinean  restaurant.  Classy service and place. The best oil and bread we ever had. Garufa. All in all Zac. seemed the same but more up scale.

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