Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Road to Tampico

We got up Monday morning ready to head to the border once again. We were told to be there before 9am, so we left by 8am hoping not to get stuck in too much traffic. We ended being stuck in a huge line that wasn´t moving. By the time it started going somewhere, we realized it was the line for the border, the wrong border crossing! There are 3 bridges going from Brownsville, TX to Matamoros, MX and each has a border crossing. Eduardo jumped out just in time to ask someone where to go and we were able to cut through traffic to get to immigration. We went inside and had to wait for the manager type guy to arrive. He told us he would give Eduardo the visa, but for $150.00. He said he called around and the other official was going to charge $280.00. Whatever!! You have to understand this money was going to this guy personally and we still had the pay the 3 visitor visas plus the car permit to Mexico. It was an expensive border experience. We were also told we had to give $20.00 to the checkpoint officer an hour down the road. We did all this just happy enough we were moving on with the trip.

The road to Tampico was not as bad as I had expected at all. I also had heard from several sources it would be a 13 hour drive and it didn´t take that long at all. I hadn´t even planned to reach Tampico. Once we got to the city, we were looking for the road that goes around the city opposed to going through. It´s a lot faster. As I was driving I noticed a policeman on a motorcycle behind me. I knew this couldn´t be good! He gestured for me to roll down the window and wanted me to pull over. I did this and Eduardo got out of the car to speak with him. He told him that our tinting on our windows was too much and we would have to pay him $300 or he would take us to a place where they would remove it for us. This was a bunch of crap of course! We then had to follow him to a place with not as many people watching. Eduardo told him he only had $20 and showed him his wallet. He said that wasn´t enough and that we needed to figure out what else we could give him. He was the biggest asshole ever!! After a LOT of negotiating, we finally got off with paying him around $50, some pesos, some dollars and went on our way.

We were so flustered by this experience that we got all turned around and went the wrong way several times. The police told us not to drive through town or we would get pulled over again. We finally found our way and decided to drive a little further to Tampico Alto. We reached Tampico Alto around 7pm and got a hotel. There were only 2 to choose from and we thought we got the better of the 2, but looking back who really knows! We had dinner and reluctantly got into our shabby beds and attempted to sleep.

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