After our first attempt at the Mexico US border crossing and basically no sleep we were up at 6:30am to start our many phone calls to Erica… Her phone really could not have picked a worse time to play up! It took until lunchtime before we could even get through to her message bank.
We were very stressed as we didn’t know where we were and even if we should be in the country! We went for a walk to look for a phone box since we thought maybe the hotel one didn’t work as we weren’t getting through. I was hoping to find internet too as knew Erica would be on messenger at work. I found a phone box but still no luck. When we asked people about an internet cafe, we received weird looks. In fact just us speaking got us weird looks. I guess they’re not used to our type around here 🙂
In the end, I decided to hire a car! It was either that or stay another day in the dodgy hotel as we couldn’t walk around with all our stuff and with a car we could drive to Erica’s. We went to the nearby airport and got a car! What an experience this turned out to be. I have never driven on the “right” side of the road before and its bloody tough!! The thing I found the worst was not turning corners like I suspected (although I had to really concentrate every time i did that to not end up on wrong side of road), but keeping in my lane. No matter how hard I tried I kept drifting over to the right.
There are also slightly different road rules (like you can turn right at any time even with a red light) and the fact that the cars horn would beep when you locked it with the remote (my car at home beeps if you try to lock it and a door is open, so we were trying to find what was still open!). The people on the roads are so much nicer than back at home though and in the 2 days i was driving only got beeped at twice and that was when i needed them to to avoid an accident! I drove at night once and I will never do that again on the “right” side. It was so hard as there weren’t road markings on the road I was on either so was drifting everywhere!
Back to the Mexico US border
Back to the real story though which is how we couldn’t contact Erica, and we may have been in the country illegally. We thought about not worrying about the stamp thing as we didn’t know for sure that the border guy was wrong. However, we were worried that if we were right, we may get in big trouble further down the track.
We needed to investigate further, so we visited the Mexican Consulate in McAllen. A man there straight away told us that we needed to get an exit stamp and just to go back today and get one. Off we drove to the border.
When we got there we parked the car and walked over after first getting questioned by another American border guy and getting our tourist card taken off us. On the Mexican side, we had absolutely no problems at all. I had been worried as not only was there the matter of us leaving the night before but our tourist card had expired by now! The lady didn’t seem to notice either of these facts though and we were soon on our way! It was a big relief!
We still had the US side to go again though, and after the night before I was not looking forward to that at all.
We got the whole drill with 50,000 questions again. It was made worse by the fact that they could see we had entered the night before and didn’t understand why we had given the other guy our tourist card when we crossed back to Mexico as it turns out you are meant to keep it for day trips to Mexico. This was especially frustrating as they acted like we were stupid for handing it over but what were we supposed to do??! Refuse the border official?
We were back in eventually after going through the same thing as the night before just without them asking stupid things like how could we afford a month in Mexico (not that that would be a stupid thing to ask the stupid thing was his response like we would have to win tattslotto or something to afford it). We had to wait for 30 minutes to pay the fee again as the guy was on lunch… even though there were 6 people standing around doing nothing.
Anyway, we were in! And later on that day after staking out Erica’s home and discovering the wonderful land that is walmart, we finally got in contact with her and arranged to meet when she finished work… Things were finally going right for us!!!!
hire car about US$85 a day including all taxes…. may have been able to get a better deal if we hadn’t had to just show up. Exit fee from Mexico is 210 pesos