Tuesday, April 20, 2010
We're Back in Canada!
Well, we've made it back to our 'northern' home and all went well, other than the fact that we were both sick to death of the car by the time we arrived! We drive down in 6 days, but the days were long so we have decided that it is much easier to spend 7 days on the road to get back to Canada. It was lovely when we arrived, not as warm as Mexico, but much warmer than we had expected!
We left Mazatlan right on schedule around 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Okay, I admit it, I cried. Silly, I know we're coming back in six months, but for some reason, I just felt like having a little weep.
The drive to Navajoa was a breeze. There were a few check stops along the way, but as usual, we were waved through - Canadian plates, innocent faces, whatever, we just sailed on by. We stayed at our usual spot in Navajoa, the Best Western, and were quite surprised that we were the only Canadian plates in the parking lot. In fact, the only non-Mexican car we saw was one from California, and it looked like they were checking out as we were arriving. We were expecting our usual room (in the 'doggie' corner) but instead we were given a room in a different area which was by far a superior room. We had a fridge, a microwave, and the big plus for Abi, a grassed area right outside our door. As we were there fairly early in the afternoon we pulled a few chairs outside, had a drink and relaxed for an hour or so before dinner. A great way to start the trip. And of course, I had to take a few pictures! These actually turned out to be just about the only ones I took!!
There was a beautiful window, with a lovely view ...
and the property had the world's biggest tree!
Abi loved the lawn ...
and we were all very impressed with the flowers!!
Day 2 went just as well as Day 1! We got an early start in the morning as we weren't sure how long it was going to take us at the border crossing, but to our suprise there were very few people there and we were through in 1/2 hour. We were a bit worried about crossing the border on a Sunday and perhaps we were just lucky as we were there by 3 in the afternoon, but we also found that it was very easy to get through the towns on our way north as there was very little traffic. We're actually thinking that Sunday might be the day to arrive in Nogalas.
It is rather amusing that the only irritation during this part of our trip was over the use of the banos (bathroom for you non 'Mexican' speaking folks) at the Pemex station just before the border crossing. Occasionally we have run into stations where they require payment for use of the facilities, but this is rare. However, at this station they had not one but two 'gentlemen' posted outside, demanding 5 pesos for the honour of using their not so lovely facilities. However, we did not have 5 pesos (actually 10 because there were 2 of us) - we just had a 100 peso bill. So, I headed off to the store, where Mike has just paid for the gas, for change. They have no change. Uh Hunh, sure - we just paid for the gas - with change. Back to the banos - no way - no pesos - no go. However, we spied another banos about 200 metres away, so over we sped, thinking we had beaten the system. But, the doors were locked. What to do, what do do?! Do I go back and plead with the little devils guarding the door of the original banos? Do I go back, kick them in the shins and make a dash for it? As I was trying to decide how I was going to tactfully, or not so tactfully, handle this ever increasingly important situation, a truly lovely gas attendant who had obviously noticed the increasing stress level in the car with the Canadian plates and came over to give me a 5 peso coin. Bless his little heart!!
A lesson learned here - as well as carrying your own tissue, always have a few pesos tucked in your pocket. Not big ones, because they often do not have change (or just don't want to share it)! We had a good chuckle, and have made a note to stop at the station before this one next time!
Days 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 all sort of blurred together. Might have been because of the breathtaking scenery.
Just kidding here, it really is fascinating to see how the landscape changes the further north we headed. Parts of the countryside were truly lovely, but oh my, there were sections where there was literally nothing to look at, hence the excitement over the tree!
Eating on the road is always a challenge as we don't like to leave Abi alone in the hotel room and she panics if she's left alone in the car for longer than 2 or 3 minutes! We try to avoid fast food places as much as possible and it can be tricky. We lucked in this trip as most of our hotel rooms had fridges and microwaves so we checked out the local grocery stores and had picnics in our rooms most nights. We found a great place to eat in Nogalas just after we crossed the border called the Yokohama Asian Xpress and we had wonderful take-out Asian Rice Bowls, with tons of nice crisp veggies and great teriyaki chicken.
We also stumbled on a beautiful park in Norfolk, which could perhaps be in Nebraska or maybe South Dakota (!!! - I could look it up but darned if I know where the maps are!!!) and stopped there for lunch. It was starting to get a bit cool but we sat outside by the lake and admired the ducks and Canada Geese while we dined on leftovers from the previous night's dinner. No pictures here, by this point I just wanted to get the whole trip over with so no lingering.
Can you tell how boring this drive is - I get excited about a take out restaurant, a tree and a park with water!
So, we're home, still unpacking and attempting to get back into the swing of life in Winnipeg. Mike has already been golfing, working towards his goal of 100 games this season before we head south again. We've been to the bank to pick up some Canadian cash, and the grocery store, and then back to the bank again. I am hoping to lose some of the weight I managed to gain over the winter (love that Mexican food) and it shouldn't be hard. We can't afford to eat!
We had a truly wonderful 6 months in Mazatlan and are already counting the days until we head south again. We are so lucky to have 2 homes!!
I have had requests from some of the wonderful friends we made in Mexico to continue with this over the summer. I think perhaps I might, just a little bit, as it will give me an excuse to explore the city I've lived in for almost 20 years. I'll let you know if I find anything interesting. Wonder if we have any interesting doors or windows here?
Take care, and have a wonderful summer!