Home is Where we Hook-up

January 21, 2008

Finally, Crossing the Border into Mexico

Filed under: Travel,Travel in Mexico — Heligypsy @ 7:44 am

On the dark early morning of Nov. 21st we drove to the border in Brownsville. There was some confusion on our part as to which bridge we should cross, there are three choices. We chose the one that we had seen in our previous travels – and it was the wrong one. The Mexican border agent looked at the vehicle, and then looked for the hologram permit that we were supposed to have displayed on the windshield. I said, nervously,

“We picked the wrong bridge…how do we get back to the bridge with customs?”

He waved us along, explaining in Spanish how we should backtrack to the bridge where we would handle all our paperwork. So, here we were, piece of cake…in Matamoros, Mexico. We made two left turns and found our way to the customs office, parked in the little dirt lot out back, took our portfolio of paperwork and began the process of making ourselves legal to be in the country. We were advised by the Church’s book, and by our Mexican insurance agent at Sanborn’s to get started at customs as early in the day as possible. Also, it was suggested that we not mention that we were going to Belize, as that seems to put a wrench in an already kooky system. Fine, we picked Catemaco, Veracruz as our destination. Great advice on both counts.

I’ve read some hilarious tellings of this border crossing experience, how much nonsense it all seems, nothing adds up, there is very little rhyme or reason to any of the procedure. But, we came fully prepared and had very little incident. We stood in one line, got our 6 month Mexican Visa stamped, took that paper to the copy guy, who made a single copy, went to another line and handed our original documents and 2 copies of everything to a man behind the glass. We were there for an uneventful 45 minutes, and walked out with the coveted shiny hologram sticker to display in the windshield. We were legal!

When we returned to the vehicle, though, here came Miguel, the agent that handled our entry, and he was waving papers at us. Uh-oh – is the only thing a person can think when seeing this. In the office he had been nothing but business. Pleasant, but all business. Now, outside and away from his peers, Miguels smile flashed and he apologized that he’d missed one copy…it was an insignificant paper among them all, but he seemed to enjoy the few moments to chat with us.

“So, you go to Catemaco?”

“Yes, we are heading to Catemaco” It was true, that was where we were shooting for in the next few days. I was still following the “business” part of the protocol.

After confirming our travel destination, Miguel became quite animated. In doing so, I could only make out every 3rd or 4th word, but it had something to do with Catemaco, and monkeys…”you must see” he said, and then “I am from Catemaco, that is my region.”

We shook hands, smiles all around, thanked him for all his help, and the advice to see the monkeys in Catemaco. “Welcome to Mexico”, he said as we parted and he headed back to his office, we climbed into the squeakster to get headed down the road.



  1. The stress of a border crossing!
    Love your stories.
    Keep ’em coming!

    Comment by Debbe — January 21, 2008 @ 11:19 am | Reply

  2. If only the American customs agents were so friendly! So monkeys, huh? I have a thing for monkeys, ever since Japan, it was a quest to see the monkeys! Suppose I’ll have to sit tight to learn if you DO get to see them đŸ™‚

    Comment by JennH — January 22, 2008 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

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