The Journey Home, or 12 Hours? What Happened?

It’s sad that I won’t be able to see the house being built across the street get completed, but at least I got one mystery solved before departing. All cement and mortar is mixed in either a wheelbarrow by hand, or in a small electric powered mixer. They were working on the second floor and were ready to pour the concrete slab, and I was wondering how they were going to do it. Option 1 would be to use the power mixer, sitting on the ground, and pour the mixed concrete into either 5 gallon buckets (their favorite measuring devices), or to fill wheelbarrows and walk them up a wooden plank to the second floor. Option 2 would be to muscle the electric mixer up to the second floor and hand carry the ingredients in buckets up the plank where they would be mixed, and poured directly into the forms. I was pleasantly surprised the next day to see two giant cement trucks, and a huge concrete pumper parked outside. It took less than two hours to pour and hand finish all the concrete for the second floor. The following day work resumed mixing mortar in wheelbarrows and hand building the brick walls.

IMG-20170610-WA0009

 

Valerie

Valerie, the seat thief.

Friday evening we made our final trip to Guaymas to catch the bus back to Phoenix. The bus, pretty much loaded to capacity, departed at 11:30 pm, right on time for the nine or so hour trip back to the states. Our first glitch was finding a lady named Valerie sitting in my seat. Not to be rude, we tried to sit someplace else, but there weren’t many empty seats. Fortunately, Valerie realized she was in the wrong seat and graciously relinquished it. Being totally hyped for the journey home, I immediately fell asleep and one and a half hours later totally missed our first stop at Hermosillo. Two hours later we encountered some type of security checkpoint in Benjamin Hill/Santa Ana. I was still in a near catatonic state, drooling, drowsy, and the bus was so dark that I thought we were waiting for a train to pass. I kept nodding off and coming around, thinking “this is a really long train”. We had been stopped for over two hours before I realized we were waiting to go through our first check point. With only a few lanes open, everybody was jockeying to get their position in line. When out turn finally arrived, we got off for ten minutes while they searched the bus and X-rayed our luggage, then back on the road.

The next stop came at the Mexican side of Nogales where we got a 20 minute beak while the bus was washed down to keep unwanted bugs and seeds from entering the states. It was snack time, so I scanned the snack bar for anything I recognized, or even wanted to eat. I spotted a pile of Coyotas, a traditional treat consisting of brown sugar sandwiched between two sugar cookies. I had earlier sampled a Coyota while waiting with Don at the Chevy dealer in Guaymas. It was IMG-20170610-WA0004filled with honey, so I assumed they all contained honey. As we approached the Coyota stand, I was dumb struck like a goat staring at a new fence when I saw the variety of fillings they put into their Coyotas. Everything being in Spanish, I recognized some as ham and beef, but the majority contained a variety of mystery fillings. I had just watched a lady choose a bag labeled “cajeta” for her children, so figured they had the best chance of being sweet, so I also grabbed a bag.   As it turns out, cajeta is Spanish for caramel, so I dodged a potential gag attack with that one. Anita, behind me in line, wanted a cup of coffee, so she was given a cup of hot water, powdered creamer and a pouch of instant coffee. I guess it was OK since she also avoided a gag attack.

At that check point, a guy came on board and began explaining to the locals, what they were about to encounter at the next checkpoint, the dreaded US border. He gave a 30 minute speech and at first we had no idea what he was saying since it was all in Spanish, but it gradually sank in when he mimed a pat-down, and body cavity search as he was explaining what to expect at the next stop, plus the lady (Karla) in front of us spoke English, and gave us a recap of the whole thing. There were always people on the bus who spoke English, and were friendly and willing to help. At the US border in Nogales, we once again departed the bus, and formed a line with all our bags placed in a line in front of us. The border guards produced a cute golden retriever that proceeded to sniff the baggage. He periodically stopped, placed his paw on the bag, and waited for the officer to asked who owned the bag, what was inside it, and if it could be opened. Each time, the canine got a doggie treat. After several false alarms, we began thinking the dog was just picking stuff at random to get a treat. He did spend a large amount of time sniffing a child’s backpack containing goodies. Good thing I had left my Coyotas on the bus, or they may have ended up inside a golden retriever. Passing the sniff test, we picked up our bags, and headed through customs. This was the first time in our whole trip where we were asked to show passports. We were then asked the usual questions; “Where were you visiting in Mexico?” Reply; “San Carlos” (truth).”Did you buy anything?” Reply; “No”. (lie). We bought a few trinkets for friends back in the states, and I could have just easily waved my hand, and said “These are not the trinkets you are looking for”. Next came another X-ray machine where we exited the building into the United States. We had made it. Back home with no more delays all the way to Phoenix. At least that was what we thought, but NO! The Department of Transportation decided to do their version of a pat down. They tested everything on the bus, brakes, lights, horn, wipers, will it start, will it stop, will it go forward, will it go backwards. Then they drove over a maintenance pit and gave the undercarriage a hernia exam. In total, it took approximately 45 minutes. At this point we just looked at all these delays as “getting our money’s worth.” One more hour to Tucson, five minute stop, and two hours to Phoenix. In total, our nine hour trip took about 13 hours.

On our final trip, we met many friendly people who helped us with the language barrier, including my seat thief Valerie, a convention scheduler named Karla, Lorraine who lives San Carlos, and some dude from Mazatlan headed to Seattle. Snacks on the return trip consisted of a bag-o-chips, uno bottle of water, and a chewy goodie bar, not quite as good as the trip down, but still nice to have. All and all this excitement only cost a total of 220 US dollars for the both of us. Keep in mind everything that could happen did happen, such as the rare DOT examination, so most trips back to the states will most likely be less exciting. Anita and I will definitely do it again, a good time was had by all.

moonrise

Moonrise over San Carlos.

 

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