We Are “On The Other Side”

PC050624What a day!  We left Brownsville at 8am following Chris & Jack who had experience travelling around Mexico earlier this year.  For some reason, we can hear their CB radio but they can’t hear us.  So Jack loaned us one of their walkie-talkies.  They can hear us but we can’t hear them.  As a result, we must use both to communicate.  The area between the drivers and passengers seats is full of electronics and cords galore.  GPS, CB, talk radios, inverter, scan gauge, and a charger.  I have tripped over everything at least once today.  We still had to get our vehicle permit at the border and that went smoothly and took less than 1/2 hour.  Getting through Matamoros did not go smoothly.  Pouring rain, potholed roads, drivers passing on the left and the right and lots of sudden pulling out from side roads or from being parked to right in front of us as if we were invisible.  We took a breather and stopped at a mall where there was a Soriano supermarket for groceries.  I bought 3 bags of groceries that included chicken breast,  lots of produce, cake, bread, soup, milk, flan, and 3 one liter containers of nectar type juices for the equivalent of $14 total.  The flan was about $1 for 6 containers.  Their selection was just as good or better than our big supermarkets and the produce looked real instead of plastic perfect.  I hope it stays this way going further south. 
And, I have already encountered thievery in Mexico! I accidentally walked off with another lady’s grocery cart and she came up to me laughing and took it back.  The thief was me.  A couple of more friendly instances occurred when I put the nectar in my basket and a store clerk came over to me and showed me a less expensive brand.  Then when I fumbled with the thin produce bags trying to get one open, another clerk came over and kindly took it from me and opened it.  After we left the mall, we eventually found ourselves on a fairly good road in the country and I thought, whew, we are home free.  But then I noticed the compass on the end of my flashlight and it said we were going due west.  I wanted to radio Chris and Jack but Steve said they were the leaders and I should let them lead.  Obedient wife that I am,  my lips froze shut.  Turned out we were on the  highway to Reyonosa, which, if you look on a map is another border town straight west of Matamoros, not south like we wanted to go.  Finally, they realized we were on the wrong road, turned around, and back tracked.  Then we found ourselves on residential streets that got more narrow at every turn and even more potholed.  Jack radioed and asked us if our GPS was giving any directions which it had for the past two hours been telling us to reroute and go left at almost every intersection.  Their GPS, which is a Tom-Tom totally gave up and all maps disappeared.  So we got in the lead and thank goodness for Garmin and especially to my friend Tess for sending me her Mexico mapping software for the GPS.  It saved us and we were on the right road within five minutes.  It was after 2 pm when we finally got out of Matamoros.  We managed to get 87 miles south today and are now camped in hotel La Serena’s little 3 spot campground in San Fernando de Presas.  Chris knows enough Spanish to bargain and got our rate down to 150 peso’s = about $11.  She is a real trooper and natural born helper.  We don’t have internet tonight so this will get posted once we do.