16 August – Day 25
Tucson, US to Hermasillo, Mexico
We are in Mexico!
We got started early this morning to hopefully hit the border crossing at Noagles before the traffic got too bad. I’m not sure if it was our early morning start, but the crossing was surprisingly easy and fast – I’m hoping that bodes well for all the other border crossings we’ve got coming up! We literally just drove out of the US. No queue, no gate, no customs, no passport control. We then drove into Mexico, through a gate, but no customs or passport control – and we’d arrived!
Straight away, you could tell we were in a different country. Even though the border at Noagles is literally a big unfriendly wall – similar to the Berlin wall in some respects, although this wall is designed to keep Mexicans out rather than East Berliners in – it’s literally a wall across a road. So if you were crossing as a pedestrian, you’d take ten steps and everything would change: the people, language, money, smells, sights, sounds – everything. For most people, ten steps is the distance from the couch to the fridge. Here, it’s a journey between worlds.
We parked just across the border and found the customs office, got our passports stamped, paid the temporary entry fee and jumped on the bike to head to the ‘imported vehicles registration office’ 21kms down the road. We found it, got Beamsky registered and stickered, paid a refundable $400 ‘security deposit’ (which we’ll get back when we cross the border at the other end – I hope) and we were on our way! It was hot again today – not quite as hot as the two previous days in Tuscon, but still high 30s – and with humidity! Until today, we’d only really had dry heat.
Anyway, we were pretty keen to get away from the border area as quickly as possible, so we high tailed it to Hermasillo. Adrian did a great job navigating the road/cars/trucks/pot holes/gravel pits/hawkers – and topes. Topes are killer speed bumps that are made from a series of ‘silent policemen’ or raised moulded plastic cones too close together to weave a path through, yet not close enough to ride smoothly over. Basically, the bike skids all over the place. Adrian tries to balance and steer the bike over/through – and I hold my breath.
Hermasillo is.. sort of touristy but not really touristy at all. It is touristy because it’s the first major town across the border, so lots of travellers stop here on their way through and there are hotels lining the main drag. Yet it’s not touristy, because there’s nothing really to see/do/experience in the town. It’s very much a transit spot. So we found a hotel, went for a walk, had dinner, and called it a night.