Saturday, May 28, 2011

La Frontera

We thought about crossing the border in Naco, AZ but from a short internet search we discovered that the Banjército was permanently closed, so we decided to go through Douglas, AZ / Aqua Prieta, SON instead. After all the negative publicity about the border region of Mexico, we half expected to get robbed or gunned down the second we crossed. In reality, we crossed the border with no problems whatsoever. We were able to get the tourist visa in the same building as the Banjercito and the entire process took about an hour mostly due to being in line behind one other person. We were a little nervous about getting the temporary vehicle import permit needed to bring the bike into the country because Mike had forgotten to turn in his permit last time he was in Mexico and we had heard horror stories that we could possibly have to pay up to $50 US per day that the permit was not turned in (the permit was from 2007 so it would have been really expensive) or potentially pay a bribe of a couple hundred dollars US to clear up the situation. Luckily, Mike had gotten a new passport and a different bike (new VIN) in the meantime and received no hassle at all. Overall, the process was very easy, efficient and quick.

After we received our visas and the permit for the bike we walked to the bank to get smaller bills than the 500 pesos we got at an exchange in Douglas. When we walked in it was just us, the bank teller and a guy we had seen at the border crossing itself. As soon as we walked in, the teller asked the man if he knew English because she wanted to find out what we needed and she didn´t speak English. The man said something like, "He speaks Spanish very well." Then Mike jumped in with his "mas o menos" and everybody thought the whole encounter was hilarious.

We were able to find our way through town pretty easily and took highway 2 through some nice mountains until we hit the toll highway 15. We chose to take the toll highway because google said the other way to Hermosillo took about 2 hours longer and Jill was nervous about getting away from the border. The toll highway ended up being very windy with lots of big trucks and cost about $6. If we had it to do over, both of us would have chosen the slower, curvier mountain road over the toll road.  But either way, it was nice to get to Hermosillo!

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