We were woken by the dog barking at 4:30 am. She was restless all night and Herman didn't sleep well either. We were both restless because we were crossing into Mexico. The person in the room above had a dog and it sounded like they were playing ball, or building a small house. I decided that it was too early to get going, so I got Xena to go back to sleep. We woke again at 6:30 and got ready to leave. We had some coffee and packed the car, checked all the paperwork we needed and by 8:00 we were on our way.
We drove down the highway and took the wrong exit. Luckily we could reconnect 2 minutes later and followed the GPS and signs in Brownsville, Texas to the International Bridge.
Within minutes we passed some US customs vehicles and then we were stopped at a small booth to pay $70 pesos. We crossed a very short bridge. Following the cars in front of us we zig-zagged past some concrete barriers and were driving in what seemed Mexico. We kept going, thinking that we would find a sign for customs, but it became clear that we were in fact in downtown Matamoros. We pulled over and searched for the "aduana" on the GPS and the directions took us 30 km NW to an abandoned lot.
I wanted to just drive on but Herman said that it was important that we get our temporary import sticker for our vehicle.,.so we headed back to Matamoros. We laughed because Herman is usually the "cutter of corners", so to speak, and I joked that he would make Cindy proud.
Our dilemma is that we do not yet have a Mexican phone and will probably only have one in Merida, so there is no way we can do any online searches without Wi-Fi. We are so used to being connected... We also haven't yet bought a printed map.
Luckily I have my iPad with me and we could look at the basic Google map to figure out where we thought we would cross the border. Herman recognized the other crossing from his Google street view research before we left home, and we figured out where we had to be, so we headed in that direction.
We drove back to the Mexican/US border and after receiving directions from one of the Mexican security guards in the parking lot just before the border, we managed to make a "retorno" before we had to enter the US gates again so that we could enter the Mexican customs area where we would have entered to register our vehicle and ourselves.
We were super happy with the friendliness and helpfulness of the people working in the customs office. The required documents and rules are typical government, which is similar to what we do in Canada as well, but we figured it out and paid and registered our vehicle. Our insurance policy was accepted and we were again on our way; this time with the coveted registration sticker on the front window.
We cheered and giggled after a stressful halfday heading into Mexico. Our next destination Tampico.