May 2021

QuinceañeraQuinceañera

Quinceañera - Fifteen years old princesses

Widely celebrated among Latinos, the Quinceañera marks an important milestone in a girl's life. Partly a birthday party and partly symbolizes the transition from girl to woman at the age of 15 and traditionally shows his willingness to marry.

In reality, it is a kind of social presentation of the celebrated young woman. Photo shootings are a must.
Since an entire industry was founded around this celebration, the total costs of a party - without the dress, which is similar in design to a Disney princess costume in very different colors - can be between 1,000 and 6,000 Euros, open at the top. For several years now, it has not been uncommon to see young women driving around town with their friends in limousines that have been rented for the occasion. During the celebration, the girl receives the supposedly "last teddy bear" as a present.

Charlys Restaurant, neighbor's gardenCharlys Restaurant, neighbor's garden

Charly’s Gourmet Restaurant, Traveler Hangout in Santa Elena

For the fourth time we stood with Charly for a week. It's a bit like coming home - good cuisine with original dishes, good bread, and of course the Swiss guy Charly, with his brisk, mostly accurate sayings. This time there were also other Swiss travelers there.

The neighboring property of the former globetrotters Martin and Julia (whom we met about twenty years ago at an off-road trade fair, where they showed their new Unimog) is not only fantastic for cactus lovers. We stood right at the fence, with a wonderful view of the exclusive garden - incredibly fascinating.

Chacala BeachChacala Beach

Optional subject calculating in Mexico

In a bakery I was chose three different types of bread. Two each cost 75 pesos and one 80 pesos. The salesman looked in vain for his phone count the amounts together with it. I hold out 250 pesos to him and said makes 230. He looked at me with wide eyes, took a piece of paper and wrote down the three amounts. He was able to add up in writing, because he also came up with 230.

Chacala BeachChacala Beach

Palm tree climbing

In Chacala we stood on the beautiful beach for the third time. Fortunately, during the week there were only a few local bathers who came to the beach with their families for a day.

coconut harvestingcoconut harvesting

On the beach are very tall coconut trees, most of which were hung with lots of coconuts. One morning a wiry man came, tied a long rope around his belly, and climbed up the tall palm trees. Incredible, no crampons and no safeguard. We asked for permission to take photos, which he granted with a grin.

coconutscoconuts

Once at the top, he first treated himself with a cigarette. Then he separated the coconut groups from the palm tree with the machete and tied it to the end of the rope, carefully lowering it to his friend on the ground.
A special specimen of a coconut he brought down to us wrapped in his shirt. We have never drunk coconut milk so fresh directly from the palm tree.

San CarlosSan Carlos

Guaymas and San Carlos

In Guaymas we stood for more than a week at the Hotel Playa de Cortez for over a week in the large, almost empty RV space, equipped with electricity, water and dumping.

At 35 degrees Celsius, air conditioning was a must during the day. The hotel is also heavily frequented during the week. Normal hotel guests and birthday parties and weddings. It is special that the guests bring their own drinks. Boxes of beer, but also whole boxes of tequila, are dragged from the vehicles to the hotel.

During an excursion to the San Carlos tourist trap, we took pictures of one of the mansions built on a round hill of the drug cartel boss El Chapo, who was imprisoned for life in the US.
San Carlos is located in various bays with a marina equipped with luxurious boats. The very expensive villas of wealthy Mexicans and Americans are nested mostly together on the hillsides. The great view probably makes up for the constricting construction.

MexicansMexicans

Welcome to the USA – Wrong!

Since our visas and temporary vehicle import papers expired in Mexico, we headed to the US-border Nogales. The vehicle documents for Mexico can only be stamped out and renewed at a border.

Since we were already at the border, we were itching to have direct experience with the possibility of entering the USA. Due to COVID-19, there are travel restrictions to enter the US - by plane entry is possible for us, by land for non-essential travel no entry is possible. We left Mexico and drove to the US border post. The nice immigration officer took our passports through our open vehicle window and then typed information into his computer. We requested entry with the applicable exemption of travel restrictions for "Medical Treatment" (Brigitte's knee). We were immediately asked to park in a cordoned off area and at the same time six immigration officers surrounded us. Only two of them spoke to us. We were sitting in the car, they outside in their chic uniforms, standing in the shade with their sunglasses on.
The supervisor had decided that we couldn't enter now. We would have to make a doctor's appointment and then we could cross the border at least 24 hours before the appointment. The supervisor then appeared himself. When asked how long we would then be allowed to stay in the country, he said, according to our visas, probably six months. However, this statement was not very convincing.

Brigitte and I looked at each other and agreed in Swiss German that we didn't want to insist any further. We now knew that if we really wanted to enter, we would also have the opportunity to do so. With an immediate entry into the U.S. it would have been aggravating that we would have received too much unnecessary attention during a customs control by the underemployed, many customs officers through some bottles of wine and spirits. Let's see how long it will take until normal entry is possible again.

On foot an official accompanied us with our passports up to a turning possibility of our vehicle, gave us our IDs and we drove back to Mexico. After 20 km we completed all entry formalities for Mexico within half an hour, where we are now allowed to move legally for the next six months.

Since we are thinking about a trip of several weeks to the fantastic wildlife of Africa, an early, uncomplicated COVID-19 vaccination in the USA would certainly have been advantageous. In the meantime, however, we were informed by a pharmacist here in Mexico that it is also possible for us as tourists (without residence) to get a vaccination. Vaccination makes sense for us if we want to continue traveling across borders.

As in Europe, RV travel is booming in the U.S. and campgrounds tend to be overcrowded. In addition, the US Americans are not allowed to travel to Canada and the majority do not dare to go to Mexico. This was also a reason why we decided for the time being against a current entry into the U.S.