Sunday, August 30, 2009

We're back in Ixtapaluca. It wasn't easy!

We began our trip back to Mexico City last Tuesday. Seems like a LONG time ago. Here's a quick summary:

Tuesday: Elizabethtown, PA to Jackson, TN: 875 miles ( a long day with three kids). We drove from 7:15 a.m. EST till 9:00 CST, or around 15 hours. Ouch. We found a hotel with a pool, and a Taco Bell next to it. That was good. Daniel was delighted.

Wednesday: Jackson, TN to Dallas, TX: 525 miles. After the day before, that was an easy day. We were able to chat with Jeff and Linda Arnold and Alfie a bit, then met Dan and Sue Wicher for supper at 6 at CAM Center, then a Braums Ice Cream run. Always great to talk with Dan and Sue. Good friend Joe Martinez stopped in around 8 or so, and he and I chatted to around 11:30.

Thursday morning was full of catching up, with a mobilization meeting with Volt, Karin, Dawn and Steve wearing his sky-blue shirt at 10, then a quick meeting with Duke. We squeezed 6 small boxes in the van and were off to see Toby and Marilyn in north Dallas. We so much appreciate their counsel and listening ear. Then I thought I should get the van inspected, because the inspection sticker had expired last August, so we took it to a place (after splurging at Mardell's Christian bookstore), and it needed a license plate bulb and a new gas cap. So I went and go that, and it passed with flying colors. So, around 4:15 we headed south on Rt. 35E, destination San Antonio. We drove for about 5 hours and found a hotel. It was raining pretty hard before we finally had a late meal at Taqueria Guadalajara, and had our first Mexican food since leaving Mexico. I had a tongue taco (I missed them) and a taco de guisado, which can be almost anything, but in this case was beef and potatoes (I think). You can function really well with speaking English everywhere south of Dallas. Spanish works just fine.

Friday morning around 8:30 we boarded a boat for San Antonio's famous River Walk boat ride. Our boat captain was, as always, informative and funny. San Antonio ranks as one of Mayra's favorite U.S. cities, along with San Francisco and Pittsburgh. to our next to last destination...South Padre Island. We drove for maybe 6 hours more, arriving mid-afternoon.

We discovered South Padre Island two years ago. It's close to the border. So...if you have to stay your last night in the U.S. on the border, the beach is better! After swimming in a very warm Gulf sea, we met Adam and Velma Landrum and their three kids for supper at Dirty Al's. Great seafood. Adam and Velma have both visited us here in Ixtapaluca. Adam was recently called to be senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Pharr, TX. Thanks to Dave and Sherry for a gift to make this last night possible!

So...finally Saturday. We left South Padre Island at around 8:30, went to Walmart one last time (to buy things like marshmallow cream, Cheez-its and brown sugar, stuff we can't buy in Mexico), ate breakfast and arrived at the Brownsville/Matamoros border at around 10 a.m. The border crossing/paperwork issues went quickly, and by 1o:30 we were cruising south in 101 degree heat. We discovered that our air conditioning fan didn't work. We did get cool air, as long as we were going over 60 mph. Not a problem, really, and the back AC did work.

Our route was new to us, we went through Cuidad Victoria, then toward San Luis Potosi, actually backtracking a bit (56 kilometers) to get back on the usually 4-lane that comes from Monterrey to Mexico City. By 8:30 we were in Queretaro. Home was (or should have been) about 2 1/2 hours away. But then it began to rain.

It rained hard. A federal patrol car at one point held our speed way down so we could get around a pretty bad accident. We got into Mexico City, with the rain still coming down hard. We made it to Zaragoza, about 40 minutes from home on a normal day. But this wasn't a normal day. The trip took around 4 hours!

The rain had totally flooded the 6-lane highway, causing 10-mile back-ups in both directions. There were literally hundreds (if not thousands) of trucks, buses and cars parked on Mexico City -Puebla. Somehow we followed other desperate, maniacal drivers through dark, muddy back roads and got to a bridge that took us close to our neighborhood. We arrived, very tired, at 3 a.m.!

Now, we're unpacking, getting ready for school tomorrow, and thankful to be back where God has called us. Last night...the article in Spanish.

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