Friday, November 24, 2006

Mexico Safe and Sound

So here we are...been 5 days already! Right now we are in Ensenada - about 70 miles down the coast from the border.

Travelled over the border on Monday. Simple stuff though it didn't stop me worrying! Buying liability insurance for the vehicles, getting tourist cards, going to the bank to pay for said tourist cards. And all the while not speaking the lingo. We've bought a phrase book are are determined to learn as much as possible. Drove to lovely campsite, completely in the middle of nowhere, down a 7 mile dirt track that took nearly an hour to navigate. On our stroll out to explore we got as far as the bar....and that's all I remember of our first night in Mexico! (we did meet 3 american dirt-bikers who we had dinner with, and picked up some good tips for getting along in Mexico...read next bit!)

Wednesday morning we drove on out. Just at the end of the dirt track before hitting the highway back to civilisation we got pulled over by the police. We had no front number plate (don't need one in Florida where the RV is licensed). And it would cost us (now there's a thing) He took our papers hostage and chatted with his mate. Decided that if we paid him $40 there and then we could go. Or a visit to the police station where it might be as much as $65. And so here's where it helps picking up tips from well-travelled dirt-bikers.....agree to go to the police station. We started up the engine and waited for him to lead the way, all the while watching him in the rear camera. Funny old thing....his bluff was called...he waited a few seconds and then came knocking on the door, handed back our papers and let us on our way!!! Top tip - always agree to go to the police station!!! Apparently it's a nightmare in paperwork, and I still wonder now if not having a number plate is even a problem!!! So we felt quite chuffed with ourselves for encountering and overcoming our first potential Mexican mishap!

Drove on into Tecate where we stopped by the main square for tacos and a free beer in the Tecate brewery beer garden (limit 1 a day - you get your ticket as you go in the gate!).

That night we stopped at Rancho Sordo Mudu (it means Deaf ranch) in Guadelupe Valley - about 40 miles south of Tecate, 25 miles north of Ensenada on the inland Mex3 road. This is an amazing place where we have spent the last 2 days and loved every minute. This is a school for Mexican Deaf children. Many come to the school with no language at all and here are taught not only Spanish but also American sign langauge (did you know all sign language is different - how mad is that?!). On our first night we were invited up to the school to join them for supper. We had a quick tour of the place and in supper had many inquisitive pairs of eyes in our direction!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here. We joined them again for a traditional thanksgiving lunch of Turkey and stuffing and Pumpkin pie (which we'd never had before!) It was joked we must've brought them good luck since all their food is donated and someone had provided 6 turkeys for them that week - it would never have been such an elaborte meal otherwise! We spent time in one of the classrooms that morning, answering hundreds of questions from the kids and explaining what we'd been doing. They gave us sign names. (these are 'made up' and are given based on you - what you like, your personality etc, e.g Chris was the sign for C then placed on his shoulder representing the rank slides of the military, mine was the H drawn in a smile across the chest - so sweet) We learnt signs to spell our names and Good Morning (which so strangley would not be recognised by a british signer). It was such a great time. These kids are so happy, the workers there are all volunteers and all have such passion for what they are doing and achieving at this amazing place and all the happiness and love is so infectious.

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