Monday, January 16, 2017
Our 2016 Christmas
Visit to Mexico: Travel, Movies and Trump
By Allan Wall
My wife, two sons and I have returned from our annual Christmastime
(Navidad) visit to Mexico, and things went well. As always, it was an interesting trip.
I resided in Mexico for
a decade and a half. I met and married my wife there, and that's where our children were born.
When we resided in Mexico
we would travel to the U.S.A. for Christmas. In 2008, we moved to the U.S. So since
then, we’ve reversed course and go to Mexico at Christmastime.
Visiting Mexico at Christmastime, we can spend time with my wife's
parents, our sons’ maternal grandparents.
Christmas, the celebration of the incarnation and birth of Christ,
is special everywhere it’s celebrated. The essence of the holiday is the same, though you’ll
find it expressed differently in various cultures throughout the world.
Christmas, called Navidad in Spanish-speaking countries,
is a special time in Mexico.
Security is a consideration when traveling in Mexico. On the other
hand, it’s not like the whole country is a free-fire zone twenty-four hours a day. We made our
Navidad trip to Mexico and returned unscathed.
Automobile problems are something you want to avoid on long trips,
and we’ve had some over the years. One year, we broke down on the U.S. side of the border, left our
car with a mechanic, and proceeded by bus to Mexico, arriving at our destination on Christmas Eve. After
Christmas, we returned by bus and picked up our car, which had been repaired. So, it all worked out.
This year, we were driving
through a city in Mexico on the way to our destination, I was stopped at a stoplight and was alarmed to suddenly see steam
rising from beneath the hood. It seemed to take a long time for the light to change, but conveniently there
was a PEMEX station on the other side of the intersection.
We discovered the problem: a cap was off and all the radiator water had
evaporated! Well, the guy in the PEMEX station filled it up with water and we were good to go on our merry
Many Mexicans residing in the U.S. visit Mexico at Christmastime, which can lead to long waits at the border.
On this trip, going into
Mexico (December 19th) didn’t take a long time. Besides my personal permit, a permit must be acquired,
a fee paid, and a monetary deposit left, for a U.S.-registered car to be taken into Mexico. This time it
took about an hour.
However, crossing back into the U.S. (January 1st, 2017) took us about four hours. We’ve had
much longer wait times, of ten hours and upwards, at times in the past.
Movies are a popular form of entertainment in Mexico, and there are
some nice movie theaters. English-language movies are presented in the original English-language audio,
with Spanish subtitles, or they may be overdubbed. I prefer to see a movie with its original audio and
thus prefer subtitled films to overdubbed films.
On this visit, our family viewed the Star Wars Rogue One movie (subtitled),
which included Mexican actor Diego Luna as a protagonist.
The soon-to-begin U.S. presidency of Donald Trump has attracted much attention
The Mexican government is making some preparations in case there are large amounts of Mexicans returning
(voluntarily or involuntarily) from the United States.
For example, at the border immigration station where I obtained permission to enter
Mexico, there is a section entitled Repatriación Humana, which means “humane repatriation.”
It’s subtitled México está contigo (Mexico is with you).
While at the station, I saw a total of five people at
the counter, presumably Mexicans returning to Mexico.
A sign in that section announced benefits to returnees,
including food and water and temporary lodging.
Also at the station, a Mexican driver’s license and a CURP identification document
could be obtained. These are presumably offered to returning Mexicans who have been in the U.S. for a while
and don’t have such documents in Mexico.
Our trip back to our home in the U.S. was for the most part uneventful, except for
the fact that we almost hit a deer on a U.S. highway at night. There he was, a big buck standing right
in front of us. The good thing is, he was a quick buck and jumped out of our way. That
was good for all of us.
Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years. His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info.