Instructions from Mexico


No more blogs for a short while as we go on a little vacaciones to Mexico. I had threatened to go to Mexico City on my own as my husband is curiously tentative about going south of the border. We have both traveled most of the world and he has been to very dangerous places in Africa and Latin America. A few years ago I went on solo vacations to Belize and Yucatan and finally I tempted him to go to Baha. Not Cabos – a little mission town where you have to take cash…

I have bad Spanish but it is good enough to argue the price of a taxi in Spanish when in Peru. The Canadian tourists that I met in Yucatan were amazed that I traveled on local buses solo. Anyway…I am too cheap to use the expensive transportation from the airport so searched around for a local shuttle operator. My husband said, “What if they don’t turn up?” “We will take a taxi”, I replied exasperatedly. To his relief I have chosen well and I laughed out loud when I read their very precise instructions.

There are reservation numbers, maps of terminals, and endless documentation for a $12 ride – told you I was cheap. It is so precise – ‘go directly through immigration and customs, blah, blah. Do not stop! Only approach our representatives with orange t-shirts, the company logo and your name on a sign’. I wondered if we were potential kidnap victims but this is just to get us past the time-share predators! All that was missing was the title – For Stupid Gringos.

It is a pity that I look like my one Scandinavian ancestor or I might breeze through but I know they will make a bee-line to the incredibly blonde white lady. Once I start being stroppy in Scottish accented Spanish they will back off in terror – it’s even better in Arabic. The Egyptian taxi drivers called me ‘Khamsa Guinea’ which translates to 5 Egyptian pounds. I would pay no more than 5 LE to go anywhere in Maadi. That was the middle ex-pat rate, not the ridiculous tourista rate or the slightly cheaper local rate. One unsuspecting driver from another area, like Nasr City, once picked me up and said it would be 25 LE. I shouted, in Arabic, for him to stop the car and got out. He tried to argue with me but I just said I would wait for the next taxi. Eventually, with his tail between his legs, he told me to get in and he would accept 5 LE.

Hasta la vista, baby!


stag bandera
Aren’t they beautiful? This is a small herd of deer that we spotted just behind the main street of Bandera – the Cowboy Capital of Texas. They were grazing by the stream, taking advantage of the free range hen’s food and blissfully unaware of the busy street just yards away. Unlike everything else, Texas deer are much smaller than those in Scotland and if you click on the postcard you will see a baby fawn who is not much bigger than the chicken – extra cute. It is such a pity that they taste so nice… We were on the second half of our trip that started in Rockport (see last blog post) and took Texas State Highway 16 west out of San Antonio which is the old stage coach route. It was a vividly bright, sunny, cold day – perfect for touring and sight-seeing. There were still hitching posts, to tie your horse, in the main street. It was a good mix of locals and tourists but I suspect it would be busy with day trippers at the weekend. There were shops that catered to Western Wear and I eavesdropped on two ranchers talking about water shortages. The many antique shops were full of amazing stuff – you could spend all day in the Bandera Antique Mall which had free coffee and friendly vendors. The River Medina crosses through the town and it is a slow-moving vivid green stretch of water. Bandera was originally settled by Polish immigrants and St Stanislaus Church is one of the oldest Catholic churches in Texas. To read more about how much fun we had and timeshare ‘water-boarding’, click on the red link. POSTCARD FROM BANDERA -click here