Monday, April 15, 2013

Into Mexico

Our trip south so far has been mostly good. Besides the dust storm and snow between Albuquerque and Flagstaff, the weather has been pleasant. As an added bonus, we did get to hang out with my cousin who just relocated to Albuquerque. What she may not have realized is that she is now guaranteed visitors every time we have to drive that wretched I-40 through New Mexico. Just so you know, New Mexico’s tar and chip roads are killer on the van’s windshield, I believe the majority of the small divots and 3 of the 5 chips are from the stretch between the NM/TX border and Albuquerque.

DSC02529 Repairing the windshield (again).

DSC02530Chilling at my cousin’s.

We stayed at a couple of national monuments through Arizona to get free camping, as they are basically BLM land. Then, two nights before we were to cross the border into Mexico, I realized that my camera has a couple of flecks of dust on the sensor (under the lens so I can’t brush them off). I called Sony and this repair is covered under warranty; however, I have to ship it to Laredo, TX, and wait 7-10 business days for them to repair it, then they will mail it to the location on my account (Tulsa, OK). That just won’t work for me. Then I tried to see if a camera repair shop could handle the job. They could, but it would take 2-3 business days and cost $95. I was not interested in that ratio, either. Fortunately, if I have lots of light, the specks don’t show up too badly in the pictures that I am taking.

Crossing the border was actually pretty easy again. The one issue we had was that we ended up in a broken, nothing-to-declare lane. They had put a police truck at the far end of the lane to block it, but I didn’t look that far ahead (I was too busy trying to read the Spanish signs). So, we had to back up out of the lane and go into the next one. Strangely enough, the offices for paperwork (to get your tourist card and your temporary import permit for your vehicle) were not located at the crossing, but 21 kilometers (13 miles) father south. The good part about that is there is plenty of parking, unlike in Tecate, when we had to drive for 5 minutes to find a spot 1 mile away. The agents there made it easy as well, walking us through the entire process. Only downside was that they put the temporary import sticker right in the middle of the windshield, so it is constantly in Jonathan’s line of view.

On another note, the morning that we crossed the border, I got ambitious and decided to make sweet potato pancakes for breakfast. Mostly so that I could get rid of the last of my fruits and vegetables before we crossed. I used my new steamer basket and handheld beater to prepare my sweet potato puree. They worked wonderfully. Hardest part was trying to get my skillet to the right temperature. The pancakes weren’t the best I have ever made, but they were pretty good.

That evening, I was ambitious again and tried to make stuffed bell peppers. My filling of rice, black beans, and mozzarella cheese was very tasty. I cooked the pepper in the oven on my silicone bakeware. They turned out fine, except I felt that it needed some seasoning. Maybe next time I will add spray some oil and add some salt when baking it.

DSC02670 I also made some crescent rolls.

I do need help with recipes!! While in Mexico, I can only think of Mexican dishes… :/ This is fine for me, but Jonathan isn’t a huge fan of Mexican all the time. And, even I need variety. So, please, please, please! Send me some recipes. Low in dairy products (minus butter) is preferred as it can get expensive or hard to find in Latin America.

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