Saturday Patti, Mom and I took a day trip to Colonia Juarez to see Jennifer, Sasi and Jeneanne, and let Mom visit with her sister, Aunt Nellie. It's only a 3 hour drive, and very do-able in one day....assuming all goes as planned.
Our drive down was uneventful, which is great with the conditions in Mexico like they are. We got thru all the checkpoints without any problems. The only stop we made was in Casas Grandes to get Mother's hair cut and styled. Patti and I had been extremely negligent in getting that done earlier and poor Mom looked like a homeless woman, as you can see in the picture below! Her hair was down to her shoulders, combed to the side and just awful. We ended up at a beauty school and didn't know what to expect at first, especially when they showed us this picture of a funky haircut all spiked up! We agreed to it anyway, and you can see Mom wasn't all that thrilled with what was happening to her! But during the styling process, they used a curling iron and she look really cute - not funky at all! Aunt Nellie always looks so prim and proper, we just couldn't take Mother to see her looking like she did.
Our visit was great fun. Mother is 95 and Aunt Nellie is 92 and at first they didn't even recognize each other! We had to introduce them. They are so funny together. Their conversations are nothing but nonsense! But they have alot of fun together, and that's so nice to see.
Jennifer and John fixed us a delicious lunch. After we had eaten, Aunt Nellie took all the extra brownies off the plate, wrapped them in a napkin and a baggie and took them home. That was a little odd!
I called Rocky to let him know we'd be on the road by 4:30. We planned to spend the last hour at Aunt Nellie's home with Jen and Sas, but I always forget to include the time it takes to get Mother out of the car and into the house, and the reverse when we have to leave. It's a significant! By the time we were actually in the car and ready to go, it was 5:30! When we were finally on our way, but still in Aunt Nellie's driveway, Mother asked "Where are we going?" When I said we were on our way back to El Paso, she said "I hope I can go to the bathroom before we leave."
Grrrrrrrr. Patti, being "patient and kind," asked her if she could wait 3 more hours!! "Well, I'll TRY!" was Mom's response! So we looked at each other, sighed, and backed up and started the process of getting mom out of the car, into the house, to the bathroom (that's another story altogether!), back to the car, into the car and finally we were off.....2 hours late! After stopping for tortas where the store was closed, gas and queso Menonita, it delayed us just enough that when we got to the Santa Teresa bridge it had closed, exactly 3 minutes before we got there. We couldn't believe it!
I have to interject a story here. There's a military checkpoint half way between where we bought the cheese and the border. The soldiers there check mostly for weapons, but probably look for drugs too. Patti and I both speak fairly good Spanish, and between the two of us, we're awesome! Patti was driving so she was in charge of fielding all the questions. I guess the soldier couldn't see into the back seat where mother was sitting, because he asked if we had any "pasajeros" (passengers). So Patti reaches for the handle to pop the trunk at the exact same time I told the soldier "Yes, our mother is with us," while I point with my thumb toward the back seat. So up pops the trunk, and the soldier looks at Patti, then at the trunk, then at me and back at the trunk. He very slowly walked toward the trunk fully expecting to see our mother back there. I asked Patti "WHAT ARE YOU DOING????" She said "I got confused!" I don't know how she could have thought pasajeros meant cajuela (trunk)!! Finally we all got on the same page and he let us go. That was a close one! Those guys don't have anything close to a sense of humor!
So now it's 10:03 p.m. Being a little closer to the border, I finally had a phone signal and was able to let Rocky know we were so close, yet so far! Because the bridge was closed, we had to drive 10 miles back to the road that takes you to Juarez, which is supposed to go directly to the Santa Fe bridge. Well, that didn't happen. (On a side note, the highway we were on now, took us right through the Home Depot parking lot in Juarez! Isn't that strange??) We spent two more hours of meandering around unfamiliar parts of one of the most dangerous city in the world! Patti, who has this uncanny sense of direction had completely shut down, and I had no clue where we were, except when we hit the red-light district. That was VERY interesting!! All we knew is where we were, not where we were in relation to the bridge! So we asked a taxi driver if he could tell us how to get there, and he said he'd lead us there in his car.....for $5! He got us there in about 3 minutes and I was so grateful, I paid him $10.
It's now past midnight and there's a hold up in the line to cross the border. We waited at least 30-45 minutes before we could finally pass. When we got to the US side of the border, Mother pipes up and says within earshot of the immigration officer, "Is this the place where you told me to say I'm an American?" Another uncomfortable moment, but I don't think he heard what she said, thank goodness, because all we had to prove her citizenship was a Mexican passport! Those guys don't have a sense of humor either. We got home at 1 a.m. and were exhausted! A three hour drive took us eight hours!
We had LOTS of laughs on the trip, because Patti and I think everything is funny, but we were so, so happy to be home.