After having what was an incredible introduction to the USA we were on to our mext chapter. Nope, that’s wasn’t a typo, just a cringeworthy pun – we were going to Mexico!
Because it’s generally safer, fuel’s cheaper, and the highways are free and in better condition in the US vs Mexico, we decided to drive east from San Diego instead of south. What this meant was cutting across Arizona and New Mexico into Texas before crossing the border so that more time was spent on US roads.
We spent our first night vanping in Tuscon, high up in the mountains to escape the Arizona heat. The winding drive up through the Coronado National Forest combined with the sunset and cactus peppered landscape was truly a beautiful sight. The second night we spent overlooking the mountains on a little patch of BLM land in Las Cruces, about an hour north of El Paso, so that we could visit White Sands National Monument the following morning before continuing on. Our last night was spent perched at a picnic viewpoint about an hour north of where we would be crossing the border, watching cars cross a large river bridge from afar as the sun went down and the stars lit up the sky.
The next morning we rose early to reach Eagle Pass by sunrise as we had a big day of driving ahead of us. There we simply paid a toll, crossed the bridge, and were in Mexico – simple as that. The Mexican immigration office was strangely located about 50km past the border. When we finally found it we received our vehicle import permit, got our stamps, and were on our way to the first of our destinations – San Luis Potosí. It was there that we met our three-night couchsurfing host Dan, his warm and welcoming family, and his adorable pet pig Pecham.
After meeting everyone Dan and his brother Sam took us to a nearby taqueria where we had a crash course on everything Mexico. Over a few tacos, tortas and horchatas we also agreed on a rough plan for the following days then headed back home to rest up. Before saying buenas noches Dan mentioned that his mum invited us to join them for breakfast the next morning, so we agreed then fell straight to sleep.
The next morning we walked in to a 5-star breakfast. Fresh papaya with yoghurt, scrambled eggs with ham, refried beans, village cheese and the most perfectly ripe avocado we’ve ever had. We were in breakfast heaven. After stuffing ourselves silly Sam took us on a walking tour of San Luis Potosí’s downtown and surrounding area. We walked through several churches, museums and squares before breaking for lunch which included a very delicious chiles en nogada, courtesy of Sam’s girlfriend’s very generous mum.
After lunch we visited San Luis Potosí’s Centro de las Artes, an old jail which has been converted into a creative arts space. It was exceptionally well done and cool to walk through, especially given that we were given it’s entire history on a free guided tour. Dan then met us for a few after work beers and ended the day with our very first michelada, a type of spicy Mexican-style bloody mary, and some very delicious tacos.
The following day was Dan’s mum Laura’s birthday so Anita and I rushed out early to grab some flowers before breakfast. Because most things were shut we were unable to find any, but what we did find was a bakery selling all sorts of cakes. We chose a small cake then hurriedly grabbed a suitable birthday cake decoration, rushing back to make it in time for breakfast. We walked through the door, wished Laura a happy birthday and presented her with the cake. It was only when she put it down on the breakfast table that we realised the decoration actually said “Happy Mother’s Day”. Laura probably didn’t want to embaress us by mentioning it, but we found it more funny than anything.
Laura’s party that day was an absolute blast. There was line dancing, karaoke, an incredible spread of all different dishes and of course – tequila! We drank, ate and danced until the late afternoon, then disappeared with Dan and his friend Adrian for some hand-made ice cream. Cheese and lemon pie flavour? Um, yes please.
Our last morning was spent in the small town of Cerro de San Pedro, an old town with a long history of gold and silver mining. We spent some time walking the quiet streets, took a few photos, then headed back to Dan’s where we said our goodbyes and got back on the road.
A big thank you to Dan for giving us the VIP couchsurfing experience. We had such a fantastic time with you and your wonderful family. Nos veremos pronto!