McAllen, US and Reynosa and Monterrey Mexico ***
Trip Start Oct 10, 2006
110Trip End Ongoing
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WORD TO READER [[[[I will be using the word "GRINGO" a lot in this Usually, Latinos use it to describe Americans or Europeans...Mexicans usually use it just for Americans mainly while Argentines use it for anyone with light coloured skin or hair..It is not clear where the word originated from but one credible theory is that it came from the Mexican American war of 1846-48. It's said that the Mexicans used to roar to the American soldiers "Green go home" ..the Americans were wearing a green uniform. This theory doesn't quite explain why the whole of Latin America use the term but anyway, you''ll know what I mean by it.....]]]]
So we landed in McAllen on Saturday October 28th and first on the cards was a snooze
Collins had two Mexican friends that he met on Erasmus in Germany and we were set to spend the next week with them.
Luisa lives in Mission near McAllen, the American border with Mexico while her boyf Ricardo lives in Reynosa, the Mexican side. One is allowed to travel 30km into Mexico
without a Mexican permit so we just went back and forth between the two places for the week.
We got the greyhound bus from San Antonio to McAllen and it felt like we had already reached Mexico. There was only ourselves and one other gringo on the bus and Spanish was the only language spoken.
McAllen is like most other cities in America but everyone there looks Mexican and Spanish is spoken in all places including the Walmart supermarkets.
You realise immediately that you're in Mexico after crossing the border to Reynosa, however, when you experience the crazy drivers and the general chaos
We went out the Saturday night we got to Reynosa with Luisa, Ricardo and their pals. Ricardo plays in a heavy metal band and we got to see them in action. It was a good night and Collins was tres happy with himself upon snogging a Mexican young waaan.
Ricardo and his gang started slagging me bout Collins getting his name on the scoreboard first but Collins quickly jumped to my defence insisting it was an inevitability considering how high my standards are when compared to his!...good point!...although considering how low his standards are, I don't know if that's much of a compliment:)
On the Monday, we went to South Pedro island about an hour and a half from McAllen. There, Collins and I had our first swim in the Gulf of Mexico and we did a bit of fishing. Collins tried to blame me that he didn´t catch any fish but as per usual, his pursuit of a scapegoat hit him hard in the face. Yes I did break the rod but only temporarily! He fixed it and later broke it himself...I blame the rod!
It was groovy spending time with Luisa and Ricardo so early on in the trip as they really gave us a good insight into the Mexican culture. The food was unreal aswell:) I really enjoy cuisine a la Mexicana although it is a little harsh on my tummy at times.. They put spices on EVERYTHING including fruit!
We spent Hallowéen eating Buffalo wings, drinking beer and partying at the house of one of Ricardo´s hottie friends (check out the pics!). Halloween seems to be considered as important a celebration in Mexico as it is in the U.S. but ,then again, the Mexicans are known for their obsession with death and ghosts so perhaps that is where the interest comes from.
MONTERREY Fri Nov 3rd-5th *** Maccy Ds, Burger King, HEB, the lot
We arrived in Monterrey with Luisa and Ricardo in tow on the Friday. We were due to stay the weekend with one of Luisa´s friend Farah. There, we mainly socialized.
On the Friday night, we went out in a little city near Monterrey called San Pedro, which is the hometown of the wealthiest people in Mexico and possibly the Americas. We waited thirty minutes to get into "thee" pub (I HATE QUEUING!)and in the end, we only got in on the promise that "we were Irish and would drink a lot." It was a nice pub.. a little difficult to talk over the large table for my liking but la musica was booming. UN, DOS, TRES, PUTOOOOOO!
Next day, we went to the brewery that is the creator of Indio, Sol, Carta Blanca beer etc (Corona´s top competition in Mexico) on Saturday. The tour was a little disappointing when compared with the tour I took of the Budweis factory in the Czech Republic but on the upside, there were free samples in the beer garden after. I got the impression that one could "sample" as many glasses as they'd like but obviously, we declined such a practice, being Irish and all!
Saturday night, we went out in the cosmopolitan social nucleus of Monterrey and it was unbelievable the amount of well-dressed people there...most of the peeps were way better-dressed than most Irish people when they go out and I´d consider that we are quite vain
I was beginning to question the statistic that one third of Mexicans live in dire poverty when Ricardo told me that people are judged by their clothes in Mexico....interesting eh.
I'd consider that to be the way with a lot of wealthy Latinos actually but given my limited experience so far, I will have to rely on time to tell.
It certainly lends to the theory that there is severe inequality between the rich and poor.
It was a good night anyway...and a great week with the Mexicans, (so sound and funny) Thankfully I didn´t have much of a hangover for the bus we were taking to Zacatecas on the Sunday.....