Sunday, 16 September 2012

Day 71: a rest day in La Paz

Greetings all
Well a fascinating day today full of light, fiesta and colour, spiced with a touch of menace and a bombshell at the end. Read on dear reader, read on!
I leapt out of bed at the crack of eight-o-clock this morning which is unusually late for me and popped down to the hotel restaurant where I discovered that eggs naturale are eggs sunny side up. So eggs naturale con tocino y cafe sin leche!
Things were hotting up on the street as the Independence Day parades were gearing up. First it was the school children of various ages, hues, schools and accompaniments. The marching style was unusual - the arms swung high and then down to the waist with no follow through and a little extra stamp with the left foot.

Some swung arm and leg at the same time but I'm not sure they were meant to.

Some didn't have to march.

And some drummed.

While some had different coloured but similar uniforms.

Mexican flags were popular (which is understandable!)

Then it was the turn of the military and police. We're not used to the public display of weapons in NZ so it seemed quite odd. Are there this many guns in cities across Mexico? Across the world? I guess so.
First the police.

Yes, that's a KLR650.

This isn't.

This chap looked a bit more benevolent and waved cheerily to the crowd.

His mate didn't.

Then it was the turn of the Cruz Roja Mexicana - the Mexican Red Cross (I am a NZ Red Cross fan from way back!)

The Emergency Relief Team!

Then it was back to the armed forces.

These guys got a great reception.

And so did these.

The kids liked these ones.

The army is even into reforestation.

I think though that these were the crowd favourite. Love the boots on the horses!

She has real bearing, this one. And the horse as well.

This one was being made to rear and kick but I wasn't quick enough.

Finally just to put it all in perspective, a naval officer and his baby. Chur!

In the afternoon Dick and I decided to go to the ferry terminal to organise tickets for Tuesday's crossing to Matzalan. This is an overnight crossing leaving La Paz at 5pm and getting in to Matzalan at 11am. We were served by a charming seƱorita who had just a little more English than we have Spanish but we were ok. D&D scored the last cabin with its own shower and I was given a three berth cabin sin ducha. Without a shower. I asked her if this meant that I might be sharing with other passengers but she said no, it was a privTe cabin. I could however invite someone to share the cabin with me if I wished. Ok. She, however, was not available.
We then went to. Us toms to arrange for the permits for the bikes. This is a permit for the temporary importation of a vehicle into Mexico. You pay something like $USD450 as a bond and this is returned to you as you check the bike out of the country. There is no use made of the carnet de passage which we are carrying.
Then the bombshell. To get the permit we needed a tourist card which would have been issued to us at the airport or at the border. This is not a visa, just the card you fill out on the plane which then gets a form stapled into your passport allowing you 180 days in the country. Or 90 maybe. However .... we didn't arrive at an airport. And at the border before Tijuana we were just waved through with "nothing to declare." we have no such card.
So we have to get this tourist card. We were told we could try at the immigration office in La Paz (tomorrow!) but they have recently been instructed not to issue them. If they won't give us one we will have to get one from Tijuana. Now I'm not sure how geographically challenged you are, but let's just say that Tijuana is 1,480kms to the north. To return to Tijuana would be a huge blow.
So what can we do? Tomorrow we will front up at immigration and try and get the card. If not we might have to fly to Mexico City, get a card and fly back. Or something. We are all feeling a little despondent but will wait to see what tomorrow will bring.
By about 530 I realised I had forgotten to have lunch so I went to the hotel cafe again and ordered tacos pescado. Tacos with fish. It was fascinating. First they brought noches with chilli sauce sourced from a jolly old hot chilli, and some onion, tomato and coriander salsa. Then I go a plate of soup? Excuse me? Did I misorder? Apparently not because then out came three huge tacos stuffed with battered and deep fried fish pieces, refried beans (of course) and cole slaw. All of this came to 900pesos. About $NZD9. I thought at that point I might skip dinner and went back for a swim and a late siesta. Which might have been a mistake because it's now 930 and I am not tired. I guess I'll just have to spend the night worrying about guns and tourist cards and sea sickness pills and such like. I'm going to buy an umbrella to or row to use as a sun shade.
Goodnight all - wasn't that a lovely photo that Frank took of Lachie and Dillip taking tea. Of course he looks like me ... those dimples! :-)
Today's run: 0kms
Cumulative: 20,539kms
Tipovers: 2

Location:La Paz, BCS, Mexico


  1. Holy Cow Ken! I'm dying to find out how the whole "Tourist card" adventure works out. Great pics, and as always, great writing. You've got your amigo de la norte on the edge of his seat.

  2. Thanks Scotty. All sorted now we hope. :-)