18th March 2018
I came by “Omnibus of Mexico” from Jimėnez in the state of Chihuahua. The bus had a long stop in Gomez on our way to Torrėon. I had asked before leaving in Jiménez about the duration of the trip and had got the answer “three hours”, which I informed my upcoming host about. She was very waiting for me, because she had an appointment this day in the afternoon. Unfortunately the cities are also in different timezones. I took a taxi and caught my host just before she absolutely had to leave. In a hurry she explained all I had to know about her place. She also handed out a key to me. In addition to that she told me, that she will be back in a couple of hours.
I took care about myself, calmed down and updated my blog somewhat. When I heard my host coming back, I went downstairs, but she did not ask for me and did not show up before two hours later, when she also introduced her boyfriend to me. We had tea together and were talking about Torréon. I showed them the list as well, which Felipe had written for me. Sandra, my host, told me, that there also is a high bridge between two mountains, which is worth to see. However she told me then, that we could go and see the “Dunas” the upcoming day in the afternoon. In the morning, they hade to visit the mother of her boyfriend, who will celebrate her birthday. She also told me, that the upcoming day is a holiday for remembrance of the late politician Benito Juarez. Anyway she did not tell me, that tourist attractions will be closed that day. I guess, she did not know that. I did not check the time, when I went to bed, but I think it was around 11pm.
19th March 2018
Sandra did just provide the room, even it was a nice one with an en-suite bathroom. She did not even offer breakfast, though I had a coffee and a “gordito” with cheese on my way downtown. It was for 20 MXN – no problem att all. I walked after gps, but what the gps told me, that downtown was, was further away as it had been if I directly had walked in the right direction. Unfortunately I did not know that, before I had asked a pedestrian, where I can find the entrance to the tunnel “Canal de la perla”. Therefore I took a taxi. I had to pay 40 MXN. It had been worth it, if the attraction had been open. Anyway, there was a parade close to it, which I watched instead, wondering, what the cars and small trucks without any decoration were following the parade for.
I tried to find a tourist information center, but did not – even I asked the police for the area (of the validad department). I gave up and bought an “agua de Horchata”. Still drinking it I was surprised, when I suddenly stood in front of a museum, but also that was closed. I checked the stalls instead, but started on my way back to Sandra’s home, when I passed a toy shop. I went back to it and bought birthday presents for my grandchildren. The gifts were not heavy. I continued walking, but bought an ice cream at another place – this time actually one in a cone, because I could not handle a cup and a teaspoon now.
I was back at Sandra’s earlier as agreed, but Sandra and her boyfriend were too. In addition to that, she introduced me to her “clients” – she is a yoga instructor. She told me, that they will follow us. When we entered the car, they had prefered, if I had taken the seat in the middle, but I told them, that I have difficulties to go so far in. Though I was allowed to sit at the outside. I had the feeling, that all these four guys would not care to raise from their seats, if we would met in a bus and there would not be any space for me to sit.
It took quite a long time to come to the “Dunas de Bilbao”. There was a parking fee to pay. I want to pay for it, but it did went out, that I only paid my share. Now we were really in the desert. We were not alone. Some people were already here. There were big sand dunes, like the ones at the coast in Northern Germany. From a high one of them, we could overlook the area. There was a strip of green, before the mountains took space. When we enjoyed the view, which we did for a really long time, it became very windy. Fortunately I had my back in the direction, where the sand came from. It took not a long time, before it was over. The wind did became strong again a couple of times. When we finally left, it became already dark. At Sandra’s home, her clients said good-bye. She and her boyfriend went to their private rooms, though I did go to “mine” and updated my blog a little more until I fell asleep.
20th March 2018
I was up at 7:30am, took my medicine as usual and had my own breakfast at 8am, which I had bought the evening before. I had planned to go to Lerdo this day, before I had to take the bus further, but first I had to find a stationary and a post office to send the gifts to Sweden. I had ask Sandra the evening before, where I can find the stationary. I walked there without my backpacks, because I was allowed to leave them in the house until I finally would leave for Saltillo.
I found the stationary quite easy. Unfortunately they did not have so strong paper as I wished, but I had to take what they offered. Surprisingly did the shop assistant wrap my gifts. I asked at the shop for the post office and got the directions. Well there it was my turn immediately. The clerk did weight and measure the package. Then he asked me something about registration. I had to choose between two alternatives. The first was to send it registered with a number, as I am used to. The other I did not understand – I did understand what he asked me, but not the difference of both ways. Though I chose the first one. When he had finished the process about it, I had to pay nearly 800 MXN, more than the price of the gifts, even they were not heavy. I remembered a similar situation from Australia.
I continued from the post office to a bus stop. Unfortunately the road was under maintenance there, but the busses did stop. Only the busses to my destination, Lerdo, did not. I tried again and again. Finally I was succesful. There had been busses every five minutes, but I had been waiting for almost half an hour. When I entered the bus, I told the driver, that I will go to Lerdo. He did not commend, that the bus was coming from there instead. At the last stop of the bus, the driver told me, that I have to take another one, he would not go further and I had to pay 6 MXN. When I finally catched a bus in the right direction, I had to pay 10 MXN. By the way, there were different routes to Lerdo, but I did not know that at that stage. The bus I had got, was not going into the center of the town, it stopped outside. Fortunately I asked in time about it, though I left at the shortest distance to the city center. Soon I found a taxi. The ride was for 20 MXN.
I had not taken some water with me, though the first I did in the city, was to buy agua de Horchata. They were stalls around the little park in front of the town hall. There was also one for ice cream. After I had walked around and taken photos here and the close surroundings, I bought an ice cream.
The stall had been recommend to me by Felipe. He also had recommended a restaurant, named “Casa de Conchita”, but I did not find it. Actually I did not understand, why Felipe had recommended me to see that little town. It might be belong to our different culture and experiences.
I could take a bus from downtown to Lerdo. On our way out of the city I could see a nice park as well as a well-filled canal. Back in Torrėon, the bus was only going to the city center. To save time, I took a taxi to Sandra’s home. It looked like she was at home, when I came there, but she did not answer me. Though I took my belongings, left the key as agreed and the house for taking another taxi, this time for the Central bus station. Here I bought a ticket for Saltillo. The bus should go soon, but arrived late. Finally I was on my way further.
During the bus ride I could see green fields, which had special water supplies, low mountains as well as cows and a cowboy. When the bus arrived in Saltillo, it was already dark, therefore I took a taxi to my host. The taxi driver could not find the number of the apartment house, but he asked a passing by pedestrian.
I was very welcomed by my new host Antonio. He was very tall and vigorous, but not fat. He looked more like a Teddy bear and as soft as a Teddy bear was also his behavior. Additionally he had a kind heart and the real couchsurfing spirit. He was very generous as well. Fun fact: We both were born 12th October, only the years were different. He showed me the night life of Saltillo as well as he told me, where to go daytime, how the bus system works in town etc. Saltillo is of the size, where you cannot see all the attractions by walking if you wish to have time left for the attractions.
The first evening Antonio took me to a baseball match by an Uber (taxi). When we arrived, the match had been ongoing for a while already, though we did not need to pay an admission fee, but we would not have cared about it.
Here we also met some of Antonio’s friends. Later he asked me, how usual it is with gay guys in Sweden and if they out themselves. Actually I do not really know, but I told him, that I have met more in Mexico already. He answered, that there are 40 million people living in Mexico, though it should not be surprising that I have met more of them.
We were going to a cosy restaurant after the match and had a beer.
Unfortunately they did not have tacos, which my company would love to eat. Therefore we left for another restaurant, but that was closing for the day. We were served, but could not eat there. It was a simple restaurant not cosy at all. It did not matter for us, that the restaurant was closing, because outside was a park with benches, where we ate. Even it was late already and Antonio had to go to work next day, we were going to a nice park – the green lung of the town and enjoyed it.
Finally his friends were going home to their place and we took a taxi to Antonio’s home. Well outside his door, he had no change for the ride, though I was happy, I could help. I had made a new experience for only 20 MXN, because I was not allowed to pay my share of the beer and the tacos. We were to bed as soon as possible, though Antonio could get some sleep. By the way he offered a twin bed in his bedroom. It was a little feeling like in a hostel, but that was not the case for the rest of his home.
21st March 2018
I took the bus downtown after breakfast, blogging and a snack around high noon, but left the bus a little early, what did not matter, because there was already something interesting to see.
I walked all the way to the Cathedral de Santiago. Antonio had shown me the Cathedral the night before, but I was interested in to take a photo during day time. On my way I also took photos from buildings I liked.
After I had taken photos of the church, its bells and the town hall, I first bought a top up for my smartphone and was then looking for a stall or a restaurant to get something to eat. I was very hungry and thirsty now! There was not much to choose, if I won’t spend lots of pesos. Therefore I ate two pizza slices at a small restaurant and had a bottle of water as well.
Now I tried to find the park, in which we had been the evening before. I did not find it, I only came to the suburb “Col. Jardin”. I was disappointed, but had no energy left to look further. I was happy to see, that I was not far away from Antonio’s apartment and walked down there. His home is in a secured complex with a security guy 24/7. I had left Antonio’s key there, if he would come home from work earlier than me. Actually the security guy was not in the box, when I came back. I hoped, that Antonio was already at home, but none dit open, when I knocked the door as well as a window. I was waiting in front of the apartment. Soon the security guy came and brought me the key.
When Antonio came home, we soon had a chat about family and Sri Lanka. He told me, that even in Mexico people with darker skin are less fortunated, that means here rules the same discrimination as in Sri Lanka. Antonio told me, that a friend of him had just mentioned (by Whatsapp), that Antonio should show me more of the night life of the city. The friend would meet up. Though we were again going by Uber to the city, but now to another area. Our destination was the Tuétanos gourmet cantina.
By the way tuétanos means marrow. This evening every guest could order one beer and got three for the same price. He ordered a Clamato for me and told me, to mix the beer with it. Clamato is a kind of tomato juice. It was drinkable and better with more beer and less Clamato. For me it was good to taste it, but that’s it. Antonio also chose the meal, but he first asked me, if I like pork more or beef. I answered him, that it does not matter, which one. He ordered Chamorro de puerco (leg of the pig, Schweinshaxe). It came grilled and was for two to three people. We had already begun to eat, when finally the friend arrived. We shared the meal and the beer with him.
In such cantinas always are TVs. One was directly in my direction. Even I tried to concentrate on my new friends, I was from time to time looking on the screen. A soccer game was shown between Chelsea and Barcelona. It ended 1:1. I also saw, that “Messi” played for Barcelona. Antonio and me shared the bill for the meal. He actually told me, it was the tip . He asked me for 50 MXN. Even home we took an Uber, but first we walked a while. During the walk I asked him, if the name Saltillo has to do with “sal”. He explained, that it comes from “salto”, which is well or spring. Salt ill means such a little one. For the Uber I was in with 20 MXN again.
Before we were going to bed, he told me, that another girlfriend of him is a journalist and was wondering if I would be OK with, if she would write an article about me. I agreed with it. Though he added, that his girlfriend would come to his place the upcoming morning around 10am, but would call me first. Antonio was early to bed, because he had to work in Monterrey the next day. I have got messages from my upcoming host, first asking me, when I will arrive and later answering me, that he has to work between 2pm and 10pm, though he would arrange it, that I could come to him in the late afternoon, as I had answered him. I sent a new message to him, that I can arrive later and wait at the bus station for him, if he will pick me up there. He agreed.
22nd March 2018
I awoke at 6am of Antonio’s alarm clock and could not fall asleep again. Before he was leaving for work, we hugged good-bye. Afterwards I had breakfast, dressed, made my files and worked with my blog. The journalist did neither come nor call. After eating a sandwich and some papaya I left Antonio’s apartment at 1:30 pm and gave the key to the security guy.
By taxi I was going to the “Museo del Desierto”. The taxi driver did comb his hair with his fingers all the time. He was wearing his hair a little longer and it seemed, like he tried to impress me. His car made noises like a part, maybe the exhauster, maybe a part of the control system would be loosed soon. I was happy, when we arrived at the museum. The fee was 51 MXN, he told me, though I asked him, if he really said 51 MXN. When he confirmed the price I gave him 60 MXN instead and told him to keep the rest.
I had to pay an admission fee of 120 MXN at the museum. I first was chocked – as usual, I still have to think about, how much it would be in SEK or EUR, to agree with the amounts to pay. Actually I had not more to pay as 5.25 EUR, which it absolutely is worth it. My backpacks and other belongings were safe saved behind the information desk. I spent all the time in the museum until the museum closed down. On my way out I bought a coconut sweet of an old Mexican, because it seemed, he did not get sold much that day. Outside I enjoyed the view for a while, but did not find the way out, where the taxi had left me. Though I took all the way down through the park. By the ramp it was very easy and here I have to give the Mexicans an eloge. Even the pedestrians ways often have high edges, there are always ramps, which mostly also are in a different colour than the rest, often blue. This long ramp had the same colour as the rest, but there were no vehicles allowed in the area.
Down on the street I soon could stop a taxi. Meanwhile I often was going with the yellow ones before, this was another company, which had white cars. This one was a little better, than the other cabs I had used before. At the bus station I have got a little problem. The Omnibus of Mexico had a long queue and no departures to Monterrey were shown on the display, but after 8pm. I looked around and also asked at another counter, but I did not find another bus company going there. When it finally was my turn, the assistant told me, that she could not buy a ticket to me for the next bus. I have to stay close to the counter, so she can call me if she can sell me a seat, when the bus has arrived. I did not understand all what she told me, though I asked her, if she speaks english. She did not. A young woman came to my help, explained the situation for me and told me, that the “Frontera” bus company is gong there as well and that it also is a little cheaper. I thanked that woman and was going to the counter of the Frontera. Asking for a ticket to Monterrey, it was easily done. Anyway I was wondering, that I did get a ticket for the bus, which should already had left the terminal, but when I came outside, it was still there. I entered and was happy, that I did have both seats for myself. Short time after me, the helpful woman entered as well. She should have taken a seat behind me, but that was already occupied. Though she asked me, if it was OK, that she used the seat closest to me, which I only could answer with a “yes”. She was really pleasant and told me, that she was from Chile, but had lived and worked in Brazil and are working in Mexico now. She added, that she would like to go to Europe, but that she does not have a chance to get a working visa. Furthermore she explained, that Saltillo and Monterrey are commuter towns. Many people from both towns are commuting to the other one for work. Therefore it is so hard to get a ride between the named stations. She still lives in Monterrey, but got a job in Saltillo. She has four hours travel to her work, which she began just this day and will look for an apartment in Saltillo soon. I think, my guardian angel has done a good work again 😉.
Before we arrived in Monterrey I could see a lot of real mountains, but I still had to give attention to the woman from Chile, though I could not really enjoy them. In addition to that, it was getting dark now.
For my happy days in Monterrey please click the following link: Nuevo Leon.