The nice man (who’s english was worse than my spanish) at the border in Columbus gave us a tourist card for 180 days!
Las Palomas (the town on the mexican side of the border) had a full quota of children trying to sell us things and lots of men sitting on street corners looking at our bicycles passing. We got out of there on a wave of euphoria at having made it through the border and settled into some onward progress.
Apart from forays into the hills to find secluded camping spots we’ve been on the road ever since. The road from Palomas to the federal highway from Juarez to Tijuana was being upgraded – big style. So we got to do 5km of dirt riding getting round the works. I seem to have enough Spanish to make myself understood in shops and with (hopefully) nice men at checkpoints. In fact, the most dangerous thing about Mexico is the lack of shoulder on really quite major roads with lots (and lots) of trucks on them. We’ve had to ride quickly off the road a couple of times. Once for a truck coming the other way who’d committed to overtaking before seeing us, and the other time to avoid a car being chased by the police.
This possibly gives the impression of a nation of maniac drivers – which would be very unfair. We’ve had a line of trucks going at a crawl behind us waiting for a time to get past us. They usually wave happily at us and seem very excited to see people on bicycles going their way.
The roads are also notable for the ready availability of cotton wool balls and dried chillis. It turns out they grow lots of cotton round here and things seem to escape readily from the lorries they use to transport stuff – we wonder how much makes it to the end of the journey.
We’ve elected to spend most of day in NCG sorting food and internet. We’ve even got a room in a hotel, making this the first night we’ve paid for in 7 weeks! Tomorrow we’ll head into the hills, away from the traffic towards El Largo and Madera.