Before I started with my last 10 miles to the border crossing, I gave an interview in the Big Bisbee Breakfast show, a weekly show of Jon and Ben that is being watched by the inhabitants of Bisbee. I felt like a celebrity with the professional setup in the studio. Furthermore, they had an interesting guest in the show; the photographer of the Beatles in one of their US tours. After the show, it was time to say goodbye and to continue my journey. I didn’t want to leave, it was too comfortable in Bisbee. I believe that I could easily live there for a couple of months, if not years.
The Big Bisbee Breakfast Show
The wall that separates the US with Mexico became clearer and clearer as I was descending my way to the border. An impressive sight and something that I’m not used to as a ‘borderless’ European. The smooth border passage was also a new experience for me, they didn’t even scheck my baggage and they didn’t care that my route was not yet clear. It was my first test to speak Spanish, something I learned to do 3 years ago but never applied afterwards. Unfortunately, I forgot a lot of words and grammar, but I’ll probably become fluent in all those months in Spanish speaking countries. After the border crossing, I had no choice but to take the interstate to Cananea, about 50 kilometers. The other road was parallel to the border, unpaved and dangerous because of potential drugs and human trafficking, according to the customs officers. I preferred the interstate. And it wasn’t that bad, a lot of happy Mexicans greeted me by using the horn.
Het nieuwe ijzeren gordijn
While I was eating my first authentic Mexican taco’s, I asked if there was a place to pitch up my tent. They were going to call someone for help. ‘Someone’ turned out to be the police, who arrived about ten minutes later. They knew a place to camp. I threw my bicycle and stuff in their pick-up truck, and they brought me to a location of the red cross, where I could stay the night. I could even stay the night! For breakfast, they gave me some tacos with frijoles. When we finished, a journalist arrived for an interview for the local newspaper. Apparently, someone from the red cross communicated my stay. My third interview in three days, but this time in Spanish, which was definitely not as smooth as the English ones.
At the red cross (a.k.a. Cruz Roja)
Because I have (at least on paper) six months in Mexico, I’m not in a rush to cross the country. I’m going to take it easy. The last weeks in the US, there was a certain time pressure to reach the border in time. From Cananea, I started ‘Ruta del rio Sonora’, parallel to the Sonora river which is currently almost dry. The route is about 200 miles, full with nice villages. After 60 kilometers of cycling on a road under construction, I arrived in Bocoachi. After lunch, they gave me a personal jeep tour to see the small river. When I cycled past a baseball field, Carlos beckoned me to come. I came over and he invited my to stay in his house. I met his family; mother, sister, brother and an infinite amount of animals who wandered in and around the house. During twilight, Carlos brought me to the top of a mountain to behold the stunning view over the village of Bocoachi.
The family of Carlos
Arizpe was the next village, only about 35 miles further, but with a nice mountain in between. This time, I somehow ended up at the local fire department, Pedro told me that I could choose my own bunker bed in an airconditioned room, very luxurious! In the evening, they invited me to the house of a friend, where the entire family was invited as well. The interview in Cananea was broadcasted on the local tv, and some people recognized me from the interview. By the way, if I tell people that I’m from Holanda, there are many people that start talking about the soccer (football) match between Mexico and Holland, four years ago. Holland won because of a controversial penalty in the extra time. It’s still a very sensitive topic here. When I left the following day, Pedro followed me with the ambulance for the first couple of miles.
You would almost forget that the area is really beautiful
The next village, Aconchi, is known for its hot springs. Not a very pleasant thought to dive into hot water when the temperature is already about 44 degrees Celsius (111 fahrenheit), but I just wanted to see it. Furthermore, there was a service in the local church where they worship a black Jesus, I've never seen that before!
The church service in Aconchi
The desert in the US was actually pretty cool compared to the temperatures here. I don’t think it’s very healthy to cycle in these conditions. I’m taking it easy with many breaks and I especially drink a lot of water. In Ures, a guy named Sergio offered me to drive me to Hermosillo, which was about 35-40 miles further. It was no problem that I didn’t have accommodation yet, he could arrange that for me.
He was part of a bicycle group in Hermosillo and arranged accommodation via this group. Sergio brought me to Alberto in Hermosillo in a nice neighborhood. Alberto had a second house that he normally rents out, but is currently empty. I could spend some nights over there.
Eventually, I spent nearly a week in Hermosillo, partly because I was waiting for a package from Tucson with some clothes that I forgot. Alberto showed me the entire city and I got to know the family culture in Mexico, which is very different from Dutch culture. Furthermore, he knew another journalist and he took me to another interview. I’m getting famous here!
At the front page of the newspaper