(Finally finished writing this a day later)
Three, if you count that I finally slept in as late as I wanted to today. I didn't have to get up at my usual work times, but I still had to be somewhere every day since school ended last Friday.
Ahhh, so yesterday I experienced two things for the first time. One was finally going to Mexico. Growing up in northern California, the closest I ever got was San Diego. My church always took the high school group on missions trips the week I wasn't on spring break. Shoot, I've been to Canada 3 times, and that's way farther away. On Sunday, Luis and I were chatting away, and he told me he finally has 2 days off. Since he had lived in Nogales for a while, and I had never been, we decided to make a day trip out of it.
On the way, we stopped at Picacho Peak, where there's an ostrich farm. For $5 you get a cup of feed for the ostriches and deer, and a little container of nectar for the lorikeets. A sign shows how to feed the ostriches, and claims they don't bite. Well, you get out there and big signs say they DO bite. They peck really, but have no teeth. Well, I held some food flat on my palm as shown, and they peck hard! The bird did pinch my hand a little. Man, those birds are scary! You can pour food into little trays but they attack almost before you get the food in. Too bad we didn't save any for the deer, which were way calmer and cuter. They make funny noises, and stick their tongues out wanting food. I wasn't able to get a picture with the tongue though. Next we went to the lorikeet house. As soon as Luis went in, one landed on his back and I totally freaked out. I finally did go in, and thankfully, no birds landed on me. They all liked him. We took pictures, which I will post later, bought a few postcards, and left.
Next stop was Tucson, or actually Oro Valley, at Luis's parents' house. We ate lunch and talked for a while. His parents are really nice, and his mom is a good cook. It's true, they totally spoil him. I love their house, and the dogs.
When you get past Tucson towards Nogales, the signs give kilometers instead of miles. Strange, but oh well. You can see the houses going up the hillside before you cross the border, and I don't know what is holding those things up. How they got a foundation in the side of the hill, or if they did, I don't know. We parked and then walked across the border. I swear, it was weird. To get in, you just walk through this turnstile gate, no one watching, no big deal. I had no idea where to go, so we just walked to where I could buy something. Ok, that's just about everywhere. The small, crowded huts, for lack of better term, were closer to the border. Since I just scream "tourist," they were all inviting me in to look at their wares. I didn't want to be rude, so I looked, and said no thanks to most of it. Really, there was nothing I wanted. After about 10 places, I finally looked at some bracelets, and bought one I truly liked. It's my souveneir of the trip, along with the pictures. Luis and I got all sorts of funny comments. The shopkeepers kept telling me that he was buying anything I wanted. We were refered to as honeymooners by one, and I swear another person refered to him as my dad (?!?). Afterwards, we walked further into town, to places Luis remembered. We ate at one little cafe; I ordered strawberry and banana creps but ended up with walnut plantain crepes. Plantains are ok, but not enough like a banana for me. I ate some, and about half of Luis's fries as well. My mango margarita tasted like frozen orange juice concentrate, but I still liked it.
Since we were on foot, we didn't get that far into town, but we did zigzag through several streets looking around. Luis kept saying how different it was, and pointed out places he remembered. The shops crack me up, with the variety of items they sell. Almost all carry the same things, and they are all packed with wares. On the way back to the border, we stopped at another restaurant, Kookarpacha's, with a nice outdoor seating area. I had a Coca-Cola Light, aka Diet Coke. The bottle was obviously returned/refilled from the wear marks. I wanted to keep the bottle, but didn't ask, so just left it. Walking back through the border, you have to declare citizenship. Basically, you just show ID. I guess beginning next year, you'll need a passport, so it's a good thing I went now.
We drove around Nogales on the AZ side, looking for Luis's old school, then headed back to Tucson, where I had my other "first." Ok, so there were several firsts that day, but this one is major: I got pulled over for speeding. I was crusing along somewhere around 85 in what I thought was a 75 zone. I saw the cop too late, which was after Luis pointed him out. I slowed, but he had turned around. Not sure whether he would come after me, since he had to let another car go by before he could get on the road, I pulled over to the right lane anyway, and sure enough the cop caught up to me. He asked me if I knew what the limit was, and I really didn't know, so I said 75, which was the last posting I'd seen. However, we had just gotten back into the Tucson area, so it changed to 55 somewhere. I gulped. He asked if I knew how fast I was going, and I sad about 80; he nodded then went to go write up the report. So, I'm sitting there, ready to take my ticket and wondering what my fine and insurance cost will be. I said to Luis, wouldn't it be funny if he let me off? So, the officer comes back and says that he's putting me down as 64 in a 55 zone, and giving me a waste of finite resources ticket. My fine is $37 and it doesn't go on my record or insurance. I was drop-jawed. He didn't explain why he gave that to me, instead of the $201 fine I should have gotten. My theory is that I cooperated and admitted fault, and/or I have a pretty clean driving record. My last ding was over 5 years ago. Whatever it was, I thanked him profusely, and was soon on the road again, with Luis constantly reminding me to watch my speed.
Not in a real hurry to get back, I considered calling mercuriehg
but thought she might still be out of town. (Mer, we have to go to Eegees again!) Instead, we went to 4th street in Tucson, and stopped at a coffee shop whose owner goes to Luis's shop when she's in town. My vanilla au lait was pretty good, and it was nice to sit outside at the picnic tables. Around UofA reminds me of downtown Davis. The houses and little shops are similar, and a far cry from Phoenix and ASU. Afterwards, it was back to Oro Valley to give Luis's mom the vase he bought, plus pick up the Police concert tickets he's trying to sell. At last, we headed home, singing to the radio, talking about food, lack of time to cook, work, future road trips, etc. Even with the run-in with the law, I had a blast.