Day27. Ciudad Acuna, Mexico
In the afternoon we headed into Mexico, to the border town of Ciudad Acuna.
It's a very brief ride along the bridge that connects Del Rio to Acuna-- about as long, it seemed, as going about a ten or twenty block distance in Manhattan-- but once there, you know you're somewhere else. The feeling is immediate.
The signs and buildings have different colors, different designs. And every other block there's another dental office.
The streets were much narrower than in Del Rio, and we moved slowly, the bell tolling periodically. We got a lot of shout-outs from people hanging out along the sidewalks, some quite enthusiastic. Our favorite reactions were from children. School had just gotten out. A group of girls giggled, and seemed to enjoy the spectacle of a large passing bell. They especially loved it when we made the wrong turn onto a one-way street.
Three boys stopped to ring the bell and took postcards, waving as we drove off. My favorite reaction was from a schoolboy sitting on the sidewalk, who called out "Viva America" as we passed. It was hard to tell from his inflection how he meant it-- sarcastic, joking, mocking, supportive, some kind of verbal pat on the back-- I don't know. But I liked it.
Coming back into the US, a group of border police came close to the car, looking at both of us, and at the bell, with severity, and asking a lot of questions. But it changed fast. The group of police around the car grew a little. Their questions about where the bell was going and where it came from took on a new tone; lost the edge of looming trouble. One guy seemed to particularly like the idea of the journey onwards to Marfa.