EL PASO - I'll keep this short, but we're on our way out of Texas (finally), and we cross the border tomorrow.
It has been a long, four-day, 2,000-mile, eight-state journey thus far that has included a couple of stops with family and a couple of stops in La Quintas across Texas.
The end is near, but we had a few loose ends to tie up in El Paso before we could leave Texas once and for all. By the way, after we drove through Odessa and before we reached El Paso, there exists about 250 miles of desolation. A couple of small town-gas station stops, a couple of mountain ranges and a lot of sand and brush. Nothing else. I hope I never need to drive through west Texas again. No offense to west Texans.
Our chief reason for stopping in El Paso was to visit the Border Patrol to interview for our SENTRI skip-the-border-crossing-lane pass. Our appointment was for 8 a.m., and we were staying about 10 miles from the Border Patrol building we were to meet at. Deciding to play it safe, we left around 7:15 a.m., and it was good that we did because we needed a little extra time to find our way around the Border Patrol compound.
Still, we got there about 20 minutes early, and thus began the waiting process. This is where the Border Patrol morphs into the DMV. But with shorter, slower moving lines.
We signed in at 8 a.m. and waited 30 minutes until I got summoned to meet with a Border Patrol officer. He went through my documents, took my fingerprints and photo and interviewed me. It took about 30 more minutes. Then Natalie had about a 15-minute interview - shorter due to the fact that our officer did not need to double up on some of the information.
He was nice enough, though he seemed a bit shocked that neither of us have ever been to Mexico before. He asked both of us several times about different cities in Mexico and if we'd ever been to them.
Then back to the waiting room for another five or so minutes to fork over almost $200 for the SENTRI passes (we were both approved). Then another short wait to get our car inspected. Our appointment was for 8 a.m.; we left at 10 a.m.
We got our first look across the border and our first Border Patrol experience. We're excited about crossing tomorrow, and our future ex-pat comrades are excited to receive us. We're going out for tacos tomorrow night with them!
This probably closes the book on pre-post EF'M. I have to imagine the next time I post, it will be from Hermosillo.
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