The scenery in and around Yuma was really pretty - different from what I'm used to, for sure, but pretty. Yuma is surrounded by mountains - it seems every direction we drove there were mountains in front of us or next to us. There were orange trees growing in people's yards! That was cool. My kids would LOVE that.
The next day, Derek had to work on videos/etc that morning, so I drove around Yuma some just to get out of the room. It felt great outside, had the windows down, radio up! It was nice. I went back and picked him up and we went to an assembly at a middle school for the football team. When that was finished, we had a few hours to kill. Well, that morning some of Derek's co-workers told me you could park on the US side of the border and just walk across into Mexico. I thought that would be great - just add one more place to our list while we were here! So I googled and researched border towns and thought that Algodones looked the most promising (Ok, so really, they just had the best looking website.) So we took off to the border. A few minutes on our way and I told Derek I thought we probably shouldn't, it was getting late, and we had the banquet that night. He said no, we're going - and kept driving. (See, this is important because this is what makes me able to make this at least partially Derek's fault!)
We got to the border and sure enough, there were big parking lots on the US side. So we found a parking spot. There were people just walking back and forth - mostly older people. Algodones and other border towns are popular with snow birds because you can get prescriptions and dental care for next to nothing. So we go bebopping down the side walk - no gate, no one there, just a sidewalk. There were a few signs posted along the sidewalk about not taking pictures at the border crossing, don't bring in weapons, etc. Just what you'd expect to see. We got into the town and walked around a bit - we were very unimpressed and kinda creeped out. It isn't the cleanest place, and there were people hanging out everywhere. Instead of little shops, there were just drug stores and dentist offices and liquor stores (as a friend of mine said last night, you just want to believe you're gonna cross the border and be greeted with margaritas and chips and salsa!)
So we decided to just go on back to the car and get back to Yuma so we could get ready for the banquet. We started walking down the same sidewalk we came in on - again, no one there, no gates, etc. But there was a drunk, homeless looking Mexican guy hanging out and he started telling us that we were Americans and we needed to walk on the other side of the street to exit. We just kind of ignored him and kept walking. We did see a small, unassuming sign that said something about pedestrians using the other side of the road to exit - so we thought, "eh," and went over to the other side of the street (just so we were following the rules. I don't even like to go "in" an "exit" door at the grocery store.) Well that put us in a line in a little building. Huh. We looked around and a couple of people had their passports pulled out. I looked at Derek and said, "we don't have to have a passport to go through this way do we?" Derek just shrugged... well, when it was his turn he went up and gave the guy his driver's license. They guy just looked at him - asked him what that was and asked to see his passport. Derek told him he didn't have a passport. The guy told him he would need a passport to enter the U.S. That was one of those moments in life where you heart hits your stomach and you are just SCARED. I walked up to the counter and the guy promptly told me to get back in line. He asked Derek some questions and entered some stuff into the computer. My mind was RACING (as was my heart, down there near my intestines) but I realized that the guy was repeating to Derek "you're in the U.S." and it hit me he was trying to tell Derek to go - so I yell at Derek "He's telling you to go - just go!" I walked up and handed him my DL and he asked if I had a passport and I said no - he said "I'm going to tell you like I told him - you will be entering U.S. non-compliant." He asked if Derek was my husband. Then he started talking Spanish over my head to the guy at the counter behind me. I said, "you guys are talking about how we are dumb a**es aren't you?" and he just kept typing. I walked through to Derek and we went out of the door. We had to walk down a long sidewalk that had chain link fence down both sides. I was convinced someone was going to be waiting at the end to take us! But nope, we made it back to Turtle. It took me a REALLY long time to get over the whole thing - I have always struggled with anxiety anyway, and that threw me into a good ole panic attack. We looked for a liquor store because I thought a glass of wine would help, but never found one. Derek called his dad, who of course lectured him. I figured he would!! What dads do! Boy was I glad to see this sign!
We went back to the hotel and got ready for the banquet (which was another anxiety-causer - I HATE having to get ready for things that I have no idea what the dress is and I don't know anyone going to ask. blech.) But we made it to the banquet. It was ok - the food was meh. The boys all were drinking this stuff - it was some kind of milk punch - and everyone was saying it tasted like cinnamon toast crunch. It did! We had fix-your-own fajitas with no cheese. I dunno. They presented all of the players, coaches, and staff with El Toro bowl watches. Then we got to sit through what basically turned into Arizona Western's pep rally. It was bad. When it was over, Derek and I tried to find a Mexican restaurant because I wanted Mexican while were there (and a margarita!) but we never could find one and I think we might have wound up eating In and Out again. I don't remember! The next day was the game and the flight home. We did have this sitting next to our car in the parking lot that morning when we left! They might be following us. Oops.
Overall, we had a good time. Yuma isn't on my places to revisit page. And I am most certainly over Mexico!! We still have no idea what it means that we are "non-compliant." I hope we don't need a passport anytime soon! :)