So, the whole reason I put up this thing is to have a place I could point people to about the whole Visa process with Bety. Short of it is we got the visa, after much sitting, standing, and waiting. Didn’t know it was still possible to wait eight solid hours for paper to move from one side of the building to the other, but I guess there are a lot of people that apply for visas, and it’s almost guaranteed that each case is unique to some extent.
Monday was medical appointment, Tuesday (from 8am to 4pm) was actual Visa appointment. What stunk was there was nothing to do while waiting, we had no clue that it would end up taking a full eight hours to do it (I was figuring a four hour wait), and the only food that was available was after you got from Building A to Building B (literally, that’s what they were called), and there was a little cart that had nachos and cookies/gum/etc. Mmmmm… nachos.
Juarez was pretty cool (at least the parts that we stayed at). Advice I have / can give: Hotel Colonial was very good for the price (~$60 / night for a classy kind-of place, when everywhere else was $70+ for Marriotts, Holiday Inn, etc.), Lincoln Avenue (with Tesguinos, and Cananas) was within wonderful walking distance to grab a bite to eat. Tesguinos was cheaper all around, good atmosphere and US$0.75(!) beer (lemonades were $1.50 ea., after which Bety decided she was going to switch). $3-4 bar food was good as well. Nachos there were excellent.
Cananas had a good emphasis on sports, caught the Cowboys game there (grr @ Cowboys), was really surprised that Bety was into football as well. Cananas food was good, but not as memorable. Nachos Zapatistas was really just a smush of:
- Beans + Shredded Beef
- One Pound of Melted Cheese
- Green Peppers
Definitely a severe “ugh” factor afterwards. Lots of tequila there (they said 500 varieties) and plenty of people during Monday night football (plus free hot-dogs at halftime!)… it definitely seemed like a successful social spot, plus the last night we went there was some kind of bikers convention, lots of Harley-looking things in the parking lot. Well-behaved group. I can’t forget to mention the magician there too… this old guy in a suit did slight of hand, straw (popote) tricks (including taking a razor+straw into his mouth and spitting out bits of straw). I was able to see how some of his slights worked, but only because I was paying close attention.
After getting the visa, and having explored everything within walking distance of Hotel Colonial, the Consulate, and having 300+ Chihuauhan (the state where Juarez is located) high-school baseball players descend on the hotel, we decided it was time for a change. Ended up at the Hotel Monaco near “El Rio Grande” mall. $35 / night, really clean and well-taken care of, plus we had a whole bunch of new shops we could check out. We had grand plans of going off to the Parque Central or something, but it just didn’t look that exciting and worth the effort of getting a taxi and heading over.
We did catch a few movies (Shark Tale [or “Espanta Tiburones”], and Sin Rumba [aka: “Without a Paddle”]) and during the nights we hit up a few places nearby, Jimmy + Jaime’s on the other side of the mall, and Dega’s (restaurant / bar). Jimmy’s was fun because they had live music on a Thursday. Danced a bit with Bety while there, and had really sore legs the next morning. Going to Dega’s was kindof neat because I didn’t feel like such a perv afterwards (there were other couples who were kissing in the corners), not just us. (gotta take it where you can get it :^)
Visited los puentes (bridges) on the frontera (border) and talked to one of the crossing-guys there. Learned some interesting things about economics of border-crossing, grabbed some tacos al pastor, and headed back for our respective airports.
Juarez is a “big city”, and we didn’t do near as much as we could have (Parque Central, Avenida Juarez, clubbing, local pueblas, etc), but it seemed kindof boring at the same time… boring in some of the ways that Dallas seems boring. There’s stuff to do, but it feels like you have to make an effort to do it. Different from the times I’ve spent with Bety in Mexico D.F., where you still have to make that effort, but the city feels a lot more lively. I wouldn’t recommend it as a “must-visit”, unless you just wanted to drive somewhere, and lived reasonably close-by. Better to head off to Mexico City, or one of the tourist spots.
Overall it was a very good trip, extremely glad that we got the Visa and now it’s pretty much guaranteed that she’ll be heading up to Texas in ~February timeframe. We also got to spend a lot of time talking with each other, and it was especially interesting to be in a more isolated location (isolated from all her friends / family, especially). Very different, but I enjoyed it a lot … we set our own schedule, didn’t have any prior commitments, and could both just relax and hang out (after getting the visa, of course. The whole visa process in Juarez itself was very stressful, all the paperwork building up to it, and finally after so much time invested (I proposed in February 2004, remember!), to have it come down to sitting in two rooms with no clocks or TV’s (where we sat) for 8 hours, not knowing if the visa was going to be granted or not. I’ll just say I’m glad we’re over it!!!