- 29 October 2001
- Hyatt Regency
- 542 KM
- 222258 KM
Departed Belize City in a downpour made worse by an angry wind. Drove to border and departed without difficulties. We passed on the newly established duty free zone between Belize and Mexico since there was a charge to enter!
Entering Mexico took a couple of hours. We had to make several photocopies of documents in order to buy required temporary permits for driving in Mexico. Simple stuff, right? The challenge: finding the copy machine worker! This happens frequently at border points, where a government requires copies of passport, driver’s license, carnet de passage or even their own forms, but doesn’t insure that a copy machine is available, or working for that matter, during border crossing hours. Showing his get-it-done spirit, Jim found an insurance company with an idle copy machine and paid them dearly for a few duplicates.
In order to purchase the temporary permits (US$22 each), we had to use separate credit cards – no cash accepted – to pay for each car’s temporary permit, since the carnet for the Millennium Mercedes is in Jim’s name and the GWagon carnet lists my name. The credit card approval machine was broken, so we stood 30 minutes waiting for the lone female official to call the bank twice for approval. What do foreign travelers do if they are without a credit card, since cash is not allowed at this Mexican border post? The positive spin on our delay: by this time, Jim and I were friendly with several of the Customs men, so we entered the country without even a routine search. Both of us were ecstatic, yet shocked over the non-search. Through Central America and into Mexico, we’ve had few searches and could have transported contraband if we’d so chosen. People wonder how illegal things get into countries. From our experience, smugglers don’t have too tough a road to hoe.