Monday, August 25, 2008

What do you do when Mexico is only 2.5 hours away?

Noah had to work in Tucson last week, and we decided that I should go with him, we could stay over, and head down to Nogales, Mexico the next day before heading back. It was a lot of fun, and here are some of the things we did while we were there.
This is the San Xavier del Bac Mission near Tucson, AZ. It was built by the Jesuits in 1692, and is beautiful. It was crazy to be driving along the freeway in the middle of the desert and see this amazing structure sitting right in the middle of an Indian Reservation. It looks like it was transported straight from Europe to the south of Arizona. There is work being done on it right now, as you can see, to restore it. Some of the people working on it are from the same team that did the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
A closer view of the exterior of the building.

Some of the interior of the building.

The courtyard outside the building.
We also went to explore a place called Colossal Cave outside of Tucson. It is a dormant cave, but very cool to explore. It was the same type of cave as Minnetonka that I saw when I was at Bear Lake, but the caverns were much much smaller and it was more like walking through narrow hallways of formations.

Noah and I entering the park where the cave is...

The entrance to the actual cave, which smelled AWFUL. I had to not breathe through my nose almost halfway through the cave, because the guana (bat poop) smelled the place up. The entrance was especially stinky because they said may other animals also used that part of the cave...gross.

This is about the size of all the pathways through the cave. It was really neat because at time you had to bend down or scooch (is that really a word) sideways around a formation...because it was a dormant cave, it didn't matter if you touched the formations, so it made exploring fun.

An shot inside the cave. Sadly, there was a lot of destruction to the small formations before the cave became protected land and the work began to excavate parts of it.
Finally, Mexico! I have always loved Mexico, and of course Noah gets all giddy being there, too. While Noah insisted we find somewhere to eat where the locals would actually hang out and we did explore downtown Nogales, my favorite part of the visit was being right across the border where all the tourist-y stuff is. I love a good flea market, whether you actually need anything or not. So after eating at a very clean and nice food court at a big mall, I made Noah turn around and go back to the tourist end of town. He enjoyed the flea market as much as I did, and we scoped out some things we might want to get on our next trip down there with my parents in October!

The wall...this wall is all that separates the two countries. It is very thin and you can look through it in lots of parts. There are even holes big enough to hand stuff back and forth. It's amazing to look at the houses on each side of the wall. It is crazy the difference between the two sides.

This is the US/Mexico border from the Mexican side. These crosses are for some of the many people who have died on their journey for a better life.
Last quick story...when we arrived at our hotel in Tucson, it was 92 degrees in our room! We cranked the AC and left for a few hours. By the time we went to sleep, it was a perfect 72. Noah wanted to leave the AC on because he loves sleeping in a cold room. Well, I felt like I was camping all night. I kept trying to cover my head and snuggle into Noah as tightly as possible. When we woke up in the morning, it was 59 degrees! The AC wasn't on auto, but in the ON position. We were freezing!!!!! Noah definitely got his wish!


The DiStefano Family said...

Hey it looks like you had a lot of fun! How long until you find out what you are having...or are you going to be suprised? I am so excited for you guys!

Addison and Kristie said...

Addsion would love to keep our house right around 60 degrees if I would let him...I'm always freezing at night! By the way, if you happened to like the Ben Folds song on my playlist, it has just been brought to my attention that there is a certain F word in it...oops. I didn't mean to corrupt anyone. I just love the song!

The Cox Family said...
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The Cox Family said...

I am all about traveling with the husband on a "work trip". It is a great excuse to get away! I am jealous you went over into Mexico. I just love shopping at those flea markets. Looks like you two a fun time!

Billie Jo said...

You forgot to tell me that you were doing something fun and exciting. As long as their are chips and salsa involved I could eat anywhere in Mexico. Looks like fun!

Billie Sue said...

It looks like you will have snooped out all the good places to see by time when come in October. I'm not sure if I want to see the caves, however, since I am very sensitive to smell and my idea of fun is not thinking about bats pooping in places I am walking! Maybe pass on that one. The flea market sounds wonderful and fun. I will try to save some pesos just for that purpose. By the way -- don't show me the wall! It makes me very sad. I think I was one of the happiest people in the world when "the wall" of Berlin came down, so to think that WE - Americans put one up is despicable to me. There has to be a better way and much more tasteful!

The Gunnerson Family said...

What a fun little trip. I love finding exciting little "vacation" spot close to home that can make you feel like you are on a big getaway. Maybe while you guys are still living in Arizona we can make the LONG drive down for a little "vaca" of our own. I have never been to Arizona, except for the airport a few dozen times.

Laura said...

How nice to be able to take a little vacation and not have to go that far. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun.

McNeil Family said...

I was always fascinated by the beautiful cathedrals in Mexico (although admittedly a little scared about all of the wounded saints). We will have to plan a trip down to see you guys and we could head across the border. Cuidado with the local cuisine!

Chelsea Johnson said...

What a blast! I'm definitley glad you two went and got me restocked! Looks like a fun getway. Its also nice to run the air conditioner at someone elses expense!