It seems like a lifetime ago, but only a couple of days earlier as I was rafting along the Rio Grande river, story after story was told to me about the Boquillas border crossing.
I was wide-eyed and open-mouthed with wonder about this place, and like a tick embedded in one’s skin, I was bound and determined to go and check this place out. I mean, I already had my passport with me since I came from Jamaica, so why the hell not?
I find the dirt road out in the middle of nowhere that leads me to the border crossing station for Boquillas. The parking lot is already full and it’s not even noon yet. I park further on out along the dirt road, double-check my backpack and pockets to make sure I have everything I need, then walk on up to the border control station.
The nicest agent comes up to me and asks if I’ve crossed here before.
“No? Let me just run over the rules for you then…don’t bring back any liquor or guns or these type of souvenirs, ok? Have fun!”
And with that, he shows me the pathway to take and I start walking. My mind is in a State of surrealism. Did I really just cross the US border into Mexico and am walking into another country?
Maybe 100 feet of walking through a cool grove of trees before a clearing opens and I see the mighty Rio Grande river. A group of people are waiting at the water’s edge as a rowboat makes its way to the shore.
“You ready amigo?” The current barge has space for one more person, so I happily move to the front of the line and hop on in the boat. Before I know it, we are rowing across the river to Mexico.
Climbing the river banks on the other side, I’m given a ticket, then asked what mode of transportation I would like to take into town.
$10 for a truck. $8 for a horse. $5 for a burro. Or you can walk the mile for free.
“Burro por favor Senor!”
I pay the young kid the five dollars and get saddled up on my burro. Instinctively the animal knows which direction to go, and away I am whisked to adventures unknown.
I’m the highest I’ve ever been on adventure as I lumber my way along the Mexican desert to Boquillas.
Ten minutes later and I arrive. The town is as colorful as most towns are in Mexico. I climb down off my burro and walk into Boquillas to the sounds of siesta music and children playing.
It doesn’t take me long to walk from one end of town to the other. I wave to caballeros that are drinking in the afternoon sun and get friendly nods and salutations in return. I finally settle on Jose Falcons for lunch and pony on up to the patio bar that overlooks the river and Big Bend.
I stay for an undetermined amount of time, knocking back cold cervezas and delicious enchiladas. Eventually, I make my way back down to the stable of burros so I can go back to the river.
A couple of drunk gents are with me, and all of us are looking for someone to help us get onto a burro to ride, yet no one is around. I finally ask an older lady where a person is to help us, and I figure out that this is a “do it yourself” for the return trip.
I select a burro that looks somewhat demure, swing my leg over the saddle, and next thing I know we are back on the trail to the USA.
I make it back with no issues, climb into the boat and am taken back across the river. All I can think about while crossing is why anyone would want to ruin such a magical place with a stupid wall?