Ladies and gentlemen, for my 700th cache, I decided to take a walk across a bridge. Welcome to Piedras Negras, Coahuila. The irony is that for Texas Independence Day, I invaded Mexico!
Unlike Juarez, I walked across instead of driving. As you can see, had I driven it would have taken me forever to get back. And besides, the cache was just in the square beyond so what would be the need or point of a car?
Getting across, of course, was easy. I paid 50 cents on the American side, went through the turnstile, and kept going until I hit the border then kept going. Eventually I got to a room with glass doors and inside was an officer manning an x-ray machine. She scanned my caching bag and I could tell she was a little perplexed at the contents. I got a little worried when I remembered that I had a spent shotgun shell with a log in it for hiding if I ever found the right place. Since she probably noticed there wasn’t any shot in it, she went ahead and waved me through.
I started looking for the cache. I looked high and low. The photos gave a good indication of where it should be, but it wasn’t. I was a little dejected because, well, this is the only cache in town and coming across had a cost. I took a closer look at the latest logs. Someone several months ago mentioned in their log that it had gone missing and that they had left a throwdown nearby. A few people had already claimed it and it was easy enough to find. It left me in a bit of an ethical quandary. I’m really, really not a fan of throwdowns. I think replacement caches are alright with the owner’s permission, but I don’t care for them at all. That said, I have no right to take a moral high ground on this one. I took that bottle, I signed that log, and I called it a find. Some might say that it shouldn’t count, that I shouldn’t get to claim it. But sometimes, you have to relax and accept a victory on whatever terms it may come. In the end, victory requires no explanation.
I turned around and headed back. Only cost me a quarter this time, which is a bit of a miracle because I don’t usually carry change and cash on me. I had just enough in nickels to get back. I walked past border agents with M-16s to another room with a glass door. This time, the man there wanted my passport, which I take with me whenever I get close to the border these days. He asked why I had crossed over, so I told him the truth: I photograph courthouses and, since I was already in Eagle Pass, I crossed over just to say that I’d been to Mexico. That was good enough. A few more steps and I was back in the US.
If that’s not a metaphor for something about all this, I don’t know what is… I went back to the car and got back on the road and passed through a checkpoint with the nicest border patrol officer ever. And eventually I got all the way to…