I am in Sierra Blanca, a two-horse strip of nothing near El Paso Texas. I should be in Marfa looking at art but life has a remarkable way of getting in the way of ones intentions.
Yesterday started off badly and ended up even worse.
We woke up in the New Inn Willcox. The four of us. Grumpy and tired.
We set off for Marfa, ended up in Las Cruces by the Rio Grande.
This tiny, charming place made famous by the forests of pecans and pistachios planted around the town. There was a small street market where we baked in the midday sun.
I found a dedicated AA meeting-house.
Bagel was worried by our travelling through these southern border towns because his Swedish passport was well out of date. We scoffed. We weren’t going anywhere near the border. Yet, the proximity still scared him.
After lunch everyone was in great spirits, the road was clear, we were making good time. Lively, intelligent conversation. That was until we were funneled into a homeland security border control and everything went to shit.
We were routinely stopped and asked if we were US citizens.
None of us are.
Of course within minutes they discovered that Thomas’s (Bagel) passport was out of date and he had over stayed his welcome in the USA.
Then, to my horror they told me that my passport had problems and I too was detained.
Detained. For the next twenty hours I underwent a harrowing scrutiny.
I must say however that all of the border control agents, the ICE patrol guys and every single official I came into contact with was courteous, kind and helpful.
Quite unlike any British police officer..except the detective I met last summer with the sociopath.
These men and women have a tough, demanding job but, from what I saw, within that tiny little office at the edge of Interstate 10 there is a good family atmosphere. They seem to mainly deal with cannabis infractions. The sniffer dogs leaping on anyone with weed in their car.
Each dog is an official agent and has it’s own badge.
Just as I was leaving they brought in ten young goth men and women. Their tattoos and piercings at odds with the uniformed officers.
Again, I only saw the agents be utterly polite, once going out of their way to fetch an elder lady a wheel chair.
My situation was more complicated than Thomas’s as he had simply over stayed. So, after many, many phone calls I was released with my passport re-stamped correctly.
Thomas was not so lucky and is now languishing in an alien holding camp with a thousand other illegal aliens.
Of course all I worried about was the Little Dog who had to sit in a huge cage whilst they were processing me. He looks a little traumatized this morning. If I had been traveling on my own they would have called the pound.
It does not bear thinking about.
So, here we are. In El Paso at a cool coffee-house near the convention center hooked up to the internet waiting for 6 o’clock to roll around so we can visit Thomas. The Dane is obviously worried about his friend so we are obliged to curtail our trip.
This means that I will be in New York for the premiere of Transformers 3 and other choice events.
I have a great deal to achieve this coming week. I have hospital appointments, friends arriving from London and LA for my birthday party.
I am just thankful that the border immigration folk expedited my passport problem.