It has been a week of firsts for Familia Boyles! We experienced a long awaited sightseeing trip to the city of Monterrey complete with our first stay in a Mexican hotel. We completed our first week of homeschooling and were blessed far beyond our expectations. And, along with all of you, we rather reluctantly ushered in September.
As a family, we have an unwritten list of all that we hope to do during our time in Mexico. Among other items, it includes all the places we would like to see; places like The Copper Canyon, Mexico City, Tampico, The Colonial Heartland, and Monterrey. We can now mentally check off one of those items. Last week we had the opportunity to travel to Monterrey and spend the night. Monterrey is the third largest city in Mexico. It is about two and a half hours Southwest of Reynosa. We have all anticipated this trip since we arrived because, for one we've heard so much about the city from various sources and, two because we were dying to see the mountains!! Suffice it to say, Monterrey did not disappoint us. We had originally planned to make it a day trip. But when we looked online and found that nice hotels were only $60-$80 per night we decided to take advantage. When we arrived we knew we had decided wisely. We would not have been able to experience nearly enough in a day trip. We stayed in a Holiday Inn right in the heart of downtown which made it perfect for our sightseeing endeavors. Most of what we wanted to see was within walking distance and the rest was a short taxi ride away. On our first day we checked out the pedestrian shopping area known as the Zona Rosa. It was very modern and yet very Mexican which is quite an oximoron. We did lunch at VIPs which we knew from Reynosa. It is the Mexican equivalent of Dennys! We checked out one of the MANY parks in the city, Parque Hundido. One of the sights I really wanted to experience was the Barrio Antiguo. It is the "Old Town" part of the city with cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. We followed our tourist map to the area and headed up one of the antiquated streets. At first it reminded me a bit of downtown Charleston. But the further we walked it started to remind me more of downtown New Orleans, namely Bourbon Street! As we made our way we noticed men peeking out of doorways staring at us. We've grown accustomed to being stared at wherever we go, but this was a bit unnerving. Couple that with the fact that nearly every sign we saw contained the word "bar" somewhere on it. We made a U turn as soon as we realized our mistake, but in true Boyles family fashion it was anything but inconspicuous. As we were crossing the street to make our hasty retreat Jackson tripped on the curb. "Man down! Man down!" Those of you who know Jackson, know that he is the clutsier of the Boyles Brothers and these sort of incidents are not at all uncommon. However, we're in the middle of "Bourbon Street", with an audience that is growing by the minute, and Jackson is screaming that his toe "burns like fire!!!". I'd like to tell you that we all came to his aid with sympathy, but actually it was more like "shut the kid up and move FAST!". I think Brandon and Miller must have just started sprinting when they heard Jackson go down, because when I looked up they were about a block ahead of us. Brad was not far behind them and I was desperately trying to drag the injured child up the street. Just another day for the Boyles! I am happy to report that the remainder of the trip was without incident.
For dinner that evening, we found a restaurant that was recommended in our Mexican Travel book. La Puntada was just a block away from our hotel and was supposed to be a popular spot for locals. It turned out to be just what we had hoped for : good food, good atmosphere, kid friendly, and CHEAP!
On Friday Brad decided we would take a taxi to another park called Parque Ninos Heroes and visit the Museo de la Fauna y Ciencas Naturales (basically the museum of natural history). We had a great time! This was the first time for all of us in a Mexican taxi and what an experience it was! Our driver was Jaime(sp?) a fifty-year resident of the city and a very nice man. He took us to the park and offered to come back for us at whatever time we chose. We took him up on it. At the park, which has a botanical garden, an aviary, a lake, several musuems, and several sports facilities,we found our way to the Museo de la Fauna which cost a whopping 50cents for admission. It was a small exhibit so we were only there for about thirty minutes. That left us thirty minutes until our taxi returned so we took advantage of the row boats on the small lake. Brad and the boys rowed around in two boats while I stood on the shore and took pictures.
At 12:00 Jaime returned to pick us up. As we were riding back toward our hotel I asked him if he would recommend a place for us to have lunch. He,very excitedly, said, "El numero uno en Monterrey!" and told us all about a place where all the locals go and you can get "comida del dias" (daily specials) for about fifty pesos. He told us that the specials included soup, beans, rice, a meat dish, and tortillas. I think his mouth was watering as he described it! He then, eagerly pulled up in front of the restaurant...La Puntada! We all just gave eachother knowing looks and giggled to ourselves. We enjoyed the delicious "comida del dia" and commended Brad on choosing "El numero uno en Monterrey" the previous night. Thank you Jaime!!
After lunch we headed back "home" to Reynosa and laughed as we recounted our first adventure in Monterrey. We are already anticipating our next trip.
Since returning from Monterrey we have completed our first week of school. Most of you know I have been earnestly praying that God would guide me in this endeavor and that we would bring glory to Him. I am thrilled to report that we had a wonderful week and the grace of God was more than sufficient. I know that He has a blessed school year in store for us and I plan to enjoy every minute that I have with the boys. That doesn't mean, however,that I will stop praying. I will continue to seek His guidance and His grace daily to be the Mom and teacher He wants me to be.
Thanks to all of you who are praying for us. Please do not stop!! Pray that God would show us the work he has for us here, not just at the children's home but everywhere in Reynosa. Just this week a parking lot attendant whom Brad has befriended asked if we knew anyone who would hire his wife to "clean up". Her name is Maria. Please pray that Maria would find work and that she and her husband Ernesto would know Christ as their Savior.
Please know that we pray for all of you regularly. We pray for God's will to be done in your lives. We pray that He would bless you with wisdom to know His will, strength to do His will, and love for Him above all else.
Looking Ever to Him,
Row, row, row your boat!
This guy was stationed outside of our hotel!