Flat Stanley's Adventures in Illinois and Mexico

Feb. 27, 2009, On the Road
Dear Caleb,

Today, Flat Stanley and I made the long journey home to America. There is an airport in Saltillo, but it's very small, and the only US-bound flight is to Houston, which is of no use to me, since there's no flight from Houston to Champaign. So, Flat Stanley and I took a bus from Saltillo to Monterrey. Monterrey is a very large city, and it has a reasonable airport with a direct flight to Dallas, which is perfect for me, since there is one afternoon flight from Dallas to Champaign. Below is a photo of our bus, and a photo of Flat Stanley in his seat.

The bus ride to Monterrey is on a 2-lane highway, not quite as big as a US Interstate. The scenery... well, the scenery is mountains and desert. I've started to like the mountains and the desert. I could almost always see the mountains when I was in Saltillo, regardless of where I was. And I began to like the stark and barren landscape that led up to the mountains. I took a few photos from the bus window, so you can see what I mean. It's a bit like the scenery from an old western I think (except for the highway and traffic).

In the Monterrey airport, Flat Stanley made friends with the folks from American airlines. They seemed to like the little gringo, who has earned the nickname El Plano Loco. After we checked in, we made our way to the gate to wait (you'll see Flat Stanley waiting in one of the photos below), but not before passing by nearly every souvenir shop in the airport.

El Plano Loco had a few pesos that were burning a hole in his paper pockets, and he really wanted to buy something to remember the trip by. If you look closely, you'll find him in each of the three photos below of airport souvenir shops.

In the end, he chose to buy a liquid souvenir. This was a mistake. El Plano Loco had forgotten that you are not allowed to bring liquids onto the airplane. So, he had to drink his souvenir just outside of security. I took a photo of El Plano Loco in the security line and I learned that it is forbidden to photograph Mexican security. A friendly Federale helped me to erase the photo from my digital camera. Flat Stanley thought that was pretty funny.

Flat Stanley was feeling pretty bold when we boarded, and he offered to help the pilots with their preflight checklists. The pilots seemed to appreciate his help. After he was sure that everything was OK, and that we could safely take off, Flat Stanley took his seat (and fastened his seat belt, to be extra safe).

It was a long day for Flat Stanley, and he was happy to clear customs and be back in the USA (we also learned that it is forbidden to photograph the US Border Agent who checks passports). Below is a photo of DFW (that's airport code for Dallas Fort Worth), and finally, a photo of Flat Stanley safely back at home, tucked into bed for the night. He has become quite fond of the University of Illinois blanket. I think you may need to buy one for him.

I hope all is well back in Indiana. I think that it's time for Flat Stanley to come home, so tomorrow I'll take him to the post office. The short trip back to Southern Indiana should be no trouble for him after his long adventures in Mexico.