After a ten hour bus ride, which started in Veracruz, we ended up in Tampico. It was an hour late but that was fine, we got there in good time. We got to the border of Tamaulipas state, a state we had heard wasn't the safest, and were asked to show our passports. We forgot to bring our entry papers that were supposed to stay in our passports so they asked us to get off the bus. They began questioning us and asking what flight we took into Mexico and what day and time. They talked to us for a few minutes but after realizing we were just careless Americans they waved their hands at us and made us get back on the bus. We were pretty nervous but they just told us to always carry those papers with us always. From then on we did.
We got to the bus station and began walking to the temple, which was only a ten minute walk from the bus station which was awesome. We didn't feel too safe there and so didn't want to spend much time in Tampico. We walked to the temple and easily found it on a hill surrounded by palm trees and flowers.
The temples are always the most beautiful buildings in the areas we go to and it's amazing. Just across the street were very poor houses of cement, brick and tin. It was crazy to see the contrast, but those types of homes were common and the usual in Mexico, but still is humbling to see.
The Tampico temples is another cookie cutter temple as almost all in Mexico are, but it doesn't make it any less special. It also doesn't mean it'll be any less busy. Although it wasn't open much in the week because it's not busy enough, when we were there it was extremely busy! There were buses of people there to do baptisms and other ordinances. It was awesome to see how busy it was and how many people were there.
We went in and did initiatories because we had a bunch of names we needed to get done. Although Ivy and I aren't together during initiatories we still love them, even though in Tampico it was all in Spanish. Now initiatories, or washing and anointings, are different than other ceremonies in the temple. You receive blessings for your body, mind and spirit to prepare you for the endowment. The blessings you receive are enjoyable to listen to and to help us remember what blessings we have. Afterwards we went into the Celestial room and sat for a moment and enjoyed the beauty of it.
There was also a beautiful mural in the endowment room which we got to see because Ivy and I peeked our heads in. There were also other pretty paintings of what looked like the Tampico area with native people in them.
We met the temple president and other temple workers while in the temple. We love to meet the temple presidents if possible. They are all so friendly and that is partially why we love the temples so much, because the members are so nice!
We then went outside and took some pictures, taking a couple different tried to get some good shots that we liked. It's funny to look at the difference from our first temple pictured to now and just how much a semi-nice camera is better than a phone. Definitely worth the purchase.
One of the workers was leaving the temple and recommended a little hole-in-the-wall for us to eat at across the street from the temple. It was in business only because of the temple workers and so we figured we'd support it and have some gorditas, a yummy Mexican food where they stuff ticker tortillas full of meat, cheese or potatoes. They're pretty tasty but we still prefer tacos, always!
After yummy gorditas we headed right back to the bus station. Although we were only there for a few hours and had only gone to the temple, it was completely worth it. We thought about going to the beach there, but in Ciudad Valles where we were going to stay the night there was more to do and so we didn't mind leaving early and spending more time in Ciudad Valles.
We had spent a ten hour bus to get to Tampico, and then another twenty or so hours of bus rides and waiting patiently at bus stations to get home just so we could go to another temple. I'm not bragging or anything but just what to mention that there shouldn't be any simple excuses to why not to go to the temple. Members there rented vans, drive hours and arrived in the dozens for a weekend just to go to the temple. Make time for the temples and you will be blessed, and we know this to be the truth!