First, let me apologize to all two of you who noticed that I didn't post an entry last night. It's so comforting to know that I am missed! :) Seriously, though, I do appreciate all of you who read the blog. I don't know how many are out there, but it is nice to know that it's read. While I write the blog for my own enjoyment as well as a diary of our travels, I also love the fact that others enjoy reading it! Now on to the post.
We started out about 9am, eight of us in two cars. It was going to be about a three hour trip, so we just settled in for the ride. Randy & I rode with Mark and Dortha; Jim & Ellie drove with Rod & Deb. It was fun to have that time to get to know Mark and Dortha better. They are great folks and we're sorry that we aren't going to have more time with them this trip. Hopefully, down the road we'll all meet up again.
Our destination was Progreso, Mexico. The biggest town in Texas near Progreso is McAllen. That gives you an idea of where we were. We parked on the US side and walked over to Mexico. Amazingly, it cost only $2 to park for the day! Then, it cost us a quarter to walk across the bridge. Not quite sure what the quarter was for, but . . .
The Rio Grande River at this location is not very grand, I'll tell you that. I took a picture of it, but it pretty much looks like any other river I've seen. :)
There is a sign halfway across the bridge that indicates the border between the US and Mexico. The requisite picture is below.
Once over the bridge the first thing you see are the federales standing in the street, complete with weapons and a small tank. Supposedly this a joint effort with the US to curb the drug smuggling. Not sure it's working for either side.
Okay, now we're in town and OMG! The vendors are everywhere and they come right up and show their various wares in your face, asking if you want to buy.
They are set up right on the sidewalk outside of the stores and there is little walking space between the storefronts and the vendors. I was a little overwhelmed to say the least. My companions, good buddies they are, found it very amusing as I strolled along wide-eyed and slackjawed. Thanks, guys! :)
The first stop was Arturo's for lunch.
Mark and Dortha have been here numerous times and highly recommended it. They were so right. The food was very good. And as usual, we had a fun time during the meal. Now that we were fortified with a good meal, it was time to hit the shops.
Let me tell you - you need any jewelry, dental work, or medications, come on down to Mexico. Good grief, it seemed the pattern of the stores were pharmacy, dentist, jewelry, pharmacy, dentist, department store (where you can buy more jewelry) . . . Really after you've walked about two blocks, you've got the idea. I'm proud to say that Mexico did not get much of our money. We bought lunch and a bottle of vanilla for the neighbor who walked Blackie for us and some peanuts and that's it. I'm so proud. :) Ellie did buy a pair of earrings and others bought some booze. But, I think we all left with money still in our pockets.
All told, we were there for about 3 hours. That was plenty. Now I can say I've been to Mexico. Well, I'd been once before about 24 years ago with Randy, but it wasn't like this and I wasn't impressed then, either.
Coming back over the bridge into the US, the beggars showed up. I had thought we'd see little kids as we came into the town, but they were waiting for us as we left. Not in plain sight, though. It was weird - they were all standing under the bridge with their mothers, all pleading and some sticking their hats through the openings in the bridge. Sad, I guess. But, my hardhearted American attitude was more like, just get a job and stop putting your kids through this!
We stopped at a huge flea market on the way home just to see what could be found. I don't think any of us bought anything except Mark. He got kettle corn. And of course, flea markets are just about my most favorite thing in the world she says sarcastically. Most of the time it seems they are selling stuff they found at yard sales. No thanks. However, Rod & Deb loved the produce market - they filled Jim & Ellie's trunk with goodies.
The ride home was pretty quiet, we were all tired from our big day. Sadly, we passed a HUGE grass fire that was in the process of being put out. And I caught the sunset, so that was nice.
We had a great day with wonderful new friends. As always it was hard to say good-bye last night, but we all hope we'll meet up again somewhere down the road.
Now we are traveling toward I-37 N on our way to San Antonio. Just have a little more than 2 hours until we reach our campground. Stay tuned!
Until the next time . . .