Monday, March 2, 2009

Old Mexico

Welcome to Mexico
Doesn't this make you feel safe? These street pictures really do not show how many people were there.

Every one of these businesses is a dental clinic.
Does this guy look like he is bringing drugs across the border?

We are now at the Holiday Village RV Park in Pharr, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. Tom and Georgie made the move with us and we all had our first visit to Nuevo Progreso, Mexico. This was also the first time the four of us experienced 100 degree temperatures in February. This little town on the banks of the Rio Grande is a shopper's haven for Winter Texans. We parked on the US side and after putting a quarter in the turn style (but 30 cents on the the Mexican side to return) walked across the border into a mass of street vendors, shops, restaurants, pharmacies, and dental clinics. The other thing we noticed was the machine gun mounted on an armored vehicle and soldiers toting some heavy firepower. We had been told that Progreso was safe despite all the killings by the drug gangs in other border towns. We really did not feel we were in any danger and obviously neither did the hundreds of other Americans who were shopping there. Since we are not planning to be back in PA until 2010 and my prescriptions will expire before that, I purchased refills for my blood pressure meds over the counter for a reasonable price at the Almost Free Pharmacy. Many of the shops offer multiple services with one place giving a free dental cleaning if you spent more than $25 on alcohol. At the Arizona Restaurant, where we had lunch, they offered a free coupon to have your teeth cleaned with each meal. As we walked along the streets we were bombarded by offers to purchase the many services such as, botox treatments, eye exams with glasses in two hours, total dental care, even $3 haircuts and much, much more. In addition, the many vendors on the streets sold everything under the sun from jewelery, handbags, hats, leather belts and wallets to pottery, rugs, hammocks and many different types of food, much of which we were left wondering what it even was. The only downer of the visit was the few people on the street and under the bridge begging for a hand out. It was very sad to see this level of poverty. That said, we all made purchases and really enjoyed the experience. It's quite unique so don't pass up the opportunity to visit if you get the chance.

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