----only to walk a bit farther on to see THIS sign!
So we walk through the gates to México which is very easy...no showing a passport, ID or anything...of course we knew we were over the other side when we saw the army dudes with their M16s slung over their shoulders...I tried to get pictures of them but they didn't fall for it.
Entering downtown Algodones was like entering a crush of elderly shoppers at any Kohls on Wednesday. Except for the street vendors, beggars and shoe shiners, some of whom spoke pretty good English, most everyone was noticeably from Gringolandia.
Bill will just keep walking down the street and turn a deaf ear(which he is very good at!)when one of the people who are paid to bring patients in to the various dentists talks to him, but I have a hard time doing that. My bonus is that I get to practice my Spanish and once they realize I speak it, I don't get hustled so much.
Algodones, of course, is a relatively poor city that without the medical tourism would most likely dry up and disappear. It has the razor wire border fence running through it as well as 24/7 observation by the US Border Patrol to discourage anyone wanting a better life on the northern side.
Despite all that there was a steady stream of vehicles crossing the border both ways during our visit.
The Mexicans are a bit pickier on searching the vehicles than the are the foot traffic. We watched one guy who fit the perfect drug smuggling demographic - young, male and probably single - get searched twice on the Mexican side and twice on the US side. To me it is not worth it as of course, with my environmental email terrorist designation, I would no doubt have my vehicle torn apart as the TSA has probably told them I'm not to be trusted! Again touching upon the stupidity of government regulations - if you are walking across the border you can only bring back 1 liter of alcohol per person. BUT if you are driving you can bring back 3 liters per person! Hello? WHO makes these rules?
After getting estimates on our teeth, with Bill getting an estimate for 6 root canals and 6 crowns for $1400, we had lunch at a sidewalk café and decided to head back across the border as we had left the monsters in the RV and it was getting rather warm.We learned our lesson the hard way...next time we will be entering really, really early and leaving before noon or entering early afternoon and leaving around 6pm when all the older folks have gone back home. At least there was a covered walkway and .25 restrooms during our hour wait!
Going through customs was rather anti-climactic as it went really fast. The TSA must not have updated my file with them...the agent asked if I had bought anything in México and I said a T shirt and some chocolate...ok bye, have a nice day. Of course Bill was bringing in a GALLON of vanilla...boy did that cause some curiosity in the waiting line. But he came through fine also. We've had more questions asked at the California Agriculture stops and the Border Patrol inside the country than we did getting back in. It's just a good thing I noticed my passport had expired or we might have been there waiting quite a bit longer.
I forgot to include the photo of the new game day wear that Bill absolutely refused to get...I don't know why...I think he would look quite attractive wearing it with a cheesehead cowboy hat and drinking a beer.