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Much of my blog (not really a blog) will relate to my love of travel with articles and pics. It will be an ongoing project.

A Short Walk To Mexico

In El Paso we managed to find a big parking spot for the truck and trailer for only $10 right beside the bridge that leads to Juarez, Mexico across the Rio Grande.  As we trekked on foot across the international bridge imagine our surprise to see a narrow cement aqueduct with muddy water flowing through it.  This is the Rio Grande, the grand river that separates Mexico and the US?  I was totally crestfallen as we had crossed it a few days previous in New Mexico while riding our bicycles and at this location it was wide and picturesque.  The bridge was congested with cars and pedestrians that we found quite unusual for an ordinary weekday
We walked to a plaza where in typical Mexican style a church was the focal point.  Hundreds of adults and children roamed the streets and we were quite bewildered by all this activity.  We learned from a local that Mexican that Catholics celebrate Good Thursday as well as Good Friday that explained the bustling crowds.  An attractive Mexican man approached us to inquire “hey whiteys, aren’t you afraid of us”?  We replied that we had been in Mexico before and that we felt quite comfortable walking around.  We had an interesting conversation with him about his lifestyle, his family, how he had moved to the United States but eventually moved back to his motherland.  He explained to us how to find the “turista” flea market.  We found the market but were not too impressed with the wares.

As much as I like Mexico, I didn’t like this border town with its potholed streets and sidewalks, deteriorating buildings and litter strewn everywhere.  I tried to imagine someone coming into Mexico for the first time thinking this is how the rest of this beautiful country looks.  Border towns are not a good introduction to a country.

We had difficulty getting back into the US but not for the obvious reason i.e. not having proper identification.  Fred and I between us did not have 60 cents US in coins for the turnstile!  We saw an ice cream shop nearby and anyone who knows Fred knows he loves his ice cream so we bought two ice creams for $2.00 but the vendor did not have any change in coin!  I asked a few Mexican ladies but they did not “comprende” so Fred asked a man at the tollbooth who begrudgingly made change for a US dollar and we were able to return to Texas.  Our customs officer was a very friendly fellow who had lived in Canada and related to us his love of Moosehead beer.

We walked back across the bridge with throngs of mostly Mexican youth whose intent was to shop in El Paso in what I silently called Little Mexico.  The same loud music was blaring from speakers in front of the stores, the signs were all in Spanish and we had to keep reminding ourselves we were no longer in Mexico.  After a short walk to the downtown core our feet reminded us that three hours of walking was quite enough so we headed back to the truck.

We were astonished to hear that Juarez is one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico.  Hundreds of people are murdered each year due to the drug wars.  Yikes!  That explains why the young Mexican asked why we weren't afraid.

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