Tag Archives: Mexico

Finally, Mexico!

After being within 15 miles of Mexico for 4+ months, we finally made it across the border! Now mind you, we didn’t drive into Mexico, we just walked. It’s a smart way to go!
There is a little town just across the border called Progresso and it is very “Winter Texan” friendly. It’s generally very safe because they rely heavily on the Winter Texan American dollars! You park your car on this side of the bridge ($2.00 for the whole day), cross over the bridge, pay your 50 cents, walk through a turnstile, and you’re in!
Immediately you are confronted with more dentists, pharmacies, plastic surgeons, street vendors and shops than you can possibly imagine! Want your name written on a grain of rice? It can be done in Progresso. Want to pick up a fancy hat or a handmade serape? There are a gazillion to choose from.  Silver jewlery, beaded jewelry, wallets and hand bags, statues, masks – it’s exhausting! Need a crown or an implant? Have they got a deal for you!  But we were there for just two reasons – Gary to stock up on his asthma medicine ($40 ea instead of $190 ea)
and me to pick up some vanilla. Good Mexican white vanilla @$1.99/quart. Can’t beat that.
We stopped by to see our spray-painting friend, Arturo, who was still painting beautiful scenes on saws using only spray paint, strips of paper and crushed Walmart bags.
He continues to amaze us!
We had lunch with friends at the Red Snapper, complete with Mexican Diet Coke
and then took a final walk back to the bridge.
I really wanted to pick-up some souvenirs for the kids and the grands, but I confess that between the cool temperatures, the over-eagerness of the vendors to sell you something, and a general lack of inspiration about what to actually get – well, we just called it a day and crossed back into the states. It only costs 35 cents to get back into the USA, although they do ask to see your passport (and what’s in your shopping bags). No such credentials required to get into Mexico (at least not if you’re on foot!), just 50 cents.
But once we were back in our truck, we decided to stop at a small goat farm that is operated by a young girl from our church. What a great stop! The farm just about backs up to the Rio Grande and has been in our friend’s family for many generations, although her goat farming enterprise is relatively new. Our first greeting was from little Crawford, who wanted to show off the piglet they’ve been raising in the house since he was the runt of the litter (the piglet, not Crawford!).
Let me tell you, there was some mighty loud squealing coming out of the little-bitty pig!
We checked out the baby goats
and before we knew it, Crawford was back with another show and tell – one of the new kittens!
Not quite as loud of a squeal, but still a bit of distress! He (she?) was soon reunited with the rest of his siblings
and all was right with the world.
There was giant garden (Dad does most of that work)
a flock of laying hens (of several different varieties!)
and even a beautiful polydactyl Siamese cat.
(That’s a cat with extra toes. We’re supposed to learn something everyday, right?)
Not pictured (because I was having too much fun just looking around) are the 3 Great Pyrenees, the milking goat herd (she sells the milk and makes goat’s milk soap), a horse in the pasture or the schnauzer type dog in the yard. Or the “teenage” chickens. Or the 7 month old baby boy, who was nestled contentedly in a baby carrier on his mama’s chest. (I must really be losing my touch to have missed a shot of that!)
I had gotten to know Nicole during the recent Ladies Retreat, so it was a delight to see her little farm in action!
RBFLadiesRetreat2014-22 She looked a little different in her farming mode, but the baby was still just a cute (as was she!), trust me!
It was a really fun stop, and as we were pulling out of the drive she and Crawford were hunting down the little piglet since they needed to hop in the car to get to the post office where a batch of baby chicks were waiting for them. Raise you hand if you think Crawford has a pretty incredible life? 🙂
I don’t know if we’ll make it back to Progresso – maybe if the weather warms up some and my kids give me some souvenir ideas (or we need some last minute dental work!) we’ll cross the Rio Grande again. But if not, at least we know we’ve stocked up on our pharmaceuticals for a bit and I can keep baking for a long time to come!

PS – If you’re wondering how we got to be friends with Arturo, the saw painter, here is the post from one of our visits last year! Here’s the link to our other trip into Progresso (last year) that gives a better feel for the “sensory overload” that can happen when you cross the border!

Vainilla, Dentisto, and Pharmacy

Today we did Mexico. OK, so we didn’t actually “do” Mexico. We did Progresso. While I’ve not seen much of Mexico in general, I do believe that Progresso is pretty much a stand alone town. It’s a mecca town for the Winter Texans (that would be us this year!) as their source for cheap vanilla, great prices on prescription drugs and amazing prices on quality dental work.
Crossing the border is pretty easy –
You park your car right before the bridge ($2.00 please), and walk across the bridge. No ID required to get into Progresso, just two quarters. Exact change please :).
The mighty Rio Grande
The hardest part about crossing the border is the heartbreak of the folks under the bridge, with their hats and hands outstretched, hoping for a quarter or a dime to be thrown their way.

Once you’re over the bridge it’s immediate overload of Dental Clinics, Pharmacies, and street vendors selling everything from beautiful silver jewelry to blankets to boots to pineapples.
We were with our friends Bill and Sandy, and since they were headed to finish up some dental work I decided visit one myself. I had broken a tooth several months ago, and while it wasn’t bothering me,  I did feel like it was a little dental time bomb just waiting to demand a pricey crown. And besides, I was overdue for a good cleaning. So, going on a recommendation from our host, Juan, I decided to Get.It.Done.
It went very well – he was able to repair the tooth without a crown, just a “two surface” filling and the total bill for the filling and cleaning – $40.00. It was a good start to the day!
Gary priced out some of his asthma medicine – about a third of the cost in the US. In the bag.  We found some cute things for the grandkids, and enjoyed a very yummy lunch on a balcony above the hustle and bustle of the street.
View from the balcony –
As we were wrapping up our time (still had to pick-up that vanilla) we walked past a street artist who was painting beautiful scenes on saws using only spray paint, edges of paper, and scrunched up grocery bags.
It was really fun watching him create, and then Gary asked him if he could do a custom saw/painting using a photo. That would be a cell phone photo. We agreed on a price (the same as his “regular” work), he made a sketch of what we wanted done and told us it would take about 1/2 hour. We set off to get our vanilla (they only let you buy two bottles per person now – go figure!), and returned to find our saw well on it’s way to becoming a family keepsake –
And the finished product with our new friend, Arturo the artist.
I know it’s kind of hokey, but geez – it’s the Cabin, painted on a saw!!! 🙂
And since he always paints both sides, I told him to just paint whatever is his easiest and fastest thing to paint. He did this side in under 10 minutes.
With spray paint. Crazy!
So it was a good day in Progresso! We  paid our quarter to get out of Mexico, crossed back over the Rio Grande,  presented our passports,  declared our vanilla and arrived back home in time for a late afternoon nap.

Yes, indeedy-do – it was a good day all around!