Monday, February 11, 2013

Nuevo Progreso, Mexico

My sister Julia flew into McAllen on Thursday and, after dropping her luggage off at our home, we headed to Mexico for an afternoon of shopping.  For John and I it was our first foray into Mexico since we have arrived in the valley.  There is not too much for Winter Texans over the border, unless one is in need of some cheap dental work or medicine.  However, shopping and dining in the restaurants does provide some entertainment and fun.  In the past John and I usually went to the town Reynosa, but recently we had been warned to stay away from that town because it is not safe.  Maybe we should have questioned that by first checking with our friend from Our Savior Lutheran, who daily drives to work in Reynosa.   But Nuevo Progreso, a small town located close to Reynosa, would serve our purpose well because we just wanted to get a little shopping done and enjoy an authentic Mexican meal with a margarita or two!
Just as the margarita drink is very Mexican, so also are pinatas and tequila, pictured above.   Most tourists in Mexico may not usually purchase pinatas, but many of them are there for the tequila, and other cheap liquor buys (however, there is a hefty state tax on liquor upon crossing the border).  Pure vanilla is another popular purchase for tourists, in Mexico it is not as expensive as in the states.  It comes in rather large bottles, so unless one bakes a lot, one bottle can last a lifetime for Winter Texans!  There are also plenty other items as jewelry, handmade Mexican blankets, baskets, and purses for sale.  What is amazing to me is how low they will come down in the prices they charge, if one is willing to haggle with them long enough.  I am usually reluctant to do that, however, considering the level of poverty in Mexico.  There is also a certain amount of begging which is done outside of the stores, but usually the Mexicans have something to offer in return, as small pieces of gum.   Just as we were walking out of town and heading for the border several children ran toward us.  John was not moving fast enough so they surrounded him, hoping he would purchase the gum they had for sale.  He was so kind to oblige.  A nickel or dime, even a quarter, is a lot of money to them.

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