Friday, June 12, 2009

Border Crossing

We drove two hours southwest to Nuevo Progresso:
I'd never been to Mexico, and P. graciously
offered to slog it down there in the heat,
albeit, with AC. There is a 70 mile stretch
upon exiting Kingsville where there is
nothing but ranchland on either side of the
highway -- ranchland, state patrol cars,
black-eyed Susans ruffling in the wind,
and the ubiquitous mesquite trees. Mile upon mile
of fencing, a few Charolais cattle,
the occasional horse. Not exactly flat,
but not rolling either, more mounding,
slightly -- enough definition to keep
the landscape from getting dull.

The border crossing was uneventful
other than the armed guards
(on the Mexican side)
and the presence of a small
but menacing tank.

And then the main street of Nuevo Progresso:
we drove less than a block, pulled into
a parking spot, and were immediately set upon
by people hawking wallets, candied nuts, silver,
sunglasses, bracelets, candied pumpkin, plastic
flowers, rope chairs, fans, braided hair,
watches, cactus leaves, dried peppers,
zoloft! Prozac! Codeine! Dentistry!
(Cleaning? Crown? You need bridgework?)
Gee. No. Thanks.

I kept hearing
lady lady lady
every time I passed
a different table of wares for sale.
You like bracelet?
Try one!
This your size!
Nice hat for you!

So many colors, so much activity,
so many voices all at once! Overstimulation!
I felt like the poster-child for ADHD.
(Perhaps I should have picked up some Ritalin.)

Our Mexican Adventure proved to be
short-lived. I possess absolutely zero
tolerance for heat, and this was definitely
an outside walk-around kind of place.

So it was back across the border
to Fat Dad's, where it was quart-sized
glasses of iced tea, bbq pork, pinto beans
and slaw. Some sub-par pecan pie for P.
(I never take the caloric risk of getting
a less-than-perfect piece of pie.
I'm a pie snob, admittedly.)

And I only took four photos.
Just couldn't do it.

This backyard-trailer-&-row-seats shot
was taken behind a Dairy Queen
in Raymondville on Hwy 77, which is
a bit north of the town of Edcouch.
(I love that name: Edcouch. According
to Wikipedia, it was named after one Ed Couch,
an early 1900's land promoter and banker.
Somewhere along the way the space
was removed: white space gone AWOL!)

Anway, I spotted the trailer just past
the take-out window, where I got
a chocolate-dipped cone.
I told P. to back up, and he did.


  1. Oh "The Adventures of T in South Texas"....what could be better??? LOVE it! I am still laughing!

  2. Can a tank be anything but menacing, whatever it's size? Well, maybe in a pixar film?

    Love the pink painted aluminum trailer.

    Love, C.

  3. It's fun to be a roving tourist in these kinds of areas -- and absolutely miserable to be a resident. I am sure you are well aware of that.

    Our kids have no idea how lucky they are to have grown up in Seattle -- rare household robberies, and all. At least hope abounds -- and understanding of all the varieties of world cultures, rather than the constant fear of anything different, which permeates these rural areas.

  4. Hey T and Paul,
    You are driving the roads I rode on with my bike group in 1974.
    I will bring my old pictures of this ride Monday evening.
    Looking forward to it

  5. When I was growing up in South Texas I always thought the city folks were the ones that had things to be afraid of. Our doors were always unlocked, we walked wherever we wanted to go and "world cultures" were a part of every day life. Not miserable at all.
    The most sobering experience of my life may have been my first trip to Mexico where kids my age (10) were hustling "chicle" and anything else to make a nickel. It really made me appreciate everything we had.

    PS: I cannot believe that P actually drove into Mexico!

  6. rgg: we only drove in about 100 yards, and parked. But it counts! The heat index for the Rio Grande Valley on Friday was 111 degrees. Crazy.

  7. remember Kerouac's comments on Mexico in On the Road? 'Mexico was amazing, it was just like Mexico.'

  8. sean, I've not read Kerouac, and it's high time I did!