Today we headed to Mexico! We drove to the border and crossed into Mexico at Los Algodones. What amazed me (and Warren had told me this but I was Sure he must be wrong) is that there is NO border check when you go INTO Mexico.
After all the hype about border security in the U.S. I expected the same thing anytime I crossed a border. I was shocked when we just walked into Mexico and no one asked us anything: I didn’t have to show my passport, nor did anyone ask me why I was visiting or how long I would be there. I just held Warren’s hand and we walked through. Huh.
Once on the Mexico side we were bombarded by people asking us if we wanted a dental check up or any dental work, if we need our eyes checked, or if we would like to buy some drugs (the legal kind I assumed). We smiled and shook our heads and walked on. We saw jewellery, clothing, housewares, bags – you name it and it was for sale. I made the mistake of stopping to look at some turquoise. Yeah. So the man selling the jewellery was hauling out every necklace, ring and bracelet he owned. When I said no he appealed to Warren to buy his lady some jewellery. I did see one beautiful necklace & earrings set and asked what he wanted for them. $220. nope, too high so I shook my head and started away – the price started dropping like a stone, but I held firm and we stuck with no. He followed us down the walkway – it had been a slow day, he had not made any sales (something we heard a lot) and for me he had a very special price – $180. Nope, still too high. He came down to $80. Nope. I told him we’d look around and if we didn’t find anything cheaper we’d be back. He finally stopped following us. But of course, someone else started. Soon the ‘No thank you’ and smile stopped and I found myself either ignoring them or just shaking my head no. Warren just grinned through it all. We did find a stall that had some beautiful turquoise and I got a necklace and a bracelet – both set in silver. Warren haggled it down and we got a smokin’ good bargain. Further on I spied a leather wallet that I wanted – I was ready for the dance this time and while we started at $40 I did get it for $25. It is fun to haggle.
We stopped for a couple of Coke Lights (that’s what they call diet cokes in Mexico) and we snagged a table in an indoor courtyard. It was relatively quiet and a nice respite from the constant barrage of ‘hey – I’ll give you the best price!’ that followed us down the street. Of course the respite didn’t last long. A young man with a three trays of jewellery approached us ‘Necklaces? Rings? Bracelets for the pretty lady?’ I shook my head, ‘No thank you’ I said (and made a rookie mistake again) ‘I have all the jewellery I need’ he looked me over and said ‘I have chains, I’ll be back” and off he went. I looked at Warren who had his head turned trying not to let me see he was struggling not to laugh. Sigh. Two seconds later the young man was back with a tray of chains and pendants ‘See how nice’ he said ‘buy something! We have to pay for the wall!’ Warren said ‘We’re Canadians! We don’t have anything to do with Trump or that wall!’ This stopped the guy for a minute. Then we all laughed and finally he left us alone. It was a great line though.
A few seconds later another woman approached with braided bracelets – I was able to just say ‘No’ without a smile and she left. I did end up with a fan from the next woman though so we quickly finished our drinks and moved on – it was clear they sensed me weakening. As we headed towards the border we passed a stall selling really nice shirts – sleeveless with embroidery and palm trees on the hem. After a little deliberation, Warren pointed out a black shirt and I tried it on. It is the lightest, coolest shirt ever and we bought it – I wish now I had bought more than one, this shirt is perfect in the heat.
We stopped on the street and Warren told me to smile for a picture. In the picture below you will see me laughing and you will see a hand coming into frame on the left side – that hand belongs to some Mexican guy who as soon as he saw me stop for a picture, came racing over to photobomb it. Warren managed to snap it before the guy got there – I thought it was pretty funny though 🙂
Finally after 2 hours of shopping we staggered back over the border. We had to line up and pass through the border security to get into the states, but after a perfunctory question about what I had bought and a quick check of the passport, I was waved on. Warren had the bag of loot we’d bought so he took a couple more seconds than I did, then we were back in the u.s. As easy as that. I was sure that with all the palaver over homeland security from Trump it might be a bit harder, but as Warren pointed out: they aren’t looking for two old canadians walking over the border. Huh. So apparently Warren thinks I’m old…
We drove back into Yuma and went back to the downtown to see if we could get into any of the shops we saw yesterday in our wandering. A couple were open so we headed into one of the antique shops and scoped it out. There was a wooden cowboy carving that was as tall as I was – I really thought it should come home with us, but someone was a bit too practical minded and was sure it wouldn’t fit in the truck.
We then headed back to the hotel for a bit of a rest and I took advantage of this time to change into my new shirt – it’s beautiful! Once I had myself all refreshed, we headed out to see what else there was to do. Warren was fairly quiet then said ‘I wonder what happens if you follow one of these roads out of town towards Mexico?’ I shrugged ‘It probably stops…’ A short silence. ‘There’s probably a wall…’ Warren says. I looked at him for a moment, suddenly realizing where this was headed ‘We’re going to go find out, aren’t we?’ He laughed and nodded – and off we went, south towards the border.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) it turned out that after passing a lot of agricultural land and orange groves, we would have to be on gravel roads that were no longer maintained by the state and we didn’t want to put Ursula through that. But in our exploration we did end up going into an area where this sign was necessary:
Now, Warren was turning the truck around when I said ‘Wait! I want a picture of the sign!’ so he stopped so I could get a shot. But I had to first turn the camera on. Then take the lens cap off. Then open the window. Finally I got the picture. Warren commented that he’d HATE to have to rely on me if we were robbing a bank – I needed to be quicker. I mean, seriously, if I’m the person he’s relying on in a bank robbery, he’s already made his first mistake…
Tomorrow we are going to go poke around the California desert for the day!