Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sunday Evening in Progresso, Mexico

We paid a quarter each to pass through the turnstile on the international bridge and pass into Progresso, Mexico – a border town along the Rio Grande. Our decision to cross the border was impulsive. We had spent time at the Basilica of San Juan and didn’t feel like heading back to the coach. I said, “Let’s go to Mexico.” Ed said “Why not” at least until he found out that it cost $2 to park our car on the US side of the international bridge. I persisted. We went to Mexico.

We found out in the first shop that the merchants close on Sunday at 7 PM. That left us a short hour and a half to explore. We discovered that Progresso is for shopping, eating, dental care, haircuts and manicures.

Merchandise lines the rows of shelves in traditional stores. Bright colored pottery, ornaments shaped like frogs and lady bugs, and assorted glasses for margaritas tempted me. Street vendors crowd the sidewalks with cart laden with wood carvings, bracelets, sunglasses and imitation Coach purses. One little boy with pleading brown eyes tried to entice me to by a red scarf. “Please buy it, do this for me,” he emphasized with the batting of his long eyelashes.

I caught the yummy smell of tacos and fajitas as I walked past the hot grills on each street corner. In the bakery, Ed and I satisfied our sweet-tooth with a cinnamon flavored treat. We saw corn tortillas glide down a conveyer belt, fresh baked. I accepted the warm sample offered to me, then bought a stack of tortillas wrapped in green wax paper for 99¢.

Several fellows dressed in green scrubs offered to clean my teeth. One said the price for laser whitening was $125, a fraction of the cost on the US side of the border. I found that I could also get a haircut for $5, manicure for $6, and pedicure for $8. I’ll be back another day I promised.

It cost 30¢ each to cross into the US from the Mexican side of the international bridge and we had to show ID to the disinterested border guard. By this time the sun began to fade and so were we.

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