Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mexico vs. USA : A Contrast of Standards

The Los Ebanos Ferry to Mexico and the Ferry between Port Bolivar and Galveston, TX illustrate the remarkable different standards of ferry transportation in our world. The Los Ebanos Ferry is hand pulled by five muscular Mexican men across a narrow stretch of the Rio Grande River from 7 AM to 3PM when the river is not at flood level. This ferry’s capacity is limited to three vehicles and a dozen pedestrians. In Port Bolivar, the motorized ferry runs daily 24-hours with a capacity for cars, trucks, buses and RVs all waiting in multiple lanes to cross the Intracoastal Waterway through to Galveston Bay. Signs here warn motorists that jumping the line is a punishable infraction with monetary fine. There are signs at Los Ebanos too. One sign directs you to US Border Guards who check passports of those coming from the Mexican side of the river and refuse entry to anyone without proper proof of citizenship or visa. Another sign - "No alcohol beyond this point"- warns that alcohol is not permitted on the ferry. This must apply to those crossing the ferry not those hand pulling the ferry as we spied a 24-pack of Bud Light openly being enjoyed on the deck. What a startling contrast!

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