Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Laredo

We got into Laredo about noon today and immediately started shopping. Laredo is a beautiful old town, with narrow streets, duty free shops, and wonderful architecture. This is the first time I've been on the Mexican border so my observations are a bit jumbled.

This shot is of the central square of the old town in Laredo, TX. We walked down to the duty free shops and bought some liquor. After we made our purchase, the store owners had a guy who carried our shopping bag to the international bridge, where our purchase was checked by Mexican authorities, then we walked past the turnstiles, crossed the road, then came back through US Customs. We put our bags in the car and went to lunch.

After lunch, we went over to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, where we took a carriage ride to the old market.

A view of Nuevo Laredo from the perspective of looking across a mule's behind. We bought some leather, and some jewelry, and some clothing. No problems there. US Dollars are universally accepted. There was some sort of weird butterfly infestation. There were literally millions of small butterflies in the old market. On the way back to the bridge, Jerome decided to buy some more tequila. He bought it at a duty-free shop and some guy who worked for the store took the bag and carried it to the bridge, where it was again checked by Mexican authorities and we took possession on the bridge.

I was amazed at the amount of cross bridge traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular. I don't see the problem with getting across the border. It is virtually porous. I didn't see anyone stopped going either direction. Anybody who actually swims the Rio Grande just doesn't want to walk across the bridge. One guy in Mexico asked if we could give him a ride to Fort Worth. We told him that we weren't going that way and he left.

Another thing that I noted was that we four were the only identifiable US citizens this afternoon in Nuevo Laredo. We stuck out like sore thumbs and we were treated with courtesy and dignity and respect. I never felt threatened or uncomfortable, but I was keenly aware that we were the only Gringos in the old market. The current exchange rate is a little over 11 to 1, and there are some very good bargains available in Mexico.

I wonder why there weren't more tourists over there this afternoon?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wait, you bought somthing duty-free in the US, walked into Mexico, and then walked right back into the USA?

And this little dance lets you avoid US taxes?

I wonder if the duty-free shop tips the Mexican Border guards?

Standard Mischief

Anonymous said...

And I wonder what happens in 2007, when the US starts requiring US passports for US citizens upon reentry?

SM

j said...

Did y'all happen to spy a young cowboy wrapped up in white linen? He's supposed to be as cold as clay, too.

El Capitan said...

Heh. I know that square well! I'd come across the border with a buddy one day carrying liquor & cigarettes, and we got ID carded by a Customs agent. Next day, we're coming across carrying blankets and bottles of vanilla and assorted touristy stuff, and the same Customs agent sees us out of an office window, comes hauling ass out the building and across the square yelling at us to stop. He was most disappointed he couldn't bust us for "double-dipping" our liquor and cig allotment.
I'll give him points for remembering us, though.