Tuesday, January 4, 2011, 12:31 AM
Posted by Administrator
For the first time in almost two years, I paid my $2 to park at the foot of the International Bridge, put my twenty-five cents into the sidewalk turnstile and walked into Mexico. The Mexican army's sandbagged machine gun emplacement... which had been at the foot of the bridge on the Mexican side... was gone. The armoured personnel carrier was still there and was surrounded by Mexican soldiers with automatic rifles slung over their shoulders. They were sharing a bag of what looked to be Cheetohs.

Tourists were there, mostly pale-white retirees from Indiana and Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest. Some walked through the streets carrying cups of beer. Six Americans were sitting in my Mexican dentist's waiting room (Dr. Leoncio Olivares...Benito Juarez 117-B). But the tourists thronged only as far as the Canada store...about 4 blocks South of the bridge. Last time I was here, the sidewalks were full-up for another 3 or 4 blocks South.

The economy (at least in this part of Mexico) is not so good. "Shoe shine mister?" "Shoe shine amigo?" I could not walk for more than a few seconds without being offered a shoeshine. I was accosted by at least 2 dozen shoe shiners and shoe-shine-salesmen of every age and (Mexican) description. I had never before...in my dozens of trips to this same town...been offered a shoeshine more than once. The locals are hustling and they are hustling because...financially...they are hurting.

I bought a cheese after being assured that the cheese I was buying wasn't for sale in the U.S. "No vende in Estados Unidos." "Necessita, el queso vende solo in Mexico." (My Spanish has not improved.) And I bought two big bottles of vanilla extract.

Then, without having had my shoes shined, I put another quarter in the turnstile and walked back across the bridge.

And, what awas especially good for both me and my life insurance company: at no time was I murdered by Mexican narco traffickers.

Heck, I wasn't even kidnapped.
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