|Walking to Mexico|
|Thursday, 24 March 2005 16:00|
We decided to drive to the little Mexican border-crossing of Los Algodones, five miles from Yuma, Arizona and about 55 miles from El Centro, California today. We had heard from many people that this is a great way to go into Mexico for a day to shop and look around, so we wanted to find out about it for ourselves. In El Centro we are still on Pacific Time, though less than an hour from the Mountain Time zone and the sun rises brightly shortly before 6:00 AM. As a result we were wide-awake by 7:00 AM and on our way to Mexico by 9:00.
The drive there on Hwy I-8, took us past acres of emerald green hay fields, then miles of flat, grey-green desert scrubland and eventually past the huge rolling hills of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. There we saw hundreds of RV's set up in the desert, most of them towing trailers loaded with ATV's, dirt bikes and dune buggies and it's a place we will check out more thoroughly at a later date. When we arrived at the border, for $3 we parked our car in a secure parking lot and then we casually walked into Mexico, no customs officers, just a short stroll into another country.
The first thing we noticed were dozens of dental offices and optical stores offering every dental service possible and eye exams and prescription glasses, all at major discounts. The next most common businesses were the pharmacies where the average consumer can purchase any name-brand or generic drug at dirt-cheap prices. Americans and Canadians are flocking there to buy anything from over-the-counter ibuprophen to prescription-only (in the US and Canada) Prozac and Viagra for almost unbelievable prices, well below any discounted price in their home countries. We also saw dozens of vendors selling everything including leather purses, clothing, ceramics, silver and gold jewellery, Mexican pottery and lace table linens. When we were done in Mexico, we casually walked back across the border and the only question we were asked was what country we were from. Rick bought a leather wallet for $5.00 and we had a delicious meal of fish tacos for a grand total of $2.50, so it was a pretty inexpensive and fun day.