This past week has probably been our busiest week since we arrived - cram every little bit in before you leave, that sort of thing! We went on a few tours last week when the weather was still cold - The Border Patrol (i have new found respect for these hard working guys) and the Customs & Border Protection which was held at the Port of Entry. Both were very informative and I enjoyed them.
It's unfortunate that media attention of the drug cartel and the requirement of passports has caused the lack of Americans in this (and most) border villages. Del Rioans used to cross the border at will to shop and receive dental work but now most stay in Del Rio rather than obtain a passport for the whole family. It's expensive. Then stories of the drug cartel has many American tourists afraid to step foot into Mexico. Acuna has taken pains to ensure that their village is a safe one and I found it to be extremely so. Although I must say it seems eerily deserted. Many, many shops and restaurants have closed down due to lack of business. There seem to be many thriving dentists however!
Dad and I debated on whether to drive over to Mexico (there are many that won't) or to walk across the bridge. We decided to drive and we found a small parking lot adjacent to the drug store which is adjacent to the dentist's office. As is usually the case in our family, we were early. No problem. They are very laid back here and dad was seen shortly after we walked in the door. The appointment didn't take long and he was through before his actual appointed time! Since dad's appointment was a two-stage process we needed to return later in the afternoon and therefore had 5 1/2 hours to kill! We decided to walk - first around town (that didn't take long) and then back over the bridge. There is a pedestrian walkway on both sides of the bridge. We found out that it cost $.25 to cross from Mexico and $.75 to cross from the U.S. We paid our quarter and walked approximately a mile over the bridge, went through customs....nothing to do there so decided to walk back over the bridge into Mexico. We noticed a Duty Free shop on the U.S. side of the border and made a mental note to stop there to pick up some liquor before heading back to the RV Park.
Walking across the bridge back into Mexico we noticed a lot of garbage that was all the same....big bags that said "Homeland Security" on them, empty paper lunch bags, remnants of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, chips, orange peels, even some discarded clothing. We wondered what was up? We found out later. Del Rio is one of the few places that prosecutes illegal aliens instead of just sending them back over the border. After prosecuting them, they give them back their freshly laundered clothing (in the Homeland Security bags) and a sack lunch with beverage and send them back over the bridge into Mexico. That's what all the discarded garbage was. Every day or so someone comes along and sweeps it all up.
After walking back to Mexico we were understandably hungry and word of mouth said that Crosby's was the place to dine in Acuna. It was just down the street from the dentist. It's a very nice restaurant and the food was quite good. We met a woman from Oklahoma (the only other patron in the restaurant) who was dining alone and we asked her if she wanted to join us for lunch. She had also been to the dentist. Before we were served our lunch we were serenaded by Buki, a local resident who was missing quite a few teeth, but it didn't seem to inhibit his singing ability at all! Our waiter was a wonderful gentleman who didn't speak English but was quite excited when I ordered a Tecate beer!
After lunch we hit the local bakery. I love Mexican pastries, especially the empanadas, and since I don't know how to read Spanish, the filling in each empanada is a surprise to me. I pick up one of each, just to make sure! Of course, we each had eat a pastry right then - dad a lemon curd-filled cupcake and me, one of my empanadas! Apple - I think! It was a short walk back to the dentist for dad to finish up his appointment. After dad was finished the dentist was able to fit me in. Did I say they are very laid back here? My cleaning appointment, with an x-ray, cost me $40.00. By the time we were ready to head back to the states it was about 4:30pm.