Toliet paper, you need it.
The El Mercado, the market but when you go to some restrooms in Mexico, there is not always toliet paper so you might want to carry some in your purse, car or bag. Took a drive on the beach, I was with someone that had been there when they were a child and could answer some questions I had, like there are food and beer vendors up and down the beach, I had questions about the food. However I did not eat at the beach but we did drink beer which is sold on the beach as well.
Across the Southern Border
On a trip to Texas to visit a friend, I specifically requested that he take me to Mexico so I could buy some vanilla.
I happen to love vanilla, and Mexican is the best--oddly, the least expensive, too.
Randy and I drove down to Brownsville and crossed over to the Mexican side there.
We didn't really know where we were going so we just walked. Several cabbies stopped and asked to give us rides. We refused each time until it became apparent that the shopping district was quite a ways from the border.
Another cabbie stopped and offered a ride. We accepted. Glad we did. The ride to town was a few miles at least.
"Lalo, our cabbie"
The cabbie introduced himself as Lalo (spelled only as I heard it). He was really a nice guy, and took the care to explain to us the various high points and cautions of visiting Mexico.
First of all, he said that we must remember that, in Mexico, pedestrians do not have the right of way. We must watch out for the cars, because they will run over pedestrians.
One of our first observations in Mexico was how very dirty--dusty, that is--the streets and buildings were. They obviously don't use street sweeping machines to control the dust.
Yet everything was very clean--that is, litter-free. We didn't see any fast food wrappers, pop cans, cigarette butts on the streets and sidewalks.
Our next observation was Lalo's cab. It was a Chevy Caprice, and wouldn't have been legal to drive in most cities in the USA. Do you know the Amos & Andy Jalopy? Well Lalo's cab bounced along like that.
It's shocks were useless, and he had some sort of axle/suspension problem that made riding in his car like being on a cantering horse.
Since our only specific intent was to buy vanilla, Lalo said he'd take us to the best place to buy it. Indeed he did. What we found interesting was that vanilla could be purchased most anywhere. The gift shops, as well as liquor stores. Lalo took us to a liquor store.
The proprietor there was very nice, and told us all about the best Tequila, and also vanilla. We bought four liters of vanilla and a half-liter of the "best" Mexican tequila.
As we went to other shops, we noted that the vanilla (for some reason, every store had only one brand of vanilla, and every store had the same brand. Prices varied from $7.00/liter down to $2.00/liter (at the liquor store Lalo took us to).
After a brief and uncomfortable experience in the shopping center where we haggled with a merchant til we got kicked out, we found Lalo again and asked him to take us on a tour of the city.
He gladly agreed, and drove us all around, telling us about various sites. As we drove through one section of town, Lalo warned us that we should not walk through this part of town, as it wasn't particularly safe for tourists. About this time he turned around and asked with a big smile if we wanted him to get us some ladies. LOL "I can get you some ladies, if you like," he said. I can still hear his accented words in my mind.
We declined and continued the tour. He drove us by the city's oldest church--something like 600 years old. As we drove by, we even got to peer into the open doors; A wedding was in progress. It was beautiful!
Bienvenidos A Mexico!
"Cast Schedule September 26 - 30, 1993"
Sunday the 26th - The cast departs Kingsville and makes the trek across the border into Mexico. We're prepared that it might take time to get the buses and truck through customs, even though our visas are in order. The buses get through fine, but out truck gets caught at the border. The cast arrives in Matamoros and we're introduced to our host families and go home for our first night in Mexico.
Monday the 27th - Our host families drop us off at Teatre de la Reforma first thing in the morning so one crew can set up our stage while the community service crew has some free time to explore the city. On big problem... our truck is stuck at the border so we don't have a stage to set-up! Our rehearsals commence without it. We have a cast lunch at Bigo's. It's a Mexican buffet. That evening the cast participates in a parade from the new border to the Plaza. That evening a bunch of us meet up at a local nightclub, Blanca White's, to dance the night away!
Tuesday the 28th - Community Involvement Day at Playa Bagdad! The community service project is a beach clean-up. We have lunch at Pasaje's - flautas, tamales & enchilladas. Then our first official Mexican show that night - a private show at Teatre de la Reforma.
Wednesday the 29th - Small group discussions today regarding Mexican culture. That night we have our second show, this time at Auditorio Municipal. The crowd is electric - they treated us like rock stars! It gave us a taste of what was to come in Mexico.
Thursday the 30th - Cast B says good bye to Matamoros and departs for Ciudad Victoria.
"Memories of Matamoros..."
Cast B rolled into Matamoros on September 26, 1993. We crossed the border after leaving Kingsville excited about what the next part of our tour had in store for us. The majority of us didn't speak Spanish, and I found myself thinking in French, since it was the only other language I spoke at the time, because I desperately wanted to communicate with my host family. I was hosted by a woman and her mother - neither of whom spoke very much English so it made for a fun first night in Mexico! Thankfully our welcome pack includes some handy Spanish phrases... Our allocation packet also included a red bead to symbolize our journey into Mexico.
Host Code: Atole
Roommate: Valentine (Belgium)