Siesta and Mercado
I have to say that, in my opinion, Mexican SIESTA is rather a joke than a reality, but is a joke that "sells"! I found in the Mexican market a T-shirt with a Mexican having siesta in a sitting position against a cactus, under his giant sombrero, with the inscription: "The Lazy Club". Italians say: "Si non e vero, e bene trovato!" (If it is not true, it is a good finding!). I bought this T-shirt for my niece, as it was a feminine one, and she liked it very much!
I am talking about the New Market or NUEVO MERCADO. The block long, open-air market is filled with shoppers every day. Its two floors contain over 100 small shops selling everything, from jewellery or clothing to leather belts or onyx chess sets. Mexican handwoven blankets, pots or glasses are also attractive. Be prepared to bargain at all the market shops. Negotiation is a friendly game here, and both the merchant and the shopper usually go away happy. If you do not bargain, later you will be thinking that YOU HAD TO DO SO for paying less, while the merchant will be also unhappy, thinking that HE COULD HAVE ASKED MORE MONEY! So get in the bargain game smiling and joking!
Los dos Laredos
I have been in Laredo on August 1990.
It is a long time since then and I can't find my personal photos. So I had to borrow some photos from the web about Webb, while giving links to the above sites and to some others I found and liked.
A lot of memories came back to my mind while surfing through these pages... Although a difficult task for a foreigner to discover such material (I had hundreds of pages with no interest in my search lists), I think I did it quite well, being somewhat lucky.
I want everybody to enjoy my page, both the VT-visitors and the owners of the links, and I do my best for this purpose.
So come with me to:
Los dos Laredos
Fondest memory of Laredo: Laredo is in Texas, the biggest city of the Webb county. If the word Texas brings in your mind a picture of Buffalo Bill, then I warn you that it is history! Laredo is a modern quiet city that would have almost nothing if it was not the main Gateway to Mexico. Laredo is not at all a typical US city. It happens exactly the opposite. Laredo is a "special case", and this "peculiarity" is making it an interesting place to visit.
- I could not imagine that I would find US citizens not speaking English!
- I was not aware that it would be so simple to enter on foot in Mexico just for some hours and get back so easily!
I have met people living in one side of the river and working or shopping in the other! Crossing the bridge and the borders is an everyday routine for the most of the habitants. Here are some FAQs:
- What is the river we are talking about?
- The river is Rio Grande, that is the TEX-MEX border-line (I liked very much this short-cut, that can be pronounced either in English or in Spanish). Although the river name sounds Spanish, Mexicans call it Rio Bravo!
- Why Los dos Laredos?
- Laredo is the American side of the city, while Nuevo Laredo is the Mexican one. You have a "two in one" pack!
- Is it so easy to cross the border?
- Yes! There is a special agreement between US and Mexico, about the communication of the two Laredos. Citizens of the two countries do not need passports or visas to cross the border, but only the ID card. There is a typical control on the US Customs office at the US side of the bridge, while the Mexican Customs office at the other end is in a permanent "siesta"! (They were; ten years after my visit, maybe they are awake!) The International "puente" (=bridge) No1 is joining the centers of the two cities.
Although Los dos Laredos is an interplay point of two different cultures and lifestyles, each side keeps some unique characteristics. I think that in August there would be the highest temperatures in the area. 115 deg F or 45.5 deg C is a possible temperature at noon, and the two sides had a totally different picture. Laredo, the American side, was almost deserted. Just a few cars were moving with their air-conditionings working at their highest setting, and when a car was stopping somewhere, the driver was running directly for a shelter in a shop or a house with a similar cooling equipment. All doors were closed to keep the desired temperature difference. Americans were afraid of heat! Nuevo Laredo, the Mexican side, was totally different. People were still walking in the streets, the most part of the shops had their doors opened, not having air-conditioning, and the best way to overcome heat, was to buy a chilled fruit juice from a street vendor and then find some bench under the shadow of a tree in the huge central square and lay there for a while.
I have to say that, in my opinion, Mexican siesta is rather a joke than a reality, but is a joke that "sells"! I found in the Mexican market a T-shirt with a Mexican having siesta in a sitting position against a cactus, under his giant sombrero, with the inscription: "The Lazy Club". Italians say: "Si non e vero, e bene trovato!" (If it is not true, it is a good finding!). I bought this T-shirt for my niece and she liked it very much!
I am talking about the New Market or Nuevo Mercado. The block long, open-air market is filled with shoppers every day. Its two floors contain over 100 small shops selling everything, from jewellery or clothing to leather belts or onyx chess sets. Mexican handwoven blankets, pots or glasses are also attractive. Be prepared to bargain at all the market shops. Negotiation is a friendly game here, and both the merchant and the shopper usually go away happy. If you do not bargain, later you will be thinking that you had to do it for paying less, while the merchant will be also unhappy, thinking that he could have asked more money! So get in the bargain game smiling and joking!
Nuevo Laredo was very friendly to my Mediterranean temperament. I was feeling "at home", while not speaking Spanish. I think that if I had to live in Los dos Laredos, I would prefer a house in the Mexican side plus a bicycle. A bicycle would be the best way to visit both sides: Both Laredos are absolutely flat, no parking problem, no taxes, no insurances, physical exercise! Besides, distances are not long. Crossing the border with a US car has some specific problems, so if you are interested, please have a look at my links!
Favorite Menu Item: All little cafe-restaurants I visited in Laredo (US side), serve Mexican food. Takos, enchiladas, fahitas... These are the most popular dishes. In Nuevo Laredo I tried some sea-food dishes and, of course, meat grilled on the charcoal, in the traditional Mexican way, that is very spectacular! I am sure that Mexicans both know how and like enjoying their food...
Concerning beer, Mexican beer is quite different in taste. Most people liked TEKATE, but I prefered BOHEMIENE (I am not sure for the spelling). Mexican beer is always served with a lemon slice at the top of the glass.
The Yellow Rose of Texas!
Click here to listen to the Music
from the site: Lone Star Junction
Luggage and Bags:
Just ordinary things, plus your computer! It will be useful to surf in the web. If you do so, try the following sites:
FOUR GOOD REASONS TO VISIT A BORDER TOWN
(more specifically, los dos Laredos!)
by Renée J. LaPerrière de Gutiérrez
Available in English
LAREDO: ROMANTIC BORDER GETAWAY
by Paris Permenter & John Bigley
Available in English.
LOS DOS LAREDOS
by Paris Permenter & John Bigley
Available in English
LAREDO CONVENTION AND VISITOR'S BUREAU
Available in English, Spanish
THE STATE OF TAMAULIPAS
(is the federal Mexican state to which Nuevo Laredo belongs
Available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese