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What to buy: If you have to go to a store to buy certain goods, there are plenty to choose from. Since Mexicali is a border town, you will also recognize several American stores like Smart & Final, Costco, Home Depot and AM/PM stores.
One of the big Mexican supermarkets is "Gigante", located across the street from Hotel Lucerna. I found a very good deal on Vanilla there. If I go to Costco to buy a small bottle, I'll pay between $10 and 15. In Gigante I found a bog bottle of 33.8 fl oz. (1 liter) for only $4.
If you like hot chocolate, try IBARRA table chocolate. It's so good. More about it here:
Also, some of the people who travelled with us, took different brands of Tequila back to the U.S. But be aware that you can only bring back 1 liter of alcohol per person.
You will also see many street vendors. Keep in mind that they will often tell the tourists a higher price at first, so try to negotiate!
Updated Feb 5, 2006
Pedestrians may have the right of way by law, but do not expect drivers to automatically stop like they will do in the U.S. Many drivers disregard the right of way for pedestrians. Look both ways for oncoming traffic even with the traffic light (I've seen many red-light runners) and try to cross the street fast.
Also, if you rent a car or drive your own there, be aware that pedestrians don't stick to crosswalks, you will see them crossing everywhere on the road.
Speed bumps are very common, but not always marked.
In rural areas road conditions are often poor and the roads lack adequate shoulders, so be always careful, especially at night.
In general, don't be scared to drive there, just like in every other country you may visit, take in consideration that traffic rules and driving habits vary and try to familiarize yourself with them.
Updated Feb 4, 2006