I love Laredo's unique culture but that is also what drives me crazy. It is hard for "outsiders" to come live here but..... it's a nice place.
This photo is near bridge #1 between the US & Mexico. The sight of people crossing illegally is common but don't take pictures at the bridge - your camera will be confiscated!
Fondest memory: 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!
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!
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. 115ºF or 45.5ºC 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 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; twelve years after my visit, maybe they are awake!) The International "puente" (=bridge) No1 is joining the centers of the two cities.
Laredo is in Texas, the biggest city of the Webb county. If the word Texas brings in your mind a picture like this, 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!
When visiting Laredo you should be prepared with some pairs of shorts because down here is very hot!! 'TRUST ME' Ha Ha Ha
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Laredo is the heat. When I go somewhere else the climate is very strange from my hometown (laredo. I feel like if something is missing from me especially my boyfriend Robert.
Favorite thing: Laredo become a bi national city speciali in weekend when a lot of mexicans come to shopping. Laredo still remain his mexican culture.
Favorite thing: Many people from Monterrey, Mexico cross the border and come to Laredo to make some shopps, stores here has up to 50 % desc, in all the things