Matamoras Day Trip

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Friday, June 29, 2007

   You don't have to spend two to four weeks traveling to have a great time!  My friends and I had a wonderful day traveling to Matamoras, Mexico.  We made it a day trip because we hear night life in Matamoras is pretty risky.

   We crossed the border at Brownsville after paying 50 cents to get through the turn style.  We walked in.  As we strutted over the bridge I couldn't help but think how hard a similar walk was for my many friends from Mexico when they came to the U.S.  There are no nice bridges for most of them.  Rather, they have a tough trek through the desert, a ride with 10 people crammed into a small car, only to arrive hostage at a safe house until their ransom is paid.

   Right at the base of the bridge we encountered a trolley.  Friend Don knows the trolley operator as he makes this trip at least once a week.  Our guide for the day was Jesus "Chuey" and he was a real cut up.  We also met a young couple, recently married, who wanted to tag along with us.

   "Can we go with you" they sheepishly asked.

We welcome everyone in our group and all of a sudden we had two new friends.  It was fun talking to them, learning about a new business venture in pressure washing, about some of their dreams and some of the challenges they were facing.  It was really cool!

   Our first order of business was lunch.  Yours truly had gorged the night before and had no hunger whatsoever.  However, my friends had a wonderful lunch at a well established eatery.

     After lunch we went to the art museum.  I thought this would be a pretty boring time, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.  We got to see some of the art of Francisco "Pancho" Toledo.  This was pretty cool work.  There were lots of abstract ideas woven into the art along with lots of references to the male organ of masculinity, the penis.


  There was a theater on site and we got to walk on stage.  I took Maureen into my arms and we did a dip.  She later told me it was a difficult experience because she had to let go and   trust me (not to drop her) and probably not to let her down.  It was in a sense, a poignant moment, a connection of sorts.  It is hard to describe.

   Our guide was right on time. We were going to the market and it was fun to see some of old Matamoras as we traveled down narrow streets and by various plazas to get to the market of our choice.  Friend Clyde always has an interesting comment and it was fun to spend time with him, too!

     Right away we were besieged with vendors inviting us into their stores.  The first price they gave us on everything was like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 
 I guess they think all gringos are just plain dumb.  After lots of haggling, we were able to make some good buys.  Mexico as a bargain is gone for now.  But they do still have some   interesting art work and unusual things which can be had at a fair price.

     The public bathrooms were as bad as they said they would be.  Even after being prepared for an unclean place, I was still shocked.  Still, I wanted to see them.  How we deal with the waste end of our lives differs by culture and the Mexican way is always an interesting adventure.  For some reason they don't subscribe to the belief we need toilet seats.  You rarely find them in public places. 

    Our last stop was Garcias, the closest thing to Wallgreens you will find.  They have a drug store where I was able to refresh my supply of Lyrica, a medicine I take for pain as a result of an accident several years ago.  Since I am living out of state, my normal doctor won't prescribe for me until I get back and see him again.  This is one of those drugs which requires a perscription in writting, so I would have needed to see a doctor in Texas.  By the time I went through all of that it was cheaper to pay the $51.00 the med cost in Mexico.

Garcias has lots of other things.  Their prices are fair, but not many bargains here.  It was kind of a last chance thing, if you didn't find it somewhere else this was the final best bet. 

   Chuey was there at 5:00.  We boarded the bus one more time for our trip to the border.    We again were treated with a mini tour of parts of Matamoras.  Traffic was horrible at 5:00 as you might imagine, and our trip was made that much worse by a lack of gasoline.  Ever stalwart, Chuey kept at the started on the bus and we limped into the gas station.

   In minutes we were walking up the bridge to our wonderful country.  Many people were coming back on the walk way the wrong direction.  Maureen pointed out, these were the   ones who were refused entry.  I wondered why they were walking the wrong way, what had they done to make their presence in our country a bad thing.  Certainly there were reasons.

  Matamoras is a must see in my book  Don't listen to the many nay sayers who tell you to go to Nuevo Progresso and avoid this neat spot.  Despite being a border town there is some authentic Mexico here if you look.
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