The Rogers' Adventure 2007/2008 travel blog

US - Mexico border

Welcome to Los Algodones


Pharmacy and liquor stores

Border back into the US

Even a Canadian bank is represented

Shoppers at the market stalls - note the dentist signs

This man was selling lollipops and cotton candy

Scenes of a Mexican border town

Most of the signs advertise pharmacies

Medical only building

Busy outside restaurant

Los Algodones

Town from another angle

Nice home

Pedestrian line-up goes all the way back to the peach building

We need to make another visit to Mexico to get some more Kahlua. Our bottle is still good, but the grandparents have had some accidents with theirs, so they need more.

We drive to the border crossing in the Mexican town of Algodones; there is a large parking lot which charges $5.00 per car, but we manage to find a spot on the road for free - a short walk will get us across.

Evan is a little leery going back across, after we went to Juarez, but this looks much better already.

There is no toll to cross and no guards with large weapons greet us. There is an actual sign that welcomes us into Mexico; it looks much cleaner and friendlier right away. According to the literature we read before coming, Algodones is a very popular place for, of all things, dentists! There are something like 35 dentists here - many people come here to get their teeth cleaned and fixed. Cleaning is $15, and we saw dentures advertised for only $99! Besides dental work, corrective lenses are advertised everywhere - there was even a place for hearing aids. Not sure how that works, since hearing aids need to be made for your ear from a mold.

The streets look clean, no large potholes, and are lined with stalls that sell the following items; hats, jewelery, blankets, leather purses, belts, boots and (some very rude)t-shirts.

You have no chance in just 'browsing'; the minute you look vaguely interested in something, the vendor is on you, trying to put bracelets on your arm, hats on your head, blankets on your body. It gets a little annoying, you don't want to be rude but by the same token, you feel like telling them to leave you alone.

Evan has decided he wants a cowboy hat in black; we check out some, but most are too small. At one booth, the price started at $25 but they do not have one in his size, she tells us we can have the last one he tried on for $10, which is kind of useless as he does not fit it, which we tell her. She tries to chase us all the way down, but we ignore her and she does give up. A few blocks down the street, the crowds thin out; there are some elderly ladies sitting on the sidewalk trying to sell what looks like gum. There is a large outdoor place that sells pottery of all kinds - Sandra likes the vases and urns and the guy tells us they are $35 each, just came in from Guadalajara yesterday. He won't budge much on his price, so we leave; as we leave we see the unpainted pottery on the roofs of his buildings. Steve tells us about people he has had on tour that bought pots like these and they turned to dust because they are not kiln dried.

We return to the main street, where Evan finally finds a hat that fits for $13 - the liquor store is right next door where the Kahlua is only $9.80.

The line-up to get back to the US for pedestrians is very long; Connor & Grandma get in line while the rest of us find the only free bathroom. There is a man sitting outside the bathroom handing out paper towel to dry your hands on.

We return to the line-up, which has moved somewhat, but is still a long way from the border. While in line, we meet a man from Ohio, who tells us his life story, got married at 19, his wife was 16, and has been married for 49 years. They are in a motorhome parked on Indian land, where they pay $35 per month, mostly to cover garbage clean-up, and he came down to make an appointment with the dentist for tomorrow; his wife is waiting at the border, because she can't stand in the line-up that long. His son works for Denny's and, by the sounds of it, has been in a few fights in his life. We get to see pictures of his wedding 49 years ago, his children and grandchildren. He tells us he does not like people from Quebec, after making sure we were not from there, and has been as far north as Washington state. It helps pass the 90 minutes we have to stand in line; Connor & Grandpa are not feeling that well and sit on the benches as we move along. Behind us is a man who obviously had some dental work done; he is holding a cold water bottle on his cheek and does not look very good. Not sure if you'd want to spend your vacation going to the dentist!

When we finally get to the border, there are 3 officers in the small building. We go up individually; no one asks if we have bought something - they can see the bags with bottles and we are free to go. Grandma gets asked when the last time was that she brought a bottle back and is let go after that.

Unlike Texas, there is no tax for the alcohol we bring in - we go back to the truck and return home.

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