A shopping trip to Mexico was on the agenda today. Neither of us slept very well in anticipation of the inevitable sounding of the alarm on Sandy's iPhone. Apple tried to keep the alarm as pleasant as possible, so the sound supplied is quite subdued, almost if the phone were clearing its throat or saying 'excuse me' as if it really hated to disturb us. In fact, it was the fear of missing the alarm altogether that caused us to wake well before its scheduled time of 6:00 a.m. Drill Sergeant Ed would have been giddy to learn that his reprogramming techniques--obviously learned from a gestapo training manual--had had their intended effect. We were officially zombies, and it was only day two in the RGV!
Once again, we summoned the will to get ourselves outside just as a large four-door pickup pulled up. Ed and Marilyn were sitting in the back seat, and a couple unknown to us was seated, chauffeur-like, in the front. "Ed has reinforcements," I immediately thought. I caught myself before giving a Nazi salute to what I imagined in my sleep-deprived delirium to be Ed's military staff car. Emerging from the truck, he introduced Ron and Verna, friends who were escaping the winter cold in Llano Grande away from their home in Missouri. These folks turned out to be a very pleasant couple, joining us on our trek to Nuevo Progreso which, like us, they had never seen before.
The drive to the border crossing was quickly traversed by Ron, with Ed's directions that were accompanied by his occasionally interesting monologue describing items of local color. (All kidding aside, Ed's and Marilyn's presence was much appreciated as they guided us expertly to all the best Nuevo Progreso had to offer. We would have been ill-prepared to find anything on our own.)
|Ron and Verna, Ed and Marilyn, Sandy and Mike arriving in Mexico|
The big draw for winter Texans, or snowbirds, to visit Mexico is the bargains, of course. We stopped in a bakery for a little early snack and were serenaded by some excellent mariachis (I love mariachis). Sandy dropped off a prescription for new glasses at the office of a local optician, whose price was less than half the cost in the U. S. She also sat with the rest of the group for a pedicure and foot massage (only $12). She also picked up some medications at a local pharmacy, saving several hundred dollars over U. S. prices. We had a very nice lunch at Arturo's, then a bit more shopping before heading back across the border.
|The Group and Rene's Bakery|
|Talented Mariachis at Rene's|
|Mass Pedicures in Progreso|
Somehow, Ron and Verna got separated from the group and, unable to find us, made their way back across the river to his truck, thinking we might have been waiting there. We weren't. Instead we were propped against the sidewalk window of one of stores in Progreso, growing older at a time of our lives when every minute counts. Finally, we decided to walk back across the border to where Ron's truck was parked, as that was pretty much the only option left. We would need to get started if we were going to have to walk back to Llano Grande! Calling on the cell phones would have solved the problem, of course, but visitors to Mexico--cheap ones like most of us, that is--usually don't carry them there to avoid exorbitant roaming charges.
Upon reuniting with Ron and Verna, we ribbed them unmercifully for abandoning us in Mexico. They were very apologetic, but there was no harm done except laughter pains. We decided the whole incident could have been avoided if Ed had devised a better plan for mustering the group in case we got separated. For Ed, who enjoys a reputation as a quintessential planner, this must have been a dark day indeed.
What a fine adventure we had today, and Tuesday will be a trip to South Padre Island for seafood and surf watching--sounds great! We're not leaving until 10:00 a.m., so I'm not sure what Sandy and I will do with all the extra time to get ready!