A trip to Mexico

Monday: This next part will sound normal to the Arizona folks, but it may sound strange to our Midwest friends. We went back to Mexico at 8:30 in the morning to see the dentist. Her sign said the office opened at 8 am, but the office was closed. A nearby person said the office would open at 9, so we had some time to kill and decided to walk around. We stopped to read a sign about another dentist who advertized teeth cleaning for $15. And anytime you pause for even a moment in Algadones, someone is there to talk to sell you something. In this case it was a very well-spoken man in surgical scrubs who told us about the great dentist he assisted. He didn’t have the usual hard-sell technique, and our dentist wasn’t open yet, so what the heck - we decided to try it. There were two dentists working in that office, so Randy and I both got our teeth cleaned at the same time. It transpired that neither dentist spoke English. But the assistant spoke excellent English and kept checking with both dentists to translate as needed. The dentists seemed to do a nice job, and Randy and I are both pleased with the results. The dentist who cleaned my teeth said I was developing a few tiny cavities, but I decided to not do anything about that yet. Maybe the next visit. . .

After that, we had the rest of the day free, so we went to the Purple Pharmacy for a bit of breakfast. It’s a big store with more than just a pharmacy – it also has a big liquor store, a small bakery and a grill. We ordered a ham and cheese (jamon e queso) sandwich and Coke Light. Coke Light is the Mexican version of Diet Coke, and it’s actually better than our version. Their regular Coke is better than ours, too, because they still use sugar in it.

We walked around town, not really shopping, just to see what is there. Algodones is all about selling – there are dentists, optomologists, dermatologists and pharmacies everywhere, mixed right in with the liquor stores, tourist shops and street vendors trying to sell purses, jewelry, belts – almost everything!
Everything is a bit more casual here. One dentist had a sign outside his office that advertised “Whithe fillings and Feeth cleaning. Apparently someone told them the sign was mis-spelled, because they used a black marker to change the “F” in feeth to a “T”.
We went looking for – and found - a small taco stand that specializes in fish and shrimp tacos. It’s sort of famous in town – several people in Arizona City told us to stop there, and there was a long line waiting for those tacos. They were pretty good and there were a lot of toppings to dress them up with.
Eventually we made our way back to a liquor store with a good price on Chivas and bought some. We also got some Kahlua at the Purple Pharmacy/Liquor store. Everyone is allowed to bring back 1 liter of alcohol, so that was all we got. We finally did decide to get one souvenir – a hand-painted lantern. It’s got a beautiful lighthouse scene on it and an electric cord so I can plug it in. If it doesn’t get broken, it will look nice outside the RV in the evening. On the way out of town we stopped one last time at the Purple Pharmacy for another Coke Light and a donut, then went to stand in line to go back across the border. There was a long line because everyone has to go through customs, but it moved reasonably well.

And after all that, it was only 12:30! Well, we still had plenty of time to be tourists, so we headed to Yuma to check out the old Yuma prison. A lot of it was destroyed so the materials could be reused, but some of the buildings from the late 1800s are still there. The prison was functioning from 1876 through 1906. There is an old cemetery that contains the remains of 104 prisoners who died at the prison. The graves are unmarked, except for a pile of stones on top of each one. I usually like cemeteries, but this one was just sad.
Inside the old prison are several rows of cell blocks. Each cell held 6 convicts. If someone miss-behaved, they were chained to a large metal ring in the middle of the cell floor. But the bad news was that whenever anyone was chained to that ring, the other 5 people in the cell were also chained to it. So there was a lot of peer pressure to behave!
Although the prisoners may not have agreed, this was considered a very humane and progressive prison. The worse punishment allowed was the dark cell. This is a picture of the outside of the cell. . .
. . and this is a picture of the inside of the cell. Enough said.

After we got back from Yuma it still wasn’t dark, so we took a walk down the All-American Canal beside the casino, just to see the area. On the other side of it is a large section of Indian-owned land that is used as RV parking. Unlike the normal RV lots, in that one you just drive down winding dirt roads until you find a spot you want to be, and stop. There were some small groups of RVs together, but a lot of them were off somewhere by themselves. I heard it’s run pretty casually – someone stops by to collect the $15-a-day fee for dry-camping, but they only do that about once a week, so you might be there for several days before you see anyone.

Tuesday: Decided it was time to move on, so we left the Casino this morning and headed towards the Salton Sea area. We stopped at the Red Earth Casino and Truck stop for fuel. To get the best price we had to get a player’s card in the casino. While we were there we played $1 and walked out with $2.21. Not exactly breaking the bank, but it’s better than losing!

We continued to Salton Sea and checked into the Oasis Palm RV park. It’s a small and pretty park, with pavement to park the RV on, grass between the sites, and orange, grapefruit and lemons trees beside the RV sites. Across the street from the RV park is a big grove of date palms. While we were there, they were trimming the palms. Each one of these palm trees has a short ladder attached to the upper-most part of the tree. A cherry-picker raises the men up as far as it can, and then the men climb out of the basket onto the tree ladder, climb the rest of the way up to the top of the tree, and trim it.

They grow a lot of fruit around here. Besides the date palms, we passed vineyards, cultivated fields, and groves of oranges. The oranges here are cultivated in a hedge formation, instead of trees.

We drove out to see Desert Shore, which is a small community right on the shore of the Salton Sea. It’s one of the most dismal little places I’ve ever seen, with very dilapidated trailers and houses. Most of the shoreline is fenced off and the little area that isn’t, stinks of dead fish. Glad we didn't try to park the RV there!

No comments:

Post a Comment