A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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Happy to finally be in Mexico after dreaming of it for months, we settled in at the Victoria RV Park for a week.

Its owners call it “the friendliest trailer park in Mexico,” and they work hard to deserve that title. Russ (originally from Wisconsin) and his Mexican wife Rosie help an endless stream of newcomers from the north to get their bearings.

They have bulletin boards with enough flyers and fact sheets to satisfy even an information hound like me.

Trailer park in Ciudad Victoria

The Victoria Trailer Park has personality.

That first evening in Mexico, Kelly and I walked down the street half a mile, where I went into “culture shock.” Nothing we had seen driving down from the border had prepared us for this – a modern shopping center, complete with a 6-movie theater, Blockbuster, McDonald’s, and Soriana, which is a grocery-and-everything else-chain store, like many we have in the U.S. Gleaming cars and pickups were pouring in and out of the parking lot. Everyone we saw seemed to be of the Mexican middle class, and the whole scene was a lot more jolly than it would have been at home.

Ciudad Victoria supermarket

At the Soriana shopping center

We found our way back to the mall frequently during our stay in Ciudad Victoria, whether to check our email at the Chat Cafe and talk in a mixture of Spanish and English with the friendly fellow who ran it, to change money, or to pick up groceries. Getting pesos turned out be very easy; either we changed the extra dollars we had along or we used an ATM machine.

A walk

The walk to the mall – there are two lanes of traffic on either side.

The walk itself was along a four-lane road with a divider in the middle. As in most parks in Mexico, the trees were painted white up about four feet. There were bougainvillea in bloom. Little trash could be seen, and one morning we saw a group of young men bagging up what there was.
My favorite time from that week in Ciudad Victoria was the Saturday night that Kelly was catching up on email and I went shopping at Soriana by myself. It was a huge social event, with practically every cart in use. People were chatting, teenagers were helping their parents with good grace, and everyone was pushing their shopping carts around in the same free-for-all style that they drive with. A father was dancing down an aisle, as he pushed a cart filled with two little girls and lots of groceries.

I left my cart for a minute to get something, and when I got back, a large stuffed animal had appeared in it. I took the critter out and put it on top of a display. A woman who noticed the process made a friendly comment to me. I couldn’t really hear her over the ultra-loud background music, so I just smiled.

It was all so familiar and all so different at the same time. There was nowhere else on the planet I would have preferred to be, nothing else I would rather be doing! The avocados, mangos, papayas, and other tropical produce at very low prices didn’t hurt a bit either.

I stopped to browse the bookshelves. Many titles were translations from English. Self-help and New Age were well represented. I noticed a book – translated into Spanish – by a neighbor of ours, Reynold Bean, an educator who has written extensively on enhancing children’s self-esteem. Seeing that made me feel what a small world it really is! It didn’t surprise me to see it, because the Mexicans pay a lot of attention to their children.

[Next: the photoessay on Ciudad Victoria continues.]

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