The cold wind from the north brought some chill in the air early in the morning. Golden gingko leaves were blown to the ground, to our folding chairs. The rising sun colored the morning sky and heralded another beautiful day. We had one thing on the list for today – crossing the border to Mexico. Stephen has been on business trips to Monterrey and Juarez before. People carried guns walking around and he didn’t feel safe back then. So I was a little worried about going to Mexico. I hoped our short visit to Palomas would be a safe one.
We made sure carrying our passports with us and left our campground a little after 10 a.m. Customs were just several minutes drive away. After parking our truck on the parking lot in front of the duty free store, we walked to the pedestrian path. The signs of “Pedestrian access” on the chain link fence were in both English and Spanish. Walking under the warm morning sun along the fence, we were leaving the United States. A big sign of U.S.D.A. warned that “Plants, fruits, meats, and birds taken to Mexico may not be returned.” Vehicles were lining up at the other side of the street waiting for the U.S. border inspection. I hoped that we could return to the U.S. without any problem. We were by the tall and cold border fence in just two minutes. In front of the plaque of boundary line, Stephen was standing on Mexican soil, and I was still standing on the American soil. One second later, I entered Mexico. To my surprise, we didn’t need to show any documents entering Mexico. A Mexican man stood by the office only said hi to us.
We were standing on the main street of Palomas right away after entering Mexico. The Pink Store came into our view immediately. A giant iron statue of the infamous General Pancho Villa with a handgun on a galloping horse stood tall in front of a municipal building. Crossed the main street, we passed the Pink Store and came to a small thriving business square. The façade of each shop was painted in vibrant colors of red, blue, green and yellow. A red sculpture on the floor might be a heart or a red pepper. From the shop signs, I could see dental care, eye care services were available here. Online reviews gave good comments on the dental service here. So we entered a dentistry office and asked if we could have our teeth cleaned today. A young girl with French braided hair at the reception told us in very good English that we needed to wait until noon. It was only 10:40 and we couldn’t wait for that long. So we made appointments for the next day. It will cost $40 in cash or $45 on credit card for cleaning teeth. Half of the price for the service in the U.S.
We entered the Pink Store at the corner. The store has pink exterior. It had a spectrum of colors inside. Numerous colorful Mexican crafts hung from the ceiling and walls, stacked on tables, displayed on racks, or stood on floor. There were paper flowers, ceramics, potteries, paintings, sculptures, woven tapestries, and more. Beautiful butterflies covered a green wall. A glittery tin Christmas tree was magnificent with lights shining from inside. A group of angles made from tin surrounded the Christmas trees. Sinks painted with vibrant colors and patterns looked more like crafts than sinks. The bright colors challenged my sense of aesthetic. It was still early for lunch. So we left the Pink Store and strolled down the street.
Palomas might be a good place for purchasing cheaper pharmacy too. We checked a local pharmacy but didn’t find a bargain. Hotels, dental care and oral care offices lined up the crumble main street. There were stands selling cheap clothes by the street. We returned to the statue of Pancho Villa. Happy songs were playing loud from the speaker on the small square. There I saw a guy with a rifle in his arm talking with several men. I was a little uneasy at his scrutinized gaze when I was taking a photo of the statue. A guy sat by a stand selling boots. Those men left in a police car shortly. We sat in the bench and took a short break. Then we went back to the Pink Store for lunch.
We heard the piano and song at the moment we entered the restaurant in the Pink Store. A musician was playing a live music. A group of old timers were eating around a long table. Stephen had a glass of Margarita, double sized beef burrito with sauce. I ordered a beef burrito with hot water and honey. The burrito was served with refried beans and rice. I liked the soft tortilla. There were bits of potatoes in the ground beef. The rice had an orange color. I had no idea how the rice was colored. The lunch was good but I ate too much. Outside of the Pink Store, two Mexican men were hand cleaning vehicles from Texas and locals.
I held my passport tight as we were walking towards the U.S. custom. The officer didn’t ask any questions and only swiped our passports and let us entering the U.S. soil. I was glad my first adventure to Mexico was a success.