A friendly welcome to Los Algodones, Mexico

Tuesday, February 4

The phone rings.  It’s Ricardo from the Ja-Bal Dental Clinic in Los Algodones.

“Hello, Susie?  I want to make sure you know how to find Ja-Bal.”

Ricardo instructs me to sit on a bench located about 50 meters from the border entrance to the street.  I’m to wait there and he will find me.

“I’ll have on a navy blue jacket.  Do you know what you’ll be wearing?”

It’s around 8 a.m. and I haven’t picked out my clothing. 

I see my hat hanging on the hook on the wall and blurt out, “I’ll be wearing a funny-looking hat, like a cowboy.  That will make me easy to find.”  Gee, I wanted to look normal today.  Oh well, I guess I’m wearing The Hat.

Ricardo continues with instructions.

“People will tell you to go to their dental office.  Tell them no, that you have an appointment.  Don’t go with them.”

Then he adds before saying goodbye . . .

“And remember we’re on Arizona time.”

Ack!  Arizona time?  It’s an hour later than I thought!  That means it’s already 9 0’clock! My appointment is for 10 o’clock!

I shift into high gear.

In a few minutes the crew and I are in the Perfect Tow Vehicle, bouncing across the desert to Les’s camp.  Good thing I set up the pen at Les’s yesterday.  Les comes outside immediately with a good morning and an admonishment.

“You’re late!”

I explain the time confusion.

I drop Bridget and Spike in the pen with a quick “You be good,” give Les a few last-minute instructions and a thank you, and, ignoring Bridget’s barks and howls, I hop into the PTV.  Soon I’m zipping eastward on the interstate at 70 mph heading for the road to the border.

Following the stream of vehicles, I pay $6 at the entrance booth and park in the lot.  Making a mental note of the PTV’s location (Section B), I sprint toward the walkway and join the people flowing into Los Algodones.  There are no security checks.

I walk into a different world.

Oh, the energy!  The streets bustle with cars, bicycles, dogs, pedestrians, carts, hawkers and shoppers.  Several young men call out to me.

“You want dental?  Come with me!”  “Good prices for glasses!  I show you!”

Ricardo appears, smiling, and offers a handshake. 

We greet each other and he escorts me toward the clinic, a little over two blocks away.

A man sells bundles of asparagus from a cart.

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The asparagus-seller sees me taking pictures.

“Take a picture of ME!” he calls, with a big grin and a wave for the camera.

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In the first few minutes across the border, Mexico shows its friendly face.

Ricardo helpfully explains the lay-out of the streets as we walk along.  He points to a big cooler (in above photo).  “See over there?  You can buy fresh shrimp.”

Signs for dental and optical services try to grab the attention of shoppers at the many booths.

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Very different from the sign ordinances and street rules of the countries to the north.

Cars park on the sidewalk.  Ricardo steps out into the street.  He notices my momentary hesitation.  “It’s all right.  We walk in the streets in Mexico.”

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The strawberries are big and at the peak of ripeness. I’d rather stop and buy some, instead of continuing toward a dentist’s chair!

The booths are crammed with unusual merchandise.

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I enjoy looking at the many items for which I have no need.

After living with desert colors of brown, tan, grey, and drab green, the vivid colors dazzle me.

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Several sports teams represented here, most likely unsanctioned products.

Stray dogs attract my attention.  These two hang around the taco cart.

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The dogs wear no collars or identification and wander around ignored. They live a much different life than that of my crew!

“Gosh, Ricardo.  I don’t want my teeth worked on.  I want to shop!”  He smiles.  This is so much fun!  I want to take pictures and eat lots of food and browse through all the booths.

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I wonder where all this stuff comes from. China perhaps?

Ricardo senses that I’m distracted and not paying attention to where we are going.  He points out landmarks to make sure I don’t become lost after my appointment.

“I’ll look for the huge tequila bottle,” I reassure him, pointing to a cardboard display at the corner.

We arrive at Ja-Bal Dental Clinic.

Ja-Bal has a few separate locations in Los Algodones. 

That’s why Ricardo fetched me at the entrance to the town.  It’s better than trying to give directions to someone who is unfamiliar with the streets, and providing a personal escort avoids the prospect of searching for a lost customer.

Ja-Bal provides both dental and vision services.

Stepping into the clinic, one leaves the hurley-burly of the street . . 

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When I arrive the clinic staff is busily checking in patients.  This photo was taken later in the afternoon.

. . . and enters a very clean and professional clinic, much like any dental office in the United States or Canada.

To be continued . . .

rvsue

THANKS FOR SHOPPING AMAZON FROM MY BLOG!

I appreciate every purchase, large and small.

 

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107 Responses to A friendly welcome to Los Algodones, Mexico

  1. Gayle says:

    Am I first?! What do I win?! Love the big, purple clay jug. You need that to hold water instead of all those bottles.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Gayle,

      I probably wouldn’t be able to lift it filled with water . . . and then there are those pesky holes in the sides.

  2. Kathy from VA says:

    My kingdom for a pint of those strawberries”

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, Kathy, they looked luscious and huge!

      • Lacy says:

        Did you photoshop those strawberries? They were SO gorgeous and red!!! I’m drooling.

        Can’t wait to hear the rest of this tale “Susie”!

        Lacy

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Hi, Lacy,

          No, the strawberry photo was not “doctored” in any way. I’m reluctant to enhance my photos artificially, especially shots of natural things. If a scene is dusty and dull, that’s how my photo will show it. Too much color saturation is tiresome, IMHO.

          Those strawberries needed no help!

  3. Brian says:

    Very colorful post! Can’t wait for the next episode….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Brian,

      I wanted to write more in this post but my computer is so slow. Not trying to be coy . . . .

  4. Bill from NC says:

    Hey Sue you made it! Wow that town is lively. I want the shrimp and strawberries!

  5. Roger in SoCal. says:

    Wow someday I’ll be first, now I’ll go read the blog…
    BTW Sue I’m looking at reading again, I like westerns so I’m going to try Louis L’amour books.

    Roger

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great, Roger! If L’amour’s books don’t suit you, let us know. Several of us have favorite western writers to suggest.

      • JodeeinSoCal says:

        Have you read “The Haunted Mesa” by L’Amour yet? He was a favorite of my father’s although I never caught the bug. After he passed away my mom encouraged me to read this one and it is a fabulous story! (you’re right Dad, he’s a good author).

        • Roger in SoCal. says:

          Hi Jodee in SoCal, first off what part of SoCal are you in?
          All the L’amour books we have were my father’s, they were also his favorite. Now my mother reads them and sometimes rereads them, we must have at least 40 of his books.
          I will look for the titles you and Chuck suggested.
          Roger

    • Roger in SoCal. says:

      OK thanks Sue.

      • Chuck says:

        Hi Roger in SoCal! The Californios by L’Amour is written about Santa Monica north though San Luis Obispo. I rode horses thru this area and have been on some of the trails mentioned. MY FAVORITE!

  6. mockturtle says:

    I recommend the shrimp!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good thing I exercised some self-control. I don’t think the dentist would’ve wanted to wait for me to finish chowing down on shrimp or strawberries.

      • mockturtle says:

        Oh, I thought he meant raw shrimp. You can get some excellent shrimp there. At least that was my experience.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Oh, that is raw shrimp. I’m just sayin’ dumb stuff . . .

          • mockturtle says:

            I think the best shrimp I’ve ever eaten came from Puerto Penasco. Some friends picked them up. Always wanted to go there. Less hassle than most places, I understand, regarding paperwork, etc.

  7. Ladybug says:

    Ok, this is so unlike you!! Can’t stand Quartzsite during the snowbird season, but want to go shopping in Algodones! Maybe you should retire to Mexico when you’re ready to abandon the road.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Those strawberries would make a shopper out of anyone! I didn’t want to buy things… I wanted to browse. No offense to the vendors at Big Q, but the merchandise was more interesting in Los Algodones.

  8. Barbara says:

    It sure is colorful there. Winnie Views (see Hitchich.com) is at an RV Park in the Mazatlán area. Her last few posts show some uniqueness of Mexico compared to the U.S.A. Looking forward to part 2.

  9. MK Reed says:

    Oh how I miss zipping across the border, it was always so much fun! I did get caught across there one time in college (around ’69 ~ dating myself) and had to call my parents…sheesh what trouble. I’m mixed blood NDN and look it and the natives thought I was a local and my DL was fake and kept talking Spanish to me…I can only ask for beer and the potty in fractured “Spanglish”…LOL. The ‘rents had to fed ex my birth certificate so I could get back across.

    My SIL is first generation Mexican American and we used to go across all the time when I went to visit them in SOCAL, it was nice having someone along who was fluent.

    Enjoy your time down there and maybe a little shopin’ after!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, MK,

      What a mess you got yourself into . . . no fault of yours. Assuming you are female… there may be another explanation.

      When I was in my twenties, I was as law-abiding as I am now. However, I was regularly pulled over by highway patrol or local police to check my license and registration or for a warning re: speed (that was unwarranted). I think I was stopped because of my long red hair and female pulchritude, rather than any infraction on my part. I haven’t been stopped in several years now which is fine by me!

      • MK Reed says:

        Yup female…LOL. Ahhh our mis-spent youth…I love visiting Mexico but I doubt I’d want to live there…now if I went north…I’ve looked into moving to Canada but I’m not rich enough and don’t have a profession they want.

        Enjoy your trips to Mexico!

  10. Roger in SoCal. says:

    Hi Sue,

    Funny I don’t remember Los Algodones looking like that when I was there, of course that was in 1990 and 91…guess things have changed quite a bit. I used to go there 3 or 4 times a week when I worked in Yuma.

    Roger

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Roger,

      I wonder how it is different from what you remember. The photos in this post were taken along the main street leading from the border crossing gate.

      • Roger in SoCal. says:

        Hi Sue;

        I don’t remember any medical establishments there. Of course when I went I was going with all my coworkers ( I was bored) and once they got over the border, they would make a b-line straight for the local (sleazy) bars to drink. So most of my memories are really about the bars there, of which I will not go into.

        Roger

  11. It looks beautiful there!
    Part 2 – I’m chomping at the bit!
    I’ve read dental and vision is great in Mexico and plan to go. Yay Sue for going first!
    Thanks Sue as always and ¡hola to the crew too!
    Love!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Carrie,

      You’re welcome. In telling of my excursion to Los Algodones, I hope to convey the experience from the perspective and with the reactions of a first-time visitor. Maybe my little tale will help folks who may be timid about going there.

  12. Ah, you really captured the look and feel of Los Algodones. I was there back in December when I was camping at Holtville hot springs, before the after holiday mobs, or so that’s what I thought. I was afraid of waiting in a long line to get into the city if I went after December. I got a cleaning done at Dr. Rubio’s. Bob and I went, but, I had to leave Bob behind as he needed lots of work done. So, I prawled around the city exploring on my own. I ended up spending probably way too much money on 4 bracelets which turn my arm green, but, heck, they’re lovely. I was hoping for something I’d never take off, but, alas, they lay packed away and forgotten, until now.

    I really enjoyed my dining experience. I went to an outdoor courtyard with a young male singer and two guitarists. I had a wonderful lunch with a variety of beef this and that and an exciting stuffed jalapeno. Quite cheesy and yummy. It was one of the most delicious and memorable meals I’ve ever had. Real Mexican food sure beats Taco Bell, though I do enjoy Taco Bell every so often. I look forward to part 2 of your adventures!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gloria,

      Wow! You had a great experience! I kind of wish I’d chucked the whole dental and optical business and went for the FUN! (Well, I guess that would’ve been silly.) You’ll see what I’m talking about in the next post.

  13. Timber n' Rusty says:

    Wow Sue, When I saw those Strawberries being so large, I said to myself, one would be a meal with cake and some whip cream, Yah bet cha, lol, oh ya Timber says hi too ,,,,,,,,Rusty

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rusty and Timber,

      Oh, yeah… shortcake and real whipped cream with those strawberries. What a treat!

  14. AZ Jim says:

    I have much history in Mexico. I lived so close to the border for so many years that I have had many adventures there. I absolutely love Mariachi music. You cannot frown when it’s being played and you are having a cerveza in a little cantina down South. I’m glad you enjoyed your venture and I look forward to the next episode. BTW I used to buy huge lobsters, cooked and ready to eat for $1 each from beachside venders in palm covered stands in Baja (down around Santo Tomas) in the early 50’s. Ahhhh! Those were the days.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, Jim… Be still my heart . . . .$1 for a lobster, ready to eat… my oh my .. .

      I went to Mexico in the late sixties. My husband and I drove in our VW down the eastern side of the country through desert towns and coffee farms and mountain villages. That trip along the Gulf Coast was one of the few times I wen west of the Mississippi.

      My favorite part of the trip was our stay in Veracruz. The hotel served a delicious dish of various seafood in a cream sauce served in a large seashell. I ordered it every night along with a cerveza for the 3 or 4 days we were there. The room plus that meal was $9 a day!

  15. Cinandjules says:

    I’ll take a flat of strawberries to go please!

    OMG I wanted to pick them out of your photo and eat them! Yum!

    With your luck the fruit police will stop you at the border!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cinandjules,

      I really put those strawberries in your face with that photo. I knew people would want to reach into the photo to try some!

  16. Libby Nester says:

    I had to laugh. I was looking at all the items and kept saying I want this and that. Then, I read your caption under the picture, “I enjoy looking at the many items for which I have no need.” And, said I don’t need anything else either, I am downsizing. LOL So, glad your visit was so colorful.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Libby,

      I remember a time, several years ago, when I noticed a change in my thinking. I realized I was able to look at things that I had once would have coveted without any desire to own them. I could browse shops and simply enjoy looking at the items. It was another little step toward feeling free. . . free from the desire to possess that which I did not need.

  17. Lynda says:

    Love Algodones! I can personally vouch for the utter lusciousness of those shrimp and asparagus. I sense you’re having a “pleasant” dental experience! The technology there is impressive.

  18. Trip and Lisa says:

    Beautiful Berries for sure,But I can tell you that you might not want to know what they fertilize them with in Mexico.
    So,we’re you good Sue?and did you get a toy after the Dentist visit?,LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Trip and Lisa,

      I did a quick search on the topic of human waste used as fertilizer and didn’t find anything other than unsubstantiated comments of the ‘eww, how disgusting’ variety. Thoroughly composted human waste would not be harmful, I don’t think. I’d like to read something authoritative on agricultural practices in Mexico.

      Re: the toy . . . You’ll have to wait ’til my next post!

      • Chuck says:

        Sue, if you soak the strawberries and shrimp in Tequila drain off the Tequila, mix with some margarita mix or lime, this will take care of all your sanitation worries……..

      • Trip and Lisa says:

        What I was told about the berries came from the USDA folks at the Farmers Mkt in Forest Park,Ga many years ago when we delivered in there.Hope it has changed over the years.Glad it all went ok for ya.

      • Ed says:

        This is nothing authoritative about agriculture practices in Mexico but it does give you some idea of what the USDA is now allowing to be imported from Mexico.
        Copied from “Where Food Comes From”.
        U.S. strawberry imports from Mexico were at a record high in 2011 at 242.8 million pounds, nearly the entire volume imported that year. Only a small fraction originated from other sources such as Canada, Argentina, and Peru. Mexico supplies the U.S. strawberry market almost year round but ships heavily during the winter months. U.S. Census Bureau trade data indicate that in January 2011, U.S. fresh strawberry imports were up 48 percent in volume from the same period last year and higher than any January volume in the past decade. More recent import data from the U.S. Census Bureau was not yet available at the time this report was released but AMS weekly shipment data show volumes from Mexico this season through mid-March were up 34 percent over the same period last year.

  19. Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

    In spite of its well publicized problems, I love Mexico and the Mexicans and the further south you go, the better it is.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Connie,

      The relaxed atmosphere is apparent as soon as one enters Los Algodones. The fellas hawking dental and optical care were not obnoxious. I think the asparagus-seller photo represents the Mexican attitude toward life. There is, of course, a darker side . . .

  20. Geri Moore says:

    Wow! What a riot of color everywhere! Strawberries like these are beginning to appear in Florida too! I love strawberries! Hope your connection issues get better, can’t wait for next installment! Oh, my Kindle paperwhite arrived yesterday….. I love it! Now I just have to figure out how to get my books transferred over to it! LOL! Do we get a pic of you with your shiny pearly whites and new specs ??????

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Geri,

      I’ve lost track of where you are right now. If you are near Plant City this month and have the opportunity, you might enjoy the annual Strawberry Festival. I used to go to it with my parents. Oh, how they loved that!

      You could buy a bowl with a piece of shortcake. Then you went to an enormous vat of strawberries (several feet in diameter) and scooped up as many strawberries as you could pile in your bowl. Another vat held whipped cream. I don’t know if it’s still presented that way — this was in the late 70s. Never have strawberries tasted so good!

      Enjoy your Paperwhite. My books transferred automatically. Look to see if yours are in “archives.”

      • Geri Moore says:

        My mom also loved the Strawberry Festival, must be more that 20 years ago I took her to go see Crystal Gayle sing! Yes, the big vats of strawberries and whipped cream were still there then…. today I dunno!
        I really should post to my blog more often so you don’t have to guess where we are, but dang we are just having too much fun!
        right now until Feb 9th, we are camped in Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring FL. The 9th we go to Fort Ogden (near Arcadia) to the boondocking Rally for a week. We begin our job at Myakka State Park March 1st and will be there until July 1st.

        I love the Kindle paperwhite! It is so easy to navigate around! Love it love it love it! If any of your readers are thinking about it, let me tell ya it is soooooo cooooool! Love it!

        Ya’ll take care, love ya girl and smooches to the pooches!

  21. Diann in MT says:

    Thanks for the information, Sue. I am looking forward to all your posts about your experiences.
    After a vacation on the Yucatan peninsula in 2010 I vowed I would never return to Mexico. Trucks full of armed Mexican Army soldiers, complete with automatic weapons, roamed the roads and drove up and down the beaches, constantly. Police beckoning cars into checkpoints, all up and down the main highway from the airport.
    We were warned to stay within the property boundaries because of kidnapping potential. These conditions were not temporary; they were continually seeking out “drug cartel” types. Very unnerving. Maybe, it’s not that way near the border.
    So, I am very interested in your impressions of personal safety. Sounds like the clinic takes precautions to make sure you don’t get lost.
    The fruit and veggies are beautiful. I know, for the most part, the people are, too.
    Thanks, Sue

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diann,

      Nothing like soldiers with automatic weapons roaming around to ruin a vacation. . . Sort of ruins the ambiance. . . Difficult to relax, no doubt!

      Ricardo pointed out the police station in the middle of the shopping area. I saw no uniformed officers during my visit and no weapons.

      I’ve had my pockets picked before (in the U.S.) and have become wise to the techniques. I saw none of those behaviors, although I admit I wasn’t looking for them every minute. I did not feel unsafe at any time.

      The people are very polite — more than in the U.S. by far — and smiles from strangers are frequent.

  22. John Hussey says:

    Here is a suggestion:
    You can stay at the Indian campground, on the right, just before the border crossing into Los Algodones is a possibility. I did it three years ago and stayed over a week walking from my Casita across the border, getting my crown, teeth cleaned, and snacking from about every street vendor there. The food is outstanding. And if you enjoy seafood…simply amazing. Anyway, the campground offers places to stay without hookups, which is what I did but I used their hot shower each day, washing machines and got a cup or two of free coffee in the lobby. I believe I paid $50.00 for a week’s stay. I saw some campers boondock just before the campground, and still use their facilities and walk across the border when they felt like it. That way you don’t pay the $6.00 parking fee at the entrance each day nor spend the gas driving there. Consider doing either of the two if you must stay for a while for your dental work. And the tequila…so cheap for a bottle of the good stuff, like “Centenario”, sipping tequila. I don’t believe the Mexicans even buy the cheap stuff like Jose Cuervo. You are lucky. I really enjoyed my stay there a couple years ago and I am looking forward to returning. It is cheap for your prescription drugs there as well. Oh, when I arrived at that campground I had just been boondocking from Quartzite down and the shower was clean and had the hottest water…it was a treat to shower each day, lounge there with the hot water on, and not take my usual water-frugal navy shower…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, John,

      I did see the casino campground and the boondocking going on near the border. That is a possibility for a future visit.

      I had no idea how long it would be before I returned. For that reason I didn’t want to leave the crew by themselves in the BLT, so moving to any of the areas you mention was not appealing. I was fortunate to have Les available to dog-sit.

      Thank you very much for sharing all this information with us. It is very helpful for new visitors to the area.

  23. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts. VA says:

    Wow how exciting! I’ve been waiting for this post. I am newly on limited social security and need tons of dental work, HA, Seems you turn 65 and all your fillings and crowns fall out along with a lot of other things that fall. The financial stress is aweful.
    Mexico is looking very good to me… Do they do oral surgery?
    I would be distracted by the vendors also, Looks like so much fun! Can’t wait for next post.
    Take Care

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diane,

      Yes, there are oral surgeons. I overheard a couple talking about a week-long stay, both of them having extensive dental work performed. It must have been extensive because the dentists in Mexico don’t drag out treatment. They work very efficiently, ever conscious of the time.

      You can save thousands of dollars. Maybe by the time I’m done writing about Los Algodones, people will have posted their recommendations for oral surgeons. That would be very helpful. Of course, you can research online, too.

  24. Pauline from Mississippi says:

    Susan, at first I was a tad concerned when Ricardo said he was going to come and get you. Half way through the post, I was laughing and enjoying the sights. We could spend a lot of time shopping there!!! Of course, the strawberries really caught my eye. When we lived in Florida, Jerold would buy me a flat for Valentine’s Day.
    Looking forward to Part 2

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline…

      Always the protective big sister! 🙂

      Oh, I remember those FL strawberries. Valentine’s Day is when they are at their peak. (Your Jerold is such a sweetheart.)

  25. Renee (from Datil) says:

    Love going into Algodones, although sometimes it’s a bit like running a gauntlet. In my older age, I LOVE the bright colors. If I lived there I’d buy SO MANY of the painted flowerpots. I do have one of the brightly-colored fabric purses & a backpack. I get more compliments on them. Be sure to try the tacos; you can’t beat $1 each. If you have company, you’ll enjoy hanging out in the Plaza. Everyone is so friendly there; I’m missing it this winter! Oklahoma is too blasted cold (although at my daughter’s in MT, it was -25 this morning). I’d still rather be in AZ!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Renee,

      As a person who prefers minimal decor and recently put up white curtains, I have to laugh at the contrast! The many vivid colors are delightful. I do think they might overpower my small living space!

      In my next post I’ll describe my shopping experience . . .

      After your experiences with bad weather in the past year, you’ll have a heightened enjoyment of sunny and warm (not hot) places this year.

      I’m happy that you had that time with your daughter though. 🙂

      • Renee (from Datil) says:

        Thanks, Sue. That’s the beauty of this lifestyle — we can be with family who might need a little help. On the other hand, it was also nice for US to be with family when Dave had his surgery a few years back. Maybe a splash or two of those vibrant colors would be nice in the Casita for any overcast or un-sunny days…

  26. Sergio says:

    I read you blog… and couldn’t help wondering, why you do not travel in Mexico, in the winter. I did for a while in 2003 – 2005 a Newmar Class A , people are friendly, curious, welcoming, very generous and helpful. I wasn’t boon-docking at the time… but I meat Canadians who were… in smaller rigs. No fuss! The land management is less structured and tolerance is more like I know in Québec.

    Give me your insight… I’m curious to know.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sergio,

      I don’t have much insight into boondocking in Mexico. I can share my thoughts on it, based on absolutely no experience and very limited knowledge.

      Many times on this blog people have praised me for my courage. Whether that is deserved or not . . . I do like to try new things and go to new places. It may not seem like it from reading my blog posts, but I exercise some caution.

      Looking at my set-up… The PTV and BLT. I imagine they would be very attractive to a criminally-minded person. Especially when driven and occupied by one person. Much easier to take a van away than a Class A.

      I don’t know that taking a gun into Mexico is wise.

      Another difficulty is the fact I don’t speak the language. I am responsible not only for myself, but for Bridget and Spike. I do not like being dependent upon others. I like to be able to solve by myself the problems that come into every life wherever one goes.

      I know what people will think reading the above — You don’t need to know the language. There are whole communities of RVers and many of the natives speak some English. And, aye, that’s the rub. . . I can’t stand camping close to other people for more than a few days. I need to be alone.

      I would be tempted to wander away from the places populated by U.S. and Canadian citizens. That would not be wise. Look what Tioga George experienced. (Finding his two acquaintances murdered in their beds). George loves Mexico and traveled the country extensively. I’d like to travel the way George did. The fact that he left the country he loves in a big hurry tells me a lot.

      Again… I admit I don’t know much on the subject of travel in Mexico. As I become more informed, I may try it. At this point, I’m having plenty of good days here in the United States . . . and there’s so much more to see.

      • Diann in MT says:

        According to my brother who “boondocks” the Pacific in his sailboat, if you are caught with a gun on your premises, the federales take everything–boat, truck, camper, etc. He does not dock in Mexico.
        Peace! :>)

      • Cinandjules says:

        Raises hand high!

        Taking a gun into Mexico is detrimental to your freedom! They will arrest you, seize your vehicle and throw you in da slammer! Then they will contact your family and demand large amounts of money.

        Pocket knives will also get you into a jam! Even the small Swiss army ones that attach to your key ring!

        As LEO’s we are told to leave all ID/badges in the US.

  27. Don’t know that I’ll ever convince my wife to go, but a trip to Mexico has been in the back of my mind for several years, ever since I read of Tioga George’s travels in that country. Your blog post has me more convinced than ever that a trip south of the border would be an enjoyable and memorable experience.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Walt,

      Visiting a border town providing services to foreigners is an easy introduction to the country, as you can already see from this post. A travel visa is not required. The economy of the town depends upon visitors so they are treated very well.

      Rather than trying to convince your wife to travel in Mexico, maybe she would be more likely to try a short morning visit. Once she’s there, the shopping opportunities, food, and friendly people will convince her more than any words can do.

  28. Bill & Ann says:

    Good post Sue. What color. What adventure. I want to visit Algodones. More so now than before your post. Thanks. Can’t wait for your next post!

  29. Irene and I have visited Algodones a number of times and enjoy it immensely, it is as you describe it. I even like to find a place to sit and watch the goings on. We will be back there on Saturday. If you are getting dental work done, try and set your appointments up as early in the day as you can so you can avoid the line-ups for getting back into the US.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Harold,

      I clicked on your name-link and was delighted to see your post on Los Algodones. We have the same “eye” for what makes a good photo. 🙂

      Then I saw I headlined the previous post! Wow! Thank you.

      It was a treat to meet you both, along with your three handsome pups.

  30. Rita from Phoenix says:

    I’ve been visiting Mexico on and off since the ’60’s….wonderful place to visit but I wouldn’t live there. I caught Montezuma’s revenge while in Mazatlan one year. I don’t speak Spanish but the people are so helpful and look out for you that you are not being over charged. Best food I had was a little taco stand in the street…they sold tacos at a quarter each and very filling and delicious. Never had dental or glasses from Mexico but my friends have had both.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Rita,

      I am well-acquainted with Montezuma’s revenge from a trip made in the sixties. I remember lying in a Texas motel for three days wanting to die.

  31. CheryLyn(Oregon) says:

    Great post! I have been researching Mexico for dental/vision to use when I get on the road. How did you decided who to use?
    Planning to use your phrase “I prefer minimal decor” when my house goes on the market this spring and the questions arise–What no curtains?, no cutsy wallpaper,
    ALL the walls off-white?
    Love the pics. You lift my spirits when it gets overwhelming.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, CherLyn,

      I didn’t do much research when looking for a dental/vision clinic. I went online, looked over several, and chose Jo-Bal simply because they seemed well-established and didn’t have any negative reviews. I’m not going to say it’s the best place to go or it’s where the best deal is. I can say I’m pleased with them and I’m glad I chose Jo-Bal.

      Always happy to provide an escape . . . I try to keep my blog peaceful and enjoyable.

  32. Dixie says:

    Hi Sue!! So glad you made it to Algodones!! It certainly is an experience! Hope all your dental work went well? I sure am pleased with the work I had done there in November.Glad you had Les to watch the crew. I bet they were happy to see you when you got back.That’s the only hard thing for us too- we have to find someone to “doggie-sit”when going across the border. Hugs to the pups!! Dixie

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dixie,

      As you can imagine, the crew was VERY happy to see me pull up in the PTV. I hated to leave them behind. It was hard on them both. I don’t leave them often enough so when I do, it’s traumatic. Hope all is well with you . . .

  33. Deb from NJ says:

    Well certainly putting this place on my list to visit! Loving all the colors. Must have been color shock after looking at different shades of brown for a while. Hope you were able to have a good Mexican meal. I love real Mexican food. After the dentist and eye doc I would have had to seek out the strawberries and the asparagus and get me a bunch! Thanks for sharing….looking forward to next post! …But then again I always do!
    Have a great day Sue!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Deb,

      Re: Mexican food and all the rest. . . I’ll let you know in the next post if I ever get the dang thing written. Life keeps getting in the way!

  34. Donna in CT says:

    Wow, I am late to the “party.” So many comments already. I thought it was interesting that you stayed away from the Quartzite market but enjoyed the Mexican one. I am not criticizing, I would be the same way! I love how colorful everything is at Algodones. I LOVE color. I hate shopping for clothes because they are all such boring colors.

    My only trip to Mexico was at least 6 years ago. My boyfriend (at that time) spoke some Spanish which was really helpful. We stayed in the capital of the Yucatan, Merida, which is near the center of the state. It was a great time, except for the one day we had food poisoning. It was our own fault. It wasn’t Montezuma’s revenge, thank goodness, we were careful of the water. Unfortunately, it was the market day so we missed that. But in 10 days, we saw 5 different Mayan sites, spent a day at the ocean, took a boat ride up a river to mangrove swamps watching flocks of flamingos feeding in the shallows and walked around Merida, going to the museum, the parks, etc. We had a great time.

    I have to admit it was a little disconcerting a couple of times. Once when we saw a truck full of soldiers/police, all carrying rifles of some kind. They had to be at least 8 of them standing in the back of the truck but they were just looking around. The other time was when we went to the lowering of the flag in the main plaza/park. It was done but soldiers/police which I would expect but there were also many of them roaming around the plaza and they were carrying rifles. I never felt threatened or in danger at any time but I also would not have wanted to do it alone.

    I’m hoping to someday get to Algodones someday, actually ANY of the places you’ve been to!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Donna,

      That sounds like a perfect vacation! If Americans and Canadians didn’t have the worry re: security in Mexico, the country would be flooded with vacationers and retirees and their money. Mexico has so much to offer.

  35. Bea says:

    Those photos look so familiar to me. Have been in Algodones many times over the last five years. I guess I will be going there soon again. Dental work of course. It is way cheaper than in Canada and they do real good work! The thing is just to avoid the crooks and find a real artist. To that I can say: been there, done that.
    And I need new glasses too! At a fraction of the price at home. It is worth the whole long trip from home!
    Just love it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bea,

      I probably didn’t get the best deal possible because I didn’t comparison shop. I’m pleased with the work done and with the price. Much cheaper than U.S. vision and dental . . .

  36. Heda says:

    What fun! I think I need my teeth worked one even though I only saw my gorgeous dentist, Emmanuel, yesterday.

  37. Geri Moore says:

    WoW! You should see all the Casitas, Scamps, Bolers and Egg Campers here today at Highland Hammock State Park! A huge rally here this weekend! I just walked Radar and DoogieBowser around and saw at least 2 dozen! Supposed to be 40 here this weekend!
    You would probably hate it with so many, but it’s pretty interesting to see them all buffing their eggs up to a high shine to show them off! LOL! If there are any egg owners nearby Sebring FL, they might want to drop by the campground for a visit. No camping sites left, but they can come visit other fiberglass owners in the campground! Wish you and the crew were here!

  38. Glenda in OZ! says:

    Oh I would have wanted to stop shop too…………….what a colourful and busy place…………….waiting with baited breath for the next instalment!!

  39. Barb in Washington state says:

    waiting as well for the next installment. We also went to a dental place in Algonodes..loved it, loved the restaurant we ate in and just the atmosphere is fun. hope you are recovering nicely from your extraction!

    • kerin gordon says:

      what restaurant did you to to…..I only saw two on b street with the chicken in front on the grills…im going on Monday and it is Saturday….call and leave a message if you can….five two zero eight four zero….three zero one four….I love it there…

  40. kerin gordon says:

    yeah I saw the asparagus but those pesky vendors made me forget…I didn’t see the strawberries but I will be looking for them….im sure they look as good as the picture…I did find a great dentist…not the one that I had an appointment with…I never found them…the one I did use….was closed and hidden in the back of the others blocks from the office. I thought it was the right one but when a nice german girl came out…..and was soooooooooooooooooooooooo helpful. Her boyfriend is the dentist but is away doing dental work in Tijuana. She went and got another dentist who did work in both offices at the same time…I had two crowns for 360 dollars for two which is cheaper that my united Concordia dental insurance….plus my insurance said they will pay for half. My abutments and crowns which will cost 1800 each will cost only 700 for both here. Thursdzy I went to 3 dentists in phx and all said something different…thousands of dollars treatment and one said just live with it. The dentist I had my implants put in…in Tucson took off to California and screwed everyone. My previous dentist whose work all broke, a crown and a bridge took off to seattle and screwed me to. I also saw two stray dogs…one im gonna bring a nice collar and doggie tshirt and attempt to bring him home with me…..he looked pretty healthy but his coat was greasy and dirty….not much different from a couple of mine….I have 12 at home…and rolling in the horse poop and whatever else they do could make them look like strays….they all stay in my fence and sleep indoors but I let them roam my yard and do whatever….one looked like she had fleas, mange, yeast infection and her new name was stinkbucket….instead of rosie…and red nosed pit….at a cost of 255 dollars I found out all she had was allergies and her meds are 5 dollars each for a hundred pills each in los algodones. Any meds I want are available there…..any. I got Viagra….four pills for five dollars…when I went through customs I told them and they didn’t even check my bag. Im gonna pay someone ten bucks to was this dog with shampoo I bring in. Its a nice town. Even the hawkers are nice…I sat with one and talked…..she has four kids, married for ten years. She was amazed that I made twenty dollars an hour but I told her I own my own house, have twelve dogs, ten cats, two horses and a cow and she couldn’t believe it….she thought I would eat the cow and sell for money…but I told her im a vegan….again she was stunned. im gonna get botax for seven dollars and I got a big huge vase with an iguana cast crawling around it for twelve dollars….not painted but part of the cast. I got a big turtle for ten dollars and a mailbox painted with my horses and cow …including the box for 45 dollars…..I got a cup of jimaca and cukes for a dollars with lime and salt…yum. the chicken I tried to buy at two stands was a joke….three dollars for two extremely small legs…..for the stay dog. I then offered him some of my emergency vegan subway sub and he walked away. My dentist is Mario garabaray or something like that at soft dental who has five stars which I didn’t even know until I got home…..but it was another dentist like I said who took over for him….one damn shot…only one….I had seventeen when I got the implants….seventeen…yeah….this doctor would not shoot me in the roof of the mouth cuz he said it would hurt too much and he wanted me to be a friend not afraid of him….so this will cost me all of 180 for two crowns after ins kicks in….for two molar crowns….feel free to call me at 520 840 3014 to ask me any questions…I already have a passport to come back to the usa…but you do need a mexicsn card to come back and to talk cash…the one dermatologist office does have a lot of appts so don’t expect to come over and walk right in…I couldn’t so im trying again….and remember most of the visitors are from the north of America….but realistically most are lovely Canadians which are my neighbors where I live. I had a three hours wait to come back over and for five dollars I was taken directly to the front of the line and a Canadian offered to carry my vase past immigration and then she asked a stranger…..from Canada to take it to my car where I didn’t take down the lot number..but I found it….a ton of white Priuses are in the parking lot…which is six dollars for the day….LOVE THOSE CANADIANS….and then I took him back to his car a mile away which he paid no parking fee for…he left his mastercard in his Yuma hotel room and wasn’t gonna pay again for parking he said…….keep in mind they are trying to make a buck in mexico so do not believe what they tell you…..but still some great deals…I got a gorgeous pink ring for twenty dollars down from sixty…haggle with them….they expect it.

    • kerin gordon says:

      Well I went back two more times and both times I had my car secondary searcged, The first time I stayed at the hacienda hotel and there were about 5 stray dogs with no food no water and a cardboard box to live in…one dog couldn’t walk on its food, one dog was very skinny and one dog had an engorged penis filled with blood pooring out. The next day I took the small dog to get a rabies shot and went back to leave food and the skinny dog jumped in the car and went to sleep. I put collars on both and they went to sleep. I couldn’t not have gotten the third dog he was more aggressive it seemed but his lower teeth came out of his mouth so he just looked scary. Anyway I had a secondary inspection for over an hour…they tossed my American meds I had all over the front seat and trashed the car….I had to take the dogs by the leash and sitting in a holding fence….any meds from mexico were on me so I wasn’t worried. I had dextroamphetamine from the v.a. and they questioned that….the dogs…no problem…..on the last visit I had a search while on line in the street, and again a secondary inspection where I left the Mexican drugs all in my purse….they looked through it and that was it…I was scared…..I did have a big dog cage in the car and they wanted to know about that…..I just said I got it in Yuma along with all my dollar store bags of food. I looked for hours for the dog but I think that since I took his friends maybe he moved on….the border guard asked why I had all this dog food in the car and I should throw it out…so she did. Its not a place where I would go if I didn’t have to…..its said….I found a big bag of pedigree next to the stray dogs….looked inside and found a dead german shepherd. I told the border guards but the dog was gone a week later..the bag still there. Most people ignore the limping dogs or the ones with the infected eyes and noses begging for food….they walk by or even kick them. one lady tried to sell me her pup for two dollars……it gets me so mad…I gave one dog at the border entrance half of a pizza and everyone was asking for some…I said go get a job and leave me alone….I work in a prison and im tired on insensitive people expecting something for nothing and getting it…one guy showed me the grocery store and wanted five dollars….it was across the street……I said five dollars to point your finger…..I told him to wait there and I got in my car and left….its good for dentists and pharmacies but be careful…..they will scam you and if you are not careful you will be sorry.

  41. fritz1e says:

    My dental/oral suregon is Dr. Alma Mendoza. She works at White Smile Dental and does an outstanding job. Her work is so good that my dentist in the US wants to go and get work done by her on his mouth. The prices are excellent. I have been going to her for 1 year and my relatives in San Diego all go to her.

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  44. kerin gordon says:

    wow i just read what i had written a couple years ago and i had alot of typos i didnt catch…anyway my los algodones dog passed away over a year ago and i was there yesterday getting some work done.while waiting i walked to the pharmacy and came upon such a site..a starving mange covered dog licking the street. when i approached him he was scared an appeared to have some blindness. i started to shake cuz what could i do..how could i get this dog across the border. I am a good liar I think. I double timed it back to soft dental and my car was blocked in. I asked the lady to move it and told her why and she said yes she knows…huh…so i asked her what she knows…people are so oblivious to what is around them. There were thousands of people there that day…many walking right past the dog. I went to where the dog was but he was gone..I drove up and down the street making illegal uturns then i saw him. I tried to pick him up in my coat but he went limp and snarled. I saw a man trying to fix his car and I asked him for a favor and he came over. He basicly just picked up the dog and put him in the car..amazing..then I tried to jump his truck to no avail…He needed an alternator I told him. It took awhile to cross the border and the dog laid in the back seat not moving and stinking horribly. When I got to the border I had to give him my expired passport, which was all I could find at home and my drivers license. I told him I found the dog in gila bend on the way here and was going to take him to the vet but the vet wasnt to be found..and he told me good luck..anyway the dog has eaten his weight twice over and sleeping alot…which is good. he had a bath and i applied mange lotion to kill it..which it also killed the ticks as well. this was the first dog i had seen with mange there or anywhere. He is like a skeleton very very skinny…Im crossing my fingers that he pulls through. i didnt take him to the vet because it would cost so much for all the tests and stressful for him to. I have some meds for him. wish me luck..i will post an update at a later date

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      kerin…. I am going to duplicate your comment and put it under the current post, “Not cool, Reggie,” so that it will be seen, rather than have it hidden under this old post. You might want to look there to see if there are any responses. Bless you for caring enough to take in that poor dog.

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