Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Is it Mexico or is it China?

Street market in Algodones, Mexico
We made a day trip from Yuma, Arizona, to Algodones, Mexico, today, and soon felt we’d been transported to China instead.

We stopped at a restroom right after crossing the border from California to Baja California, and were hit with the first sign: An attendant sitting at the door handing out, not toilet paper as they do in China, but paper towels, for which he expected a tip, though a sign at the entrance said the toilets were free.

The minute we stepped onto the street, we were accosted by shills for dentists, optometrists and pharmacists. This reminded me of being accosted by shills for hotels as you leave a train station in China.

Street markets in China
Americans go to Algodones for low-cost health services, particularly dental needs. But, of course, there is the requisite shopping. Street markets abound within a couple of blocks from the border. Mexican vendors are just like those in China: though they’ve never set eyes on you before, you are immediately their best friend. And, just like in China, bargaining is expected. My husband now has an international cane collection, having added a highly decorative one to the intricately carved ones he’s bought in China. The seller originally wanted $30 for the cane, but he paid $10; I think he could have gotten it for less than that, but he was happy with the price.

Are you going to China?

 If a trip to China is in your future, check out Cheryl’sChina for tips and recommendations. And feel free to email me if you have questions about traveling in China.


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