(this post is about Monday, March 14)
Our fearless leader, Mary, took us to Mexico! We went to Los Algodones just to the southwest of Yuma. We drove on down in the morning about 90 miles to just about Yuma, turn right at the casino and go to the parking spots right before the border. You can walk over, and suddenly you are in Mexico!
We wanted to get some dental work done for Steve, and possibly myself. Mary led the way through twisty turny roads in the tiny village, and showed us where to go. She had made us an appointment with:
Dr. Roberto Arce at
Steve had been told previously by our Oconto dentist that he would need 2 crowns, at the cost of $900 each, which would be over $2,000 by the time he was done with all the prep work and xrays. Since our crappy dental insurance in the states only pays out $1,000 limit when you have $2,000 of work done, it costs us about $720 a year in premiums!
That is why Mexican dental was so attractive to us…..
Dr. Roberto examined Steve’s teeth and said that the two teeth would be better candidates for porcelain inlays instead of crowns. The surrounding tooth was very strong and just the centers with the fillings were bad. He could go ahead and do two crowns like Steve wanted for $160 each, but he said an inlay is much better, as you save more of your natural tooth, but they do cost more to make than a crown. So he quoted Steve $800 for two inlays and we said YES, go ahead. We are sure this would have been closer to $3,000 or more back home in Wisconson for Steve’s work to be done with inlays.
While Steve was getting worked over, Mary took me shopping! Boy oh boy did we have fun!!! We bargained and bartered and walked away with vendors chasing us, dropping prices and trying to get us to buy more. Many would drop the price to even less than half. One even offered that if I had spent all my money, he would consider taking my camera in trade!
The streets were clean and freshly mopped by each vendor, the stores were cluttered but clean and displayed to their utmost. It was not what I expected of Mexico or seen on tv travel shows. We are told by the others that Los Algodones is really a town that is catering to the tourists, providing a safe place to patronize their dentists, optometrists, pharmacies and vendors. We saw a lot of city policemen smiling and visiting with the locals and greeting the tourists with welcoming words. We really didn’t see any local people at all, other than street vendors, shopkeepers, or clerks.
The vendors had a bit of everything. I admired a lot of the woven rugs and one vendor even started to claim he was the weaver, but once I started questioning him a bit closer on technique and looms, he backed down a bit from his claim… LOL I did like the rug pictured above, but didn’t need to invest in one at this time. He started at $130, and I got him down to $80 on the first try. I probably could have walked away with it for $50 or so.
Now, I can’t show any of the wonderful things we did buy, because our children read this blog and then they will see the souvenirs we squandered our pennies on! So I will post those later after we get home, as each child and grandchild gets their bounty. It was fun to barter and we found some wonderful things.
I also bought some big liter jugs of real vanilla, and Mary had us carry back some cartons of cigarettes for her. (only one carton to a person) We picked up some medical prescriptions which are soooo cheap compared to the United States. Example: 100 pills of amoxicillin are $4.60 12 pack of Claritin D is $3.70 So we stocked up on stuff and headed back to see how Steve was doing.
(I took a lot of photos, so you can just click on each one to bring it up for a closer look)
Well, Steve was through with the first day of his dental work, and has to come back on Wednesday once the lab has his inlays completed. Sooooo now it was MY turn to get an estimate. Last year, I had a fixed bridge made in Oconto of 3 teeth long (2 anchor teeth and a space in between with a fake tooth) That cost me $3,000. But on the other side I have a space of two missing teeth, and my dentist in Oconto quoted me between $4,000 and $5,000 for a 4 tooth crown. Soooo it was time to see what Dr. Roberto could do? He looked it over, said instead of a 4 tooth crown (2 anchor teeth and 2 fake teeth) He felt a more secure crown would be a 5 tooth device, with 2 anchor teeth up front and one in the back. And… the whole quote for this super duper improved device? Only $960 !!!!
Then he knocked off $30 from each of our quotes because we were a couple! And Mary fanaggled a free teeth cleaning for referring us!
Sooooo 2 hours later, I was all prepped with impressions, grinding of the anchor teeth, temp teeth glued into place for our return on Wednesday. We were very impressed with Dr. Roberto Arce. We paid a deposit on our bill and left his office. We gathered our shopping gear and headed to the customs line.
Soooo our dear Mary let us in on a little secret! For a mere $5 a person, you can avoid the line and hop in a 6 seater pedicab RICKSHAW! It has a bicycle in the front, then a seat for 3 people behind. After that is a tiny cart hitch with another 3 seat wagon that pulls behind. The peddler guy in the front is a retired truck driver, who now lives Oct-April in the RV park nearby and spends his afternoons pedaling folks ahead of all the lines, and the cars!
Seeing as he is considered a “bicycle”, he avoids the car lines, and gets to cut ahead of them! If he had a motor on his device, he would have to be in the car lines. But because it’s only some electric battery assist device, he is still considered a bicycle.
Sooooo HERE is where I got into trouble, and almost ARRESTED!Let me explain: I wanted to take some pics of the pedicab rickshaw while the folks ahead of us were boarding up. I also whipped out my video camera to film them as they peddled off……….
So I snapped these photos, then filmed the pedicab rickshaw with the video camera, and put the cameras both away in my fanny pack.
And……………… suddenly a big tall Mexican Federale Soldier with a GUN came up to me and towered over me! He pointed at my fanny pack and said something like “tourista palabra vista” or whatever. I was flummoxed! Someone else said to me “he wants your camera!” I was shocked! I fumbled into my fanny pack and took out my digital camera.
He said “NO NO” … and made a motion with his hands like an old fashioned filming movie camera. Ohhh he wanted my OTHER camera, the video one! So I gave him that, trembling and shaking. Turns out when I had panned across the view with the pedicab moving away, I had accidently filmed two Federale agents tearing apart a car doing an inspection in the background! I really only was filming their butts.. heh heh. But that was NOT allowed and he told me to delete it.
I tried and fumbled and forgot how to delete one segment of film, but I finally got it. He said something to the effect of what else did I have on there. I said “Tourista Stuff” He doublechecked it. I seriously think if my video camera had been newer and nicer, he would have just kept it! LOL …. then he doublechecked all the photos on my digital camera to be sure none of those showed their butts. I have only the remaining two photos above, which do not show any agent’s butts.
Gosh… all that trouble to take inclandestine photos of a few cute men butts?