Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How Our Recent Trip to Los Algodones, Mexico Left an Impression...

Hello Luvs,

Starting the blog off right with a
picture of Josh's plate!
It's been about a month since we visited Los Algodones, Mexico but this morning I flashed back to our meal there. I thought I'd share with you how our day trip went. To be frank, we've been considering somewhere in Mexico as a place to relocate. Getting a taste of the culture and how comfortable we feel as a bi-racial family is an important first step. Practicing my Spanish was an added bonus.

I visited Tijuana, Mexico many times in my late teens (up til about 21). I would drive down with friends or family and stay just for the day. I remembered Mexico as a place where you were stopped constantly to buy anything from gum to leather bags to jewelry. You would pop into a restaurant and find delicious food that was reasonably priced. I bought a cool black leather jacket there around that time that I wore to death. There are many positive memories, but there are also memories of being hassled for being a woman who is fairly attractive. That was something I could have done without. Still, the positives far outweighed the negatives. Many of those included dancing like there was no tomorrow.
This picture was taken just before
we got into the NO PICTURES zone.


So how does Los Algodones rate in comparison? Well, just like Tijuana there are lots of merchants selling their goods. But there are other commodities and services that are more abundant in the area. Those would be dental offices, opticians, and pharmacies. As soon as you cross over the border (which was extremely easy) you are hit with a barrage of people trying to get you to come in and try their services. Most of the services and prescriptions are a fraction of the cost you would pay in the States. Many tourists venture down there just for these things because of the cost and quality of treatment that comes along with it. There is no longer the stigma that was there before of a dark alley way and/or going to someone with dirty tools and working out of their house. For many, this is the only way they can afford to have certain dental procedures that are very expensive (or not covered) in the States.
Some of the BEAUTIFUL tile
located at the gazebo.

When we ventured off the main street we discovered just how poor the area truly is. We found out what difference a block or two makes. The streets were a mess with litter, piles of dog feces, and homes in disrepair. Still, the people there were friendly and inclusive.

Because of the smell (which I hesitate to mention but is an important reality) we went back to the section that was more populated and filled with restaurants and retail. There we stumbled across a restaurant that blew my socks off! We usually look for a place that has locals and seems to be busy. We found it and boy are we glad we did. The owner save a sample of the carne asada taco which writing about right now makes my mouth water. After trying it I ordered three of them which came with rices and beans. Myles and Jalen ordered one each of the same. Josh asked what the server recommended and she answered that the wet burrito with pork is one of her favorites. During our visit we asked for nothing. The chips and salsas were in abundance along with a free beer. It was a true home run for us! The couple next to us always get the shrimp ceviche. We will have to try it the next time we go down.
The restaurant got even bigger
than this!

Oh, and another thing we noticed about the area was that the streets are all tiled. Not just any tile,  but tile that was beautiful and intricate. Some was very colorful (like the one by the gazebo) and others were monochromatic. It showed a sense of pride in the face of poverty.

So, how would I rate Los Algodones, Mexico? (1-5 with 1 being the lowest)
HIGHLY recommend this place!


Convenience: 4 The drive was almost a straight shot from Quartzite. Along the way the scenery was AMAZING. One thing we did see a lot of was migrant workers. It brought to mind just how we are getting that fruit and variety of vegetables to your plates/bowls. It is not something magical....but instead back breaking labor taken on by someone wanting a better life and food on their table.
My tacos!!! YUM....!

Cost: 4 We paid $5 for parking and only bought a wooden toy from a child for $1 while visiting the gazebo. Some of the clothing, jewelry, and other accessories were priced a bit higher than I thought they should be. So, I passed on buying any of those. The restaurant however was tremendously reasonable $35.

Staff: 3.5 The staff at the restaurant could not have been any better. Unfortunately, the border patrol agent when coming back into the States (make sure you have your passport!) was a bit rude. It was crazy to experience it. I guess they have to be stern, but the other agents did not seem the same.

The variety and taste of the salsas
was delishly amazing!
Location: 3 It is difficult to really get to a proper rating on this. The residents seem to be trying to better themselves, feed their families, and earn money. The lower rating comes from the aggressive folks who would not accept a simple no thank you.

Jalen's dessert...does not look
picturesque but it was yummy.






So, there you have it! If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out.



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What a day! What a sky!

Til next time,

Kat

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