Friday, March 9, 2012

Mexico, Ole!

Wednesday was the perfect day for a foray to the south. Mid-day temperatures in the eighties, wind in the thirties, and either get some work done on a dental appliance or eat mush. One day on an oatmeal diet was quite enough for me, so it took no persuading.

We arrived at Progeso shortly before noon and parked on the States' side of the bridge. The stroll across the bridge, the walk along both sides of the tourist strip and the walk back to the parking place took a toll on these old knees.

The first hustler who accosted me got the business. He led me directly to the dentist for whom he was shilling, and a deal was struck. As a general rule, and I checked this at numerous dental establishments, dental work seems to run about 10% to 20% of the cost of similar services in the old Hometown.* I love my dentist, and I offer him no disrespect, but certain old persons whose income is not going to increase any time soon have to watch the pennies.

Finally about two o'clock we selected a restaurant which was very pleasant, indeed. Air conditioned, courteous waiters, and troubadors, no less, to serenade the ladies. When the tip bucket hit our table top, BBBH of course had to support the musicians. They were enthusiastic, but quite terrible, actually.

Certain aspects of this trip are always heart-wrenching, and one has to rationalize to himself that he cannot solve everyone's problems; nor can he bring well-being to all who ask. The little old abuela sitting on the sidewalk, holding out a styrofoam cup toward passers-by. The eleven or twelve year old boy who should be in a sixth grade classroom somewhere, instead walking up and down the sidewalk extending the acrylic paintings, hoping to capture our eye, or our heart, but mostly our money. He had a fool-proof gig, though. His paintings featured either puppies or Jesus. Appeals to everyone.

The barely-more-than-toddlers holding out their baseball caps.

Then there was the absolutely beautiful baby, and the children all seem to be beautiful, lying peacefully asleep in her box as her mother asked alms. I wanted to offer madre two dollars to take a picture of the child, but in this day and age one is reluctant to make such a proposal. Sad world in which we live.

The saddest aspect of the scene to me is not so much that the day-to-day survival is earned in such a fashion, for the same people seem to be there who were there two years ago, and five years ago, and so on. The saddest aspect is the taking for granted that the perpetuation of this life-style is the norm. Kids who ought to be learning an alphabet in a kindergarten, children who should be learning that there is a world out there in a sixth-grade classroom, I could go on, are being taught that livelihood is dependent upon the generosity of strangers.

The last picture taken from our yard as we are back home in our parking spot. The perfect ending to a near-perfect day.

Sampler of typical dental charges.
Cleaning $20
porcelain crowns $120
metal crowns $90
dentures $140
partials $120
root canal $120
extraction $20
silver filling $20


Jim said...

A woman who used to work from me was a native of India. She needed major dental work done, and it was less expensive -- even with the good dental insurance we had -- for her to (are you ready for this?) fly back to India and have a dentist there do the work. So that's what she did.

Vee said...

The difference between Vanilla and Vee is that Vee would not have gone across the border. Glad your experience turned out well!!

Shelly said...

We used to go to Progreso very regularly but haven't been in a while. My parents just went and they enjoyed their trip.

And, the moon last night was spectactular! We went out and took some pictures of it.

vanilla said...

Jim, I believe it. The last major procedure I had at home was fifteen hundred; same thing in Progreso: under three hundred.

Vee, aw, c'mon. It'll be fun!

Shelly, the moon was something!

Pearl said...

I have a hard time with beggars in the U.S., but have little experience beyond the borders. A combination of a desire to help and a cynicism born of being "taken" more than once make for one conflicted Pearl.



Sharkbytes said...

Mexico seems really strange to me. And I keep hearing such bad stories about drug lords, etc.

Not sure I would trust to receive quality dental work, but I am quite ignorant.

Great pics of BBBH

vanilla said...

Pearl, "conflicted Pearl," here is a conflicted vanilla. I understand where you stand.

Shark, things, indeed, are not good along the border with the drug trafficking and attendant violence. I was reluctant to have dental work done south of the river, but expediency and encouragement from BBBH got the job done. I'm happy with it.

Anonymous said...

Don't you wish that rooster was chocolate


vanilla said...

Bob, that would be some chocolate, right there!