At nine o’clock this morning Cynthia, hereafter known as Bama, picked me up and we took off for Mexico. We were going medicine shopping.
First thing Bama says when I get in her Jeep was, “Where’s your camera? Aren’t you taking your camera?” “No”, I replied, “It’s raining and I don’t want to be bothered.” What a mistake that was! Of course she didn’t take hers either.
An hour later we parked in the parking lot on the US side. After a visit to the ladies room, which was just beautiful by the way and that was totally unexpected. How often can you say that about a public bathroom? We then walked the bridge across the Rio Grande River, paid our quarter and entered into Mexico. The actual border is in the middle of the river but they don’t get you for the quarter until you’ve walked over. No one checked our passports, we just walked right in. Welcome to Progresso, Mexico!
The rain had let up but it was still overcast and windy. Once we got into town the wind was buffeted and it was actually pleasant. Still, we were glad we were dressed for the chilly weather.
Lots and lots, hundreds and hundreds, probably even thousands cross into Mexico every week to take advantage of prescription free medications and much lower prices than here in the States.
So we get into the first block and I’m just kickin’ myself for not bringing my camera. I saw a hundred scenes I would have liked to photograph.
I have never seen so many pharmacies and dentists offices all in one place. Storefronts downstairs and dentists up and let’s not forget to throw in an optometrist here and there.
When you make your way towards the first pharmacy to start price/expiration date shopping you are bombarded with teeth cleaning offers, the cheapest prices for prescriptions and flyers for Lasik procedures at the local eye doctors. And this was just from the storefronts. The street vendors were much more aggressive. “Lady, you want necklace, cheap price today!” “Lady, you want earrings, cheap price just for you.” “Lady, you want bracelet, I can put any name you want on it, take me two minutes.” Of course they start their prices out high and when you say no the price falls quickly. When you start to walk away it falls dramatically.
So Bama and I walked from pharmacy to pharmacy, gathering prices, checking expiration dates before making our purchase. I had gotten prices for one of Bob’s medications at the first two pharmacies we came to and the price was very low and thinking like the Queen of Cheap, I’m in discount heaven! The third pharmacy I went to the same medication was priced higher and I scoffed at the clerk and said, “No thanks, its cheaper down the street.” He asked me what the expiration date was down the street. He knew by my expression that I didn’t have a clue because I hadn’t asked. He explained that the prices were so low because the expiration was, in all likelihood, right around the corner. He showed that his product had an expiration of June 2013 AND it was still cheaper than our co-pay with our prescription plan. I didn’t buy right away but I now knew to ask about that all important date.
Now Bama and I didn’t have blinders on to what the town had to offer besides dentist offices and pharmacies. We strolled through little shops and checked out the street vendors wares. Bootleg DVD’s, present day ones no less, were being hawked on every corner for a buck.
We went into one store and I could have spent a fortune on decorations for the inside and outside of our park model in Arizona.
There were aisles of hand blown glass pitchers and drinking glasses, martini glasses and margarita glasses. Beautiful colors and so darn reasonable.
Embroidered T-shirts that in the States would sell for a minimum of $20.00 were marked from $8 to $10. Surprisingly, they were quality T’s and I did get one of those.
We decided to take a break and slipped into a pastry shop that had tables and chairs for the patrons and entertainment to boot. We gave our order at the counter, paid for it and then were given a basket to put the pastry in that we chose from the open racks. If you wanted coffee or tea or in my case, a Coke, it was brought to you. Walking in the aisles was a three piece mariachi band. We thoroughly enjoyed the music and the pastries which while very large compared to a portion you would get here in the states, well, they were kind of bland and heavy. I had a sugar covered donut and it wasn’t light and airy like a Dunkin’ Donuts donut but was rather dense and heavy. Of course the sugar was sweet but the donut itself was pretty much tasteless. But we ate them!
Back on the streets, after our break from price checking, we started gathering more information so that we could make smart purchases. Now understand that this medicine is for popular, if that’s the right word to use, medications prescribed. Blood pressure medicine, an array of the cillins, hormone medications, thyroid medications, depression meds and the list goes on. Let’s not forget Viagra! They must sell a ton of that stuff here because every shop had a big sign, Buy Your VIAGRA Here! What you CAN’T get over the counter are controlled medications. No OxyContin or drugs of that type are traded over the counter in exchange for your Visa or MasterCard.
Back to the Texas Pharmacy as that is where we found the best prices and expiration dates were far enough out that the meds would be used in time. We each bought a three month supply of the meds we needed. I probably would have just gone along for the ride had two of Bob’s prescriptions not expire this month and with the VA Clinic here in the Valley being such a joke to deal with….well, it just worked to get his meds this way.
Having bought all we were going to it was time to head back across the border.
About a block before the border crossing I had the urge to go. That Coke I had an hour earlier was ready to move on. I asked Bama to keep an eye out for a bathroom. A few doors down there was one and I was glad to see it!
We went in and while it was clean (enough) it was nowhere nearly as pretty as the one we visited on the States side prior to crossing into Mexico. Aesthetics aside, I had to go!
I stepped into the stall and was immediately aware of just how small the area was. I stood in place and could barely turn around, I opened the door and asked Bama to take my purse and three bags I was carrying. I stepped backwards, shut and locked the door, hiked up my jacket, oh, how do I put this delicately….oh heck, I’ll just say it, I pulled own my pants and assumed the stance. Ladies, I’m sure you’re all aware of what I mean when I say assume the stance. Men, ask your wives. So I, ahem, took care of business and soon found there was no toilet paper in my stall. OH NO! I called out to Bama to find me some. There wasn’t any in the first stall she tried but did find some in the second. I was a happy camper as my thighs would have never lasted long enough to drip dry. Business all done I stood a little straighter and pulled up my pants. What the…..??????? Oh Em Gee!!! My pants were soaked! I looked around and noticed for the first time that this public toilet had a LID! WHO puts a lid on a public toilet? AND WHY WAS IT DOWN???? Oh, I can’t believe this. I peed on the toilet lid and it ran down into my pants which were around my ankles. Do you have any idea how uncomfortable that is??? I mean really, do you have any idea?
Bama knew something wasn’t right and I opened the door to peek out at her only to find that the room was now holding ladies who had to go and they wanted MY stall. I quietly told Bama what had happened and being the good friend she is she promptly laughed out loud. I’m not exactly seeing the humor here.
There was nothing I could do but pull them up and keep them up. I can’t believe this happened to me! Bama assured me that my jacket was long enough to cover the back of me and we headed to the border. The ladies waiting for my stall? Bama just told them to find another one that they would not want to use the one I did.
We’re in line and Bama just couldn’t get this grin off her face every time she looked at me. She was totally enjoying this. As we got closer she pointed out a ladies room (if I had only walked one more block!) and suggested that maybe they have a hand dryer in there and I could dry my pants. Hey, I’ll try anything. I let the people behind us know that I would be back and that Bama was holding my place in line. Off I
ran waddled off to the Ladies room and was glad to find it was empty. Hand dryer? YES! I pushed the button and turned around and held my pants as best I could and back up to the blast of air. I went through a couple of rounds of pushing the button and knew I had to get back to get in line. If I was any drier than when I went in, I wasn’t feeling it.
We crossed back into America with no problems and I laid my jacket out on her seat and gingerly lowered myself onto it. Oh yuck! I was afraid this was gonna be a long ride back to Mission and I wasn’t wrong!
Needless to say a shower and dry clothes were in order as soon as I walked through the door.
Bama and I decided that we’re going back to Mexico again to get more medicine on a sunny day and we’re taking our cameras and I’m NOT DRINKING ANY COKE!