It was a most interesting daily jaunt. I crossed over the border into Nuevo Progresso Mexico on Tuesday.
First impression was the presence of the army. They had armored vehicles with machine guns mounted on them. They also had sand-bagged posts with soldiers manning them. They definitely announced their presence to the hundreds of tourists crossing over from the US.
Second impression was one of a marvelous bazaar with hundreds of small shops carrying all kinds of items for sale. I also noticed many, many pharmacies and dentists. It seemed as though there were as many as 50 of each. Outside of many of the shops were hawkers calling your attention to this pharmacy or that dentist. There were also many sidewalk vendors about. The streets were crowded with tourists and hawkers. People were on the sidewalk and in the streets. Cars and trucks were slowly meandering down the streets.
I had a chipped tooth and went into a dentist's office. He was able to immediately help me. He took xrays and showed me where the root was exposed and that rather than covering it with a filling that would eventually cause great pain, I needed a root canal and a crown. When I asked him how much it would cost I was told the total would be $300. This was about a third of what I had paid for the last such procedure in the United States. I asked him how long it would take and was told it would be ready in 2 days. This seemed such a bargain that I asked him if he did partial plates. I had lost a partial plate on the left bottom of my mouth some months ago and dreaded paying another $1,000 for a new one. He quoted me $350 and that included a newer base of flexible material instead of the metal plate. It will also be ready this week. He was extremely polite and quite knowledgeable. He spoke Spanish and English and wasted no time. I was quite pleased.. I'm going back Friday for the crown and the partial that would have cost about 3 times what I will end up paying.
After coming out numbly from the dentist, I shopped for a bit at a leather store with my sister and brother-in-law. I noticed that my sister was able to barter the price down on a purse from $20 to $15. Unfortunately I had already agreed to purchase 2 leather hats at the marked price, otherwise I might have saved a few bucks. Oh well, you live and learn. I will shop a bit more when I go back for my teeth and perhaps try bartering. We, in the United States, are not used to arguing the price down on objects – so this will be a new experience.
I would also point out that the dentist was located within a block or so of the border checkout, so it was very convenient. A great place to go for dental work and adventure.