Vendors, sculptures and flags at the Mexican border

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Crossing the border at Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico was interesting for a few reasons. The first thing I noticed was people walking back to Mexico with items purchased in the U.S. There’s one guy in this photo dragging a mattress comforter behind him.

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I was taken aback that there was a fee (a few bucks) to cross into Mexico, and another on the way back. I had never encountered that while crossing into Mexico at Tijuana, or while crossing into Canada. It turns out that the fee is technically a “bridge toll,” not a border crossing fee.

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After reaching Mexico, we noticed a sculpture park and a large sign introducing the city.

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Who knew that the Department of Homeland Security has its own flag? I knew they had a logo, but an actual flag? Are these for sale to the public, I wonder?

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The trip into Mexico was extremely quick, but the return border crossing took much longer – upwards of two hours. It was a Sunday evening, and it seems that there’s a wait at the border coming into Eagle Pass every Sunday. Many Mexicans who are now U.S. residents head back into Mexico to visit family on Sunday, and that can result in a long line of cars waiting to re-enter the U.S.

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The exact spot where Mexico meets the U.S. is over the Rio Grande. It’s marked with these fancy colors on the concrete.

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This was the most disturbing aspect of waiting in line at the border: Numerous guys selling random trinkets through car windows…

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… despite the signs clearly indicating that selling objects is illegal.

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It doesn’t send a great message that the first experience many people have in the United States is seeing people openly defying a rule against vending on the bridge. We don’t care about laws here in the USA!

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Then again, it’s easy to criticize this sort of thing when you’re in a more privileged position than these folks. I can’t begrudge the poor the opportunity to make a few bucks to support their families. It’s something people just put up with at this particular border crossing.

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

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