Monday, December 29, 2008

Your Mission should you decide to accept it, is to survive a month in Mission Texas.

We accepted the mission, first was the drive to the border, once you leave San Antonio there is nothing for a couple of hundred miles until you reach the RGV (Rio Grande Valley), once you get there expect nothing but traffic and more traffic, I really think that it was more crowded the southern Florida. All the stores are grouped together in malls so that there is no little mom n pop grocery, if you needed milk and eggs you had to fight mall type traffic and spend 20 minutes finding a parking spot before you could run in and get anything.

Mission was named for the La Lomita Mission which was built on the Rio Grande in the mid 1800's and still stands today. It is open everyday and one of the bigger attractions in this area.

We took the 60 mile drive down the Valley to Brownsville to visit the Zoo. This is a really nice Zoo but nobody was there, I don't think there were more then 50 people in the entire Zoo while we were there. Jim got a new camera for Christmas so here are some Pictures. Cathy also got a new camera for Christmas (Jim's old one).

On the way home we stopped at the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, this is a college-prep for boys from 8-12th grade.

It is located on Iwo Jima Blvd, and what would you expect to find on a street with this name, why the Iwo Jima Memorial of course. No not the one that you see in Washington DC, this one is the original. It is the original model prepared by Dr. de Weldon and was used to cast the bronze that is in Washington DC. there are a few different reasons that it is located here. One the weather, the plaster needs to be in a weather zone with certain temperatures and humidity, Two to inspire the Cadets of the Academy and three one of the flag raisers was from this area and is buried at the base of the monument.

There is a small museum here with mementos from the battle of Iwo Jima, a lot of one of a kind things are here that have been donated by soldiers who have stopped by here. There is also a great 30 minutes film on the history of the battle and during this you find out that this statue which was taken from the famous photo taken by Joe Rosenthal is really the second flag raising on Iwo Jima. The first flag raising on Mount Surbachi was at about 10:30 AM, it was a smaller flag that one of the soldiers had carried up there inside his shirt, it was visible by all the soldier fighting on the island but could not be seen from the ships. This was all done during the battle, later in the afternoon a larger flag was brought from the ship and the raising of this one is the one that became famous.
Privates Louis Charlo & James R Michels , Corporal Charles Lindberg, Sergeants Henry Hanson & Ernest Thomas JR and Lieutenant Harold Schrier, names that have been lost in history, these were the men that raised the first flag on Mount Surbachi at Iwo Jima.

The weather here is either 50 degrees and raining or 90 degrees and humid or a very pleasant 75 degrees with 50 MPH winds blowing you down, what this boils down to is Jim getting Bronchitis and a trip to the clinic, Cathy managed to fight it off until I didn't know what to get her for Christmas, so I gave it to here along with another trip to the clinic. This led to us just lying around and watching all the TV marathon that were on during the holidays.

Well about two days before our mission in Mission was up we finally made it to Mexico, drove down to Progresso Texas, and parked the car on the US side, paid the 25 cent toll to walk across the bridge to Mexico. Its funny nobody sez a word to you when you go into Mexico you just cross the bridge and enter the biggest flea market in the world. Progresso Mexico is designed to cater to the American tourist, and they do a very good job of it, anything you can thing of or would want can be had here and for a very cheap price. Medicines, leather products, silver items, dental work, (cleanings for only 10 dollars, extractions for 20), need new glasses no problem, haircut 4 dollars and no waiting 20 chairs, you name it they got it. We spent about 3 hours wandering around spending money and had a ball. I take a generic of Prilosec which cost about 18 dollars for a month supply, I got a three year supply for 50 dollars here, Cathy found a liter bottle of pure vanilla for $1.90, then she found 4 bracelets and three necklaces all of the silver for $50.00, she did a little bargaining here.

Now we have to cross the border back into the USA. as we approached the bridge there was a Mexican soldier behind a wall of sandbags with a 50 cal machine gun pointing down the sidewalk, in the road there was an armored personnel carrier with two more soldiers one behind another machine gun and the other behind a canon. Once we got to the American side is took all of 30 seconds to go through customs and be on our way back to the car. I really wish that we hadn't been sick because we could have spent another few days over here.

As we were driving north on US 77 heading to Corpus Christi we were 85 miles north of the Mexican border, there is a Border patrol post and they stop every northbound car, after a half hour in line it was our turn, "are you American citizens?" Yes, "enjoy your day" and you're on your way, right after the narcotic dogs does his sniffing thing all around your vehicle.

It was fun but I don't think that we will be going back there for quite awhile, maybe for a week to do the Mexican thing again, when I run out of Meds or Cathy runs out of Vanilla, which ever come first.