The bridge across the Rio Grande between Laredo, Tx, and Nuevo Laredo, South america, is merely a few 100 feet long, but the apparent distance between your two cities is much much larger.
Like many American urban centers, Laredo is laid away in broad blocks with wide streets and the reporte de puentes. Yet over half of its down-town blocks are empty and turned into parking plenty because life in Laredo has moved to the fringes. Big block stores, strip malls and non commercial suburbs have sucked the life out of the American town, just as they may have in so many towns from The state of texas to Maine. Recently, Laredo’s last bookstore closed.
What still makes Laredo special, however, can it be position on the border of puentes internacionales, separated from Nuevo Laredo by the Rio Importante. San Agustin Plaza, near to the river, suggests Laredo’s Philippine heritage. Between stone and stucco buildings that look as though these were built when Texas hailed from Mexico, San Agustin Destino is a quiet and sleepy place, with a well-tended lawn dotted with stately palm trees. Regrettably, people were there to enjoy it.
Some hundred foot from San Agustin Destino is the International Connection, leading to Nuevo Laredo and the Plaza Juarez. And between the two plazas lies a story of two cities.
We visited both cities a year ago on the dazzling weekday morning in Dec. At lunch at the Posada Inn on the plaza in Laredo, my wife asked our man about visiting Nuevo Laredo that afternoon.
“Don’t go! ” the waitress announced. “Drugs! Kidnapping! It is dangerous place. ”
Without a doubt, Laredo is at the apex of drug smuggling through Mexico to the USA, its streets very well… awash in money, piles of grimy bills yellow gold in cocaine residue… very well according to a recently available article in the New You are able to see the reporte de los puentes. As the Unified States has tightened loan company regulations to avoid money-laundering, more money from illicit medication sales is being smuggled across the border, twisted in plastic and stowed in secret compartments built into the trucks, chartering and cars that stream over the Mexican boundary. And a sluiceway of this river of drugs and money is the International Bridge at Laredo.
I’ll admit it appeared a little frightening, this trip to Nuevo Laredo, if I believed the description of Mexico as a middle of the drug trade. But my wife had been to Mexico and Nuevo Laredo many times since the lady was obviously a child. Undaunted, she asked our waitress to recommend a guide, and twenty minutes later we were standing up at the customs access to the International Link with Francisco Velasquez, our guide for an evening tour of Nuevo Laredo.
The bridge was packed with cars and people. At midpoint of the bridge, as if passing through an invisible barrier, we crossed into Mexico. Almost all of the pedestrians going to South america with us were having luggage or pushing buggies full of oversized boxes of Corn Flakes, clothing and games. We were now fifty feet above the Rio Grande, and the weather was sunny.
Traditions at the Mexican aspect of the bridge looked like casual. Leaving the passage we came to Lonja Juarez, the twin, in ways, of San Agustin Plaza in Laredo. In contrast to the stately yet almost empty lonja in Laredo, though, the plaza in Nuevo Laredo was bustling. Everyone was approaching and going in the shadow of live pine trees while older people sat on benches, children chased around the lonja, and teenagers watched each other.
The buildings around the square were durable but rough, made of concrete and stone. The plaza itself was provided in stone, in comparison to the lawn in Laredo. And every store around the plaza was occupied by a shop or cantina. We lay for a short while and observed the sunlight filter through the trees as children laughed and played around a fountain. Francisco informed us that the people of Nuevo Laredo were renowned for their friendliness. During the afternoon this individual greeted over two dozens of people on the road by name. But this individual was moving back to Laredo, he said, because his children had bought a house for him there.
At one spot of the square we walked into “Marti’s, inch a gallery that sold furniture, glass, pottery, charms and clothing-all handmade in Mexico, all woven or carved in the region where these were being sold, and all of a quality that told me personally the people who made them loved what they were doing.