It started out like any other vacation, a long drive and then finally the suspense ended when we finally arrived. It was Christmas 2008 and my family and I were going to Texas to visit my grandparents. The entire trip was all planned and on the second day we were to cross the boarder into Progreso, Mexico. The day finally came and we made the hour commute to the border. I imagined everything just the same last time I was there, nine years ago. Which was before the terrorist attacks and Mexico’s war on drugs emerged. The security at the border patrol was more adamant, serious and at times a little scary; but was something I had expected and was happy to see. We crossed the Rio Grande into Mexico. What i saw next i never imagined, in the middle of the road were men from the Mexican Army on military tanks. Along with the tanks, on the ground stood more men with machine guns. I was shocked! I couldn’t believe I was even allowed in a place like this. Although I knew the men were only there to protect me I still got an eerie feeling as I walked past them. When we got past, Mexico appeared just like I had remembered. Shop’s were all along the street, with men and women yelling out prices of their products. Although everything was set up how I’d remembered, walking through this time I saw it from an entirely different perspective. The first time I was so interested in all of the shop’s and jewelry, I never really saw anything but them, now I saw everything my adolescence hid, or didn’t want to see. The first thing I approached was an older sickly women, in need of medical attention, sitting on the side of the street. When I looked at someone’s booths I no longer saw what they were selling but how determined they were to make any kind of sale, no matter the price. Walking back to the border was when it hit the hardest. Four young children, two boys trying to find anyone who would get their shoes shined; and two girls trying to persuade women to buy their jewelry. Their clothes were tattered and torn, and on their feet were nothing that I would have ever considered shoes. They could not have been over ten years old and here they were already being forced into the work force; by parents who hoped people would sympathize for them. They did, I did. As we weaved our way back through the Army men and to the other side of the border I couldn’t believe what I had just saw. I was so interested in the culture that I was walking through that I hardly spent the time to look at anything else. On the drive back I thought about how there really were people that lived in an area where there was a war going on all around them, all the time. Not a war to help better their country, but a war all because of narcotics. A place where innocent people had to be “babysat” by the army, because the drug lords cared less about if there were any civilian fatalities. I’m aware that we have a drug problem also, but I live in a country that is not run or ruined by an addiction. For that I am grateful and now understand just how envious some people are of what I have, what i used to take for granted.
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