3/19/16 – Cori’s Visit at Santa Ana

We counted down the days until finally our daughter arrived for a visit. Following her business trip to San Antonio, Cori drove south and spent five days with us.

Soon after she got here, the three of us went the short distance over to Hidalgo to tour the Old Pumphouse, then we took a stroll around the grounds of the World Birding Center there (built in 1909 along the banks of the Rio Grande) before heading to the McAllen/Pharr area for an early birthday celebration for Ken at Pappadeaux Seafood Restaurant, which did not disappoint!

Ken and I were scheduled to work at the Refuge on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but Cori came along and we made the best of it. Actually, she worked from the conference room on Friday. Then, she tagged along on our tram tours Saturday (in the 90+ degree heat) and took video of her mother making a mess of the narrative (I really do a much better job when I am not being watched with a skeptical eye).

After work on Friday we headed to Alamo for a burger and fries at Tower Burger… After months of weight-watching, this was a real treat!

Saturday night was a great night for bingo, and try as we might, we couldn’t get Ken to join us! I ended up standing in line for an hour to buy our cards, and due to my lack of speaking Spanish, I almost fell in with an unruly mob who were not happy about the way things were being run. Good thing I distanced myself just before management threatened to call security. Seems they don’t take kindly to someone threatening to “pull grandma up here by her hair”, lol.

Instead of taking three tours with us on Sunday, Cori struck out on her own with a trail map and did some hiking, as well as climbing stairs to the top of the 40′ observation tower.

By Monday, we were ready for some time off. Armed with our passports and cash in our pockets, we headed to Progresso, Mexico. That was a fun and interesting time. No one checked us as we crossed the international bridge and entered Mexico. The first person I saw was a militia soldier at his truck, and then we crossed the street to see sidewalk vendors lining both sides of the road for a few blocks. Many of the stores were dentists and pharmacies, and there were plenty of hawkers calling out to us as we walked along the sidewalk.

We went into a large store and marveled at the beautiful pewter and hand painted pottery. They also had Mexican clothing, toys, and food items. After purchasing a few items there, we ventured back out to the sidewalk vendors and bought a few more things. It’s difficult to buy from a vendor there because the booths literally touch one another and they are very competitive salespeople. If you seem slightly interested in something, they will pursue you and try to make a deal.

Eventually, we found Arturo’s Restaurant, which was recommended to us. Lunch was good, but the little margaritas were really good! A little more shopping after lunch turned up a woman selling homemade churros (fried pastry covered in cinnamon sugar). While putting away her change, Cori finds herself in the middle of a tussle between a couple of fierce 5-year olds who were battling it out to see who would get money in their cup. I tried asking them not to fight, but the only way to end the pushing was to give each of them a quarter, even if that meant we wouldn’t have a quarter for the turnstile to get back to the US. Thankfully, I found enough quarters and we all got out safely, lol. Just walking back across the bridge was sad though, as many were begging from outside the enclosure. Overall, it was a good experience and I’m glad we shared it with Cori. Next, we were going to the flea market, but it is closed on Mondays so we went over to Estero Llano Grande State Park. It was too hot to walk around, and the gift shop was disappointing, so we made it a short visit. To get out of the heat we went to the movies and saw Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Tuesday came too soon and our visitor took her luggage and totes filled with goodies from Mexico and left us. I felt like I should go back to St. Louis with Cori just to help with those heavy bags. 😉

To say that we miss Cori and everyone back home is an understatement… It is almost worse now that we had that little visit, but I’m very glad she was here with us.

Speaking of leaving, March is the time that nearly all of the volunteers will leave here to go back home, or move on to their next destination… All except for us and one other couple… Tram operations do not end until April 30th, so we are here until then. As such, we will literally be the last volunteer couple to leave here on May 1st. I am a little envious of those leaving this month, but what’s one more since we’ve already been here nearly six months! More about our May 1st plans when I post again… I will stop here for now with some pictures of our recent escapades!

Peace, love, and may God bless.

Dorothy & Ken

 

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Tram tour visitors at the Rio Grande looking across at Mexico
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Our gift for helping out at the Nature Store
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Turkey Vulture
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Ken doing maintenance on our pre-tram check
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Chachalaca
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Altamira Oriole
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Cardinal
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Volunteer dinner at Willey’s BBQ
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Pappadeaux Seafood Restaurant – somebody (not us) ordered the King of the Tank 😳
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Old Hidalgo Pumphouse smokestack
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Don’t think I want to manually open this gate!
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Border fence at Old Hidalgo Pumphouse
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Hot day (90+), but very pretty.
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Cori and Ken – see the Big Ass Fan(s) box?
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Just us girls having a good time!
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Estero Llano Grande State Park
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Estero Llano Grande SP
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Tram tour visitors at the Rio Grande looking across at Mexico
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Coronas and margaritas… Something for everyone!
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The streets of Progreso, Mexico
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The streets of Progreso, Mexico
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Shopping in Progreso
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Stocking red peppers
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The sidewalk vendors in Progreso, Mexico
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Roasting ears of corn on the street corner in Progreso, Mexico
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The streets of Progreso, Mexico
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The Militia
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Crossing the International Bridge into Progreso, Mexico
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Crossing the International Bridge into Progreso, Mexico
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Turkey Vultures

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Picking onions
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Mushrooms
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Collared Peccary – also known as Javelina or “musk hog”
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Great Egret
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Bobcat scat
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Border Patrol at Santa Ana
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Ken at the old headquarters location of the Alamo Land and Sugar Company
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Visitors moved from front car to avoid the diesel noise!
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Good hike! We walked 4.5 miles of trails 😀

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Cheers!

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