Showing my friend around the Rio Grande Valley

LOCATION: At our tiny house in Retama Village, Mission, Texas
WEATHER: Cool – 65 and cloudy

We took my friend Nancy to a different part of the Rio Grande Valley, this time to the west. It is much less developed than the area between Mission and South Padre Island.We drove through a lot of towns with billboards all in Spanish. Unfortunately, a lot of poverty. Our first stop was a bird sanctuary. A husband and wife live in their RV, volunteering to feed birds on some public land, and host birdwatchers all day.

The birds are really impressive. Some live here year ’round; others are migratory.

The sanctuary is in a tiny village that looks more like Mexico than the US. It is within a few feet of the river. The town is old, and has a big, colorful cemetery.

For lunch, we stopped in a very traditional Mexican restaurant – the kind I love where the wait staff don’t speak English. Nancy ordered the buffet so she could try some unusual foods – cactus and goat, as an example. We shared a molcajete – the dish that is used as a mortar full of meat, chicken, shrimp, onions, potatoes, topped with avocado.

On our way home, we crossed over to Mexico on a very primitive rope ferry. The guardhouse and pay station was basic.

The guard shack was quite primitive.

We even helped pull the ferry across the river

Three cars can fit on the ferry, and the entrance on/off the ferry was just a dirt road

Then, only a mile from our house, we showed Nancy parts of the government wall

DINNER: Santa Fe chicken pizza. On a pizza crust, I slathered on some taco sauce, then I layered on grilled onions, peppers, and chicken pieces on top. All covered by shredded cheese. Pretty tasty.

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