…Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. I’ve walked across this bridge before.

For the second time in my life, I find myself in Nuevo Laredo. The last time I went across with cash and and bought a wooden chest to give to an Australian as a gift. I couldn’t begin to tell you which store it was from. No doubt that place is long gone since then. Then again, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I remember this park and a few of these cross streets still have the same painted ads on the walls that they had the first time, over twenty years ago.

I popped down a side street to grab my quarry. Across the narrow street from this shop is an iron fence and near it is a pulga, a cute name for a nano. There were muggles all over the place (fun fact: the Spanish translation of Harry Potter uses the word “muggle” also), but nobody cared. I mean it was amazing how little anybody cared. I could probably walk up the street in a bear suit and the only thought people would have would be “Isn’t that thing hot?” I found my pulga, signed and returned and set off again. Back up the main boulevard, with its shops and stalls and salesmen hawking their wares (though one of them offered to sell me painkillers so that was different).

I paid to get back on the bridge (it costs a dollar to leave the US, but only a quarter to go back) and was soon on the soil of home again. I had been to all four Mexican States that border Texas. Go me. Back to the car and back on the road, I looked at the clock. I had left much later in the day than I usually would have. Any other trip, I would have left early enough to make it to the first destination by sunrise. Today, I had left Austin around 11 AM. I had the feeling that, with two border crossings and shortening days, I might not have enough time to do everything I wanted to get done so I decided to take two days and just kick back and take it easy. I set off to be able to get to one more courthouse before the sun went down. So once again I headed on down the road until I stopped in…

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