Go alone or with a partner, but go. Make friends along the way. Enjoy the people and the places for what they are, not what you want them to be. Travel outside your comfort zones and you will extend your spheres of influence. Become a part of the places you visit and you will always be there, even when you return home.

Like the elk at the Yellowstone National Park visitor's center, we can only visit, nibble, leave our mark, and move on.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Itinerant's Itinerary:  Nogales, Arizona/Mexico

     Nogales is a busy crossing town, since I-19 brings commercial trucking and vehicles north and south across the Arizona-Mexico border.  But you can still walk across the border, so I joined hundreds of other pedestrians who crossed on foot.  On the Arizona side, the main street to the border is lined with shops selling cheap shoes, baby clothes, and costume jewelry.  
Street leading to Nogales border lined with shops
Nogales AZ border shop with inexpensive goods

     On the Mexican side, the street is lines with farmacias, pharmacies selling name brand drugs that would require a prescription a hundred yards away in Arizona.  
Farmacia Plaza lined on both sides with nothing but pharmacies
One of the pharmacies in Farmacia Plaza

     Thousands of U.S citizens cross the border each year to buy their prescription drugs in Mexico, since the costs can be significantly less.  I saw medicines for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux, and impotence all on sale along the Farmacia Plaza, at prices less than half of what they go for in the U.S.  
Drugs to help your love life

     A decade ago, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration survey found that 46 percent of Americans returning with medication from Mexico were 51 years or older and that they most commonly bought antibiotics, as well as drugs for diabetes, estrogen replacement, arthritis, impotence and pain.  Americans with chronic ailments particularly have a hard time paying for their medicines.
     Anyone living in the U.S. knows that our health care costs are out of control and prescription drug costs are skyrocketing.  Medicare part D, the prescription drug benefit, gave some relief to seniors, but people under 65 still struggle to pay for medications, even if they have health insurance.
     Many Mexicans who cross into the U.S. look for cheap consumer goods, and opportunities for work.  Many U.S. citizens who cross into Mexico look for cheap prescription drugs.  These facts say much more about us in the U.S. than about our neighbors to the south.

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