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Nominal Me

I'm falling in love with my camera and taking photos everywhere I go. That, combined with my passions for politics, sports, religion and other things we all agree on, makes this blog persist.

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Location: Astoria, New York, United States

I'm born in Manhattan and raised in Queens.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Walking The US-Mexico Border

Perhaps the most genuine experience of my recent travels was walking over the U.S.-Mexican border from El Paso to Juarez taking the Juárez bridge. This is not a tourist experience, and I was the only white boy doing it. With light skin and blue eyes, and probably some of the clothes I was wearing, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

Priorities and economics come to play at the border. One can make certain assumptions based on what I saw as I was walking by: a steady stream of Mexicans walking from El Paso over the bridge and halted traffic coming in from Juarez.

In fact, other than a Mexican border agent asking me for 35 cents to cross the bridge, there were no questions asked when getting into Juarez.

On the other hand, every person in every car entering the United States seemed questioned on their intentions.

I had some good photos of this phenomenon, but the border agents on the U.S. side made me delete them. It is apparently illegal to take pictures of the bridge, although the agents of Estados Unidos seemed to be the only ones worried about it.

This is the best I can give you as far as photos of the bridge, which I took from my camera phone. The digital camera's images that I had used were all wiped out.

It is quite a contrast: palm trees and barbed wire. It is the duo logy of images this border bridge provides.

The bridge allows both cars and foot traffic. One side, the left on this photo, seems run by the Mexicans and the right seems run by the United States.

Everything is pretty easy as you get to this point.

But then you cross the line into the U.S.A. I did this walk twice, and both times I was met with suspicion by the U.S. border agents. The fact that I was alone, did not take a trolley, and had not purchased anything, seemed to confuse them. Questions included "why did you come here?"; "Are you on business?"; "Did you take any pictures of the bridge?"; and "What were you doing in Mexico?" pretty much filled the bill. The scrutiny I received on both of my re-entries into the country were more detailed than those around me. I do not think it was by random chance.

The experience taught me a few things: one of which is that American tourists are expected to follow a certain path. It may have to do with crime in the area, or just the oddity of an American walking over the border. Needless to say however, the U.S. is much more concerned about who comes north than Mexico is about who comes south.

Leaving the U.S. was a lot easier than coming back.

Looks like the "fence around the U.S." movement is growing.

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