Right now, I am starting to plan for another jaunt back down to the Quinta, where a stay of a little more than two weeks is anticipated. We have a couple of clients coming down....one Mexican couple, I think from Mexico City, and another couple who are birdwatchers from up north.
My to-do list is pretty much done. While finishing the various bits of shopping that must be done, it dawned on me that our readers might be interested in the reality of going back to the border as it pertains to "special shopping realities".
Alvaro's brother-in-law, Efrain, who is a very helpful and competent personality came to the Quinta two days before my departure this time, and gave me 200 American dollars and asked me to buy him a new Stihl weed-eater. A couple of days before, my neighbours, who were staying at the Quinta while they supervise the beginning of construction of their new house next door, asked me to buy some Excedrin Migraine, and they gave me five one-dollar bills.
Taking last first, the neighbours are very well-to-do and cosmopolitan, and they have the most luxurious HEB grocery store in North America just 10 blocks away from their home in San Pedro de Garza Garcia, the most wealthy city per capita in all of Latin America. That HEB has a huge pharmacy, both for prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies.
Both these parties are from different strata, one urbane and sophisticated and the other rustic and traditional....both parties being what they are by their own preference. BUT, they share the notion that if something is bought in the United States of America....and more especially in Texas...that it will be better and cheaper. It must not be bought unless it is clearly stamped "Made in America".
In any regard, I finally found out that Stihl no longer markets around here anything labelled "Stihl". It is a German company and they have established a completely independent subsidiary under the trade name of ECHO in the United States....and these products are the "sons" of Stihl, but American made. I struck out then to find professionals using the these weed-eaters....around commercial buildings, cemeteries, etc. and had some success in learning that the ECHO weed-eaters are very highly regarded. They rev higher...up to 12,000 and 13,000 RPM's. BUT, they require a slightly lighter oil additive...MANDATORY!
In any regard I bought one medium heavy duty ECHO weed-eater for Efrain, with a no-extra-cost 5 year warranty, along with the appropriate plasti-string, and now hope that it will be what he is expecting when I arrive.
It was 185.00 with the tax, oil, and 095 string. Then, I searched out the Excedrin and found two boxes of 24 tablets each on a "buy two and take a dollar off" deal. That was a total of four dollars.
Now, here is the point of this whole thing. It is difficult to judge what the actual amount of cross-border trade is between Mexico and the United States, because these purchases are NOT calculated into the statistical mix. Mexicans who come and go each day and who come and go over a period of an extended stay almost always go back with the 300 dollars/person daily personal import limit. Sometimes they have errand-gringos to do their shopping for them. Pretty much the same thing exists for Gringos coming back from Mexico with junk, Tequila, fine handcrafts, dental work, etc. These things are not put into the regular governmental calculations of cross border economic activity. Such above-mentioned things can only be estimated.
Mexico and Canada are the two biggest trading partners of the United States, and visa-versa, especially when it is considered that these "daily billions" on both borders cannot be estimated. This considered, these two trading partners become even more important in the mix of North American economic power. I am pretty much a free-trader....and would probably be an unbridled free trader if we could prohibit the import of anything made in Red China...and the export to the same country. American industrialists are fooling themselves if they think Red China is any sort of "trading partner" much less an "ally".
Red China is the one country where the communist party leadership pretty much sees my grandchildren as organ donors for the children of the communist party leadership. But that is another story.