Winter Time in the Rio Grande Valley, a few gray days but usually sunshine. The landscape changes rapidly as you head into Mexico; the earth itself seems like it becomes drier and more desert like. Where there is not crumbling concrete and pavement, there is caliche then dirt or native rock or rubble. Lawns and green spaces are not a priority there. Water is at a premium, or at least it’s not something anyone wants to spend a lot of money on. The green here is from the cactus, the ubiquitous prickly pear, both pest and provider of provenance.
There has been a drought that has covered not just the Rio Grande Valley but Northern Mexico and Texas for some time now. I don’t know if it’s worse in Mexico, but it certainly looks worse.
Mexico has figured large in your average border citizens affordable health care plan, long before Obama Care, or Obama himself was ever heard of. Cheap prescriptions and care, as well as supplements all figure into the equation of Border Available Health Care. B12 shots can, for example be had for just $10.00. And this includes the injection administered by a health care professional, if not the doctor herself. Or someone in a white coat. Now that says health professional to me. No prescription is needed and this is the good stuff with not just the B12 but auxiliary B Vitamins as well. And from what I understand, the injection is much stronger than what is available North of the Border. Many things are much cheaper and sometimes much better…
Other examples are antibiotics. Much less expensive, and although the rules have changed, and a Mexican prescription (or receta) is needed, the endless creativity of “La Raza” saves the day. In minutes a runner will literally run down the street to a doctor that the pharmacy has a deal with and will be back shortly with the merchandise and a prescription; no examination of your person required.
So there are many excellent reasons to visit Mexico for medical and dental purposes. This one day I was in pursuit of medicine for a client in Mid December when I crossed the Rio Grande to Nuevo Progreso one Sunday morning. Two things of note here are that there were locals and others from upstate Texas enjoying the weekend in the Rio Grande Valley, but few Winter Texans. But after all, why should they come on a Sunday morning? They have all week to do that.
The other thing of note was that the Military had bugged out. Las Marinas were gone. Why they were there so long before remains a mystery. But just like Homeland Security here much of what Mexican Officialdom does falls under the title of “Border Security Theatre.” I know where some of them moved to. Perhaps to an even more puzzling locale; just down the river. More on that later.
I had heard of a powder from a controlled diabetic; a retired Mexican Cowboy from Monterey at the indoor flea market in Weslaco, Texas. So I decided to go for it. A pleasant jaunt across the border was all it would take. The substance in question is made from the tropical mangosteen fruit that purportedly has amazing powers to lower blood sugar for diabetics. It is called Simiango. The name comes from the pharmacy chain in Mexico that caters to poor people. It’s called Farmacias Similares.
It also has locations in much of Latin America, but it originated in Mexico. Products are very inexpensive, and the drugs themselves are at times not even generic. They are similar, hence the name Farmacia Similares.
They also have herbal preparations as well, very low priced. Top of the line, organic and raised in a pristine environment? They probably aren’t, but I believe in many cases they will get the job done. They have medical consultation in Nuevo Progreso for just $3.50.
Farmacia Similares has their critics, but you can’t beat the price. They are about five blocks from the bridge on the right in Nuevo Progreso. However on the way to the pharmacy I was diverted by a pair of snow white tigers.
Siberian, or the hybrid white tigers, whichever, they were, were huge, the size of small ponies and each one must have weighed in at 700 to 800 pounds. The circus had come to town and they were being hauled through downtown to promote the show. They parked on the street and people got very close. (I was one). They were very well fed and obviously not hungry so they totally ignored all the rubber neckers. It wasn’t something you would see on the other side of the River.
By the way, I think the Simiango did help some. Here’s a link to an article on Simiango:
Born in Houston, Texas and moved to Raymondvile, Texas in 1969. Family bought a radio station and helped with the family business until it was sold in 1997. Since then started an agency and mostly writes about experiences in Deep South Texas. Writers of the Rio Grande founder, editor and contributing author.