A Look Around the LTVA
I’ve been surprisingly busy ever since arriving here to the Imperial Dam LTVA. Much time was consumed scouting for grocery stores that carry what I need, because Yuma is actually huge in layout. I’ve been ordering items online that are not available locally, and it took two trips to Los Algodones, Mexico to get a year’s worth of a prescription that has proven helpful.
Mexico?? Yep, lots of folks head for a couple of towns just across the border for prescriptions and dental work. You yourself might shiver at the idea of either, but the actual results for dental seem to be on a par with the U.S. in all respects. And, the medications are “real”, unlike Internet spam and scams. I happen to have lucked out with a superb dentist back in my home base, but in an emergency, I’d take the plunge in Los Algodones for 1/4-1/3 of the price here. A simple cleaning here is about $30 versus the $190 back home. The great majority of shops here specialize in some form of heavy lifting, be it implants or crowns. My Rx is not real sophisticated, and the cost difference drops it from $25/month to $6.40. That’s handy when you don’t have any health insurance or income. Of course, it takes expensive fuel to get down to the Yuma area for access to Los Algodones, but the kicker is that there’s no need for me to pay my doctor $120-$190 for a visit to write the script. Once you go across the border, you just tell ’em what you need, and they reach for the shelf. The U.S. customs inspectors won’t knowingly allow more than 3 month’s worth per day’s visit, but that just means you walk on over the next day for more.
Los Algodones deserves its own post complete with colorful photos, but it’s not getting it. What most visitors seem to enjoy or think nothing of, I didn’t care for. Technically, you’re at least as safe wandering the 5 blocks of Los Algodones as you are in any American town or city, perhaps safer. The drug cartels and the lawlessness they breed are held at bay here, possibly because the town makes for a fairly useless border crossing point or area worth battling over. But I didn’t wander the town, simply because of the aura. Wherever you are, there are men shouting to get your attention and direct you into a store or shop. It’s just one of my personal quirks that multiple people shouting at me to steer me this way or that, well, I don’t find that relaxing or ignore-able. It merely makes me want to get my business done and get the hell out. But that’s just me. You might enjoy it.
I was going to try to at least look around a bit on visit two, but for some reason Mexican army troops were out in force in the area, particularly monitoring vehicles in line to cross into the U.S. They were all nicely armed, and I had the feeling that they would not appreciate a holiday snap being taken of them by anyone. Between that, the directed yelling, and the evidence of crushing poverty here and there, I had enough warning signals going off in my head that a prompt return seemed like a sound idea. See, I’m not known for my street smarts or ability to read into situations, to put it mildly. Historically, I tend to unknowingly place myself into the path of risk. Not the best direction to err. So, I figure that if I hear the warning bells, rightly or wrongly, there are just two most-likely possibilities. Either I’m in a situation that is actually quite safe, but that I find disconcerting or, my warning alarms are going off late, and the situation is actually significantly worse that I’m perceiving it to be. In either case, the enjoyment potential is zero. Exit, stage left.