Saturday, February 28

Written Friday, February 27th, 2004
Incredibly busy and interesting week! Tuesday we went back to the zoo, this time with Bill and Jo. I was able to take the pictures I had lost before in addition to some new ones. We stopped by the nursery and they were caring for a 6 day old gorilla. See pictures at Webshots. And then this morning on the news they announce that another new one was born. It was a good day at the zoo.
Bike day was wonderful though windy. We rode ten miles and a few of them were a challenge. Some days are like that. Next week the plan is to ride in Mexico. We will cross the border on the hand pulled ferry and ride in the vicinity of Los Elbanos, Mexico. We are taking a sack lunch because no one is sure the little restaurant over there is still in operation. It should be an interesting day.
Yesterday was a very big day. We traveled into Mexico with our excellent guides Marge and Dave Scott. We left the park at 7:00 AM and headed west.
We stopped at Rio Grande City, TX for quick tours of the former Fort Ringgold (now a school), a Catholic Church and grotto, and La Borde House, which is on the National register of historic sites. See Pictures at Webshots.
Next we stopped at Roma, TX. The small town of Roma is working at getting many buildings restored. We stopped at an observation deck overlooking the Rio Grande river valley and the Mexican town of Alleman. We enjoyed a conversation with a border patrolman who happened to be patrolling about a half block from the observation deck. He told us that with their infrared lights they could watch the parade of illegals come across the river where we were because the water is only ankle deep at that location. They had apprehended 580 last week but the work is never ending and pretty much unstoppable. When the people of Mexico make about $200 annually and they can come here and work for minimum wage and make about $200 a week it is very understandable why it happens. He says his relatives in Mexico think he has a ?dirty? job but he looks at it as a secure job that supports his 8 year old daughter. He didn?t hold any animosity for the people trying to cross. It was interesting.
We crossed the border into Mexico at Falcon Lake Dam entering New Guerrera for lunch and a tour of the town. Our lunch was a plate of Mexican food of the authentic variety. It was very good but not a favorite of mine. By that I mean that I enjoyed but I am not itching to go back for more. After lunch we toured the town and an area that was intended to be a high-class resort on the Falcon Lake, Mexican side. It seems there were some irresolvable problems with Mexican officials involving money therefore the builders abandoned it. It was going to be beautiful and you can still see the vision of what was not to be. It sounds a little low class but there were many walls and walkways fashioned from concrete and old car batteries. They are holding up well and look great even with the weeds growing up in them but the dream of the resort has a lingering impact.
New Guerrera was developed for an interesting reason. The Mexican town of Old Geurrera, population 25,000, was in jeopardy because of the Falcon Dam. Thus it was abandoned. Then Mother Nature stepped in with a major hurricane in 1953 and the town of Old Guerrera was submerged for 40 years. Drought and low levels of Falcon Lake has once again revealed the town and that was our destination. Mexican highway 2 takes us to the turnoff where we have 8.4 miles of very rough road, so rough in fact that it takes an hour to traverse it. The road itself is made up of rock, bedrock and ruts and slow is the only way to go.
Once there the ruins are fascinating and my imagination took flight about the people who once lived there. Buildings are still there, some of them intact. The cobbled streets are clearly defined. A city of 25,000 people that has been abandoned brings many questions to mind with little chance for answers. It was an elegant city and that is still very evident.
We returned home at 7:30 PM. It was along and memorable day and I took many pictures. I am working on getting the pictures and their explanations prepared for posting but you will need to check in at Webshots once in a while because it will be an ongoing process.

Monday, February 23

Written Monday, February 23, 2004
Saturday was a big day. It started off with the raucous wild parrots landing in and near a tree outside our bedroom window so I grabbed my camera and took as many shots as I could before they took off. This was very early in the morning so it was fortunate that I was dressed. The Rio Grande Valley, Weslaco area in particular is the only place in the country these parrots can be seen. They used to land in the park regularly but it has been quite a while since they had done so.
The oddest part of the parrot incident is that I had a dream that I missed an opportunity to get photos of them because I didn't have my camera with me. I had told Butch about my dream less than a half hour BEFORE their arrival. 'Splain that one!
After that big excitement we went with Dave and Marge Scott to a rededication of Iwo Jima Monument at the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen. The statue of the famous monument is the original with a copy of it being in the Arlington Cemetery near Washington D.C. There were several Iwo Jima battle survivors attending the annual ceremony. It was a moving experience.
Following lunch we went to the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville. We hadn't been there for at least ten years and it is much improved. I took a ton of photos and ran out of room on my memory cards. In my attempt to delete some unwanted shots I erased an entire card of photos losing half my zoo pictures and all the rededication photos. I will be buying a bigger memory card. I must admit it is the first time experiencing three photo events in one day. Oh well...back to the zoo! And the Iwo Jima Monument. At least they aren't going anywhere!