Ojinaga – Shopping Day in OJ

Lots of Big Bend locals go to Ojinaga (OJ) regularly to shop and eat, go to the doctor, buy prescription drugs, get their shoes fixed… it’s a great resource.

I’ve lived down here over 2 years and I’ve only been once. I’ve got a passport- I think my reticence was that it’s different, strange. I don’t speak Spanish. Crossing back into the U.S. is irritating. And… aren’t there dangerous cartels in Mexico?

OJ is about an hour and a quarter drive to the West of Terlingua.  Today, I rode with a buddy who was going shopping and to the dentist.  It was a blast and a breeze.

The dollar is strong in Mexico:  1 dollar = 16 pesos.  I don’t think in base 16, so I flipped the equation: 100 pesos = $6.25. For some reason that made it easier for me to compare prices.

Getting pesos.
Getting pesos.

Our deal was that I’d buy our meals, and my buddy would drive and show me around. First stop was at the street vendor who sells shrimp cocktails. Because so many of the bank executives in OJ are from Sinaloa on the coast, they’ve arranged for fresh seafood to be delivered daily.

Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp Cocktail

You can click on the picture below to see it larger. Check out the prices on the menu.

Menu
Menu

We went by the bakery. Tempting breads and pastries cooked in a wood-fire oven daily. Then, across the street to the fruteria – a small fruit and veggie shop. They also sell cheese made by the Mennonite farmers nearby.

fruteria
fruteria

As we walked through the plaza, we checked out the new construction. They’ve torn down the old garrison and are making a gathering place. It’s gonna be real nice.

New construction
New construction
Ojinaga
Ojinaga

Then it was time for lunch. Two “Mexican Dinners,” fresh guacamole, chips and salsa.  About $12, counting 20% tip.

lunch
lunch

We have a couple of “grandmother” chairs that need to be reupholstered, so we checked out the upholstery shop. You pick out your fabric, and the shop-owner goes to Chihuahua City to get it. A couple of weeks later, you come back and your job is done.

fabric
fabric

Then to the supermarket. It’s clean and looks like an up-scale market here in the U.S.  Except for the prices.

I walked down every aisle, and marveled. I’d decided to not by anything, but I couldn’t pass up a quart of fresh-squeezed orange and carrot juice for a little less than $3. I also bought a package of corn tortillas for fifty cents.

Next time I go, I’m taking a cooler and stocking up. Mexican produce is fresher than anything we can get here, and mostly locally grown, and the selection is huge. I saw some very exotic squashes, many different kinds of peppers, and row after row of colorful fruits and veggies.

We don’t eat much meat, but we do enjoy it occasionally. We’ll be importing our meat from OJ from now on. On average, it costs about 35% of what it costs here. And, Mexican meat is fresh and produced locally without antibiotics, growth hormones, etc.

I was fascinated by the herberia. In addition to some nutritional supplements and Tiger Balm, they had some wild stuff. Peyote cream, Virgin Mary eau de toilette, aerosol sprays to keep demons away, perfumes to help you find a lover…

oj9 oj10 oj11 oj12

Bottom line?  Just go.

Ojinaga is a relaxed border town that is easy to get around in. It’s a tremendously useful resource that can save you a trip to Odessa – and if you have to choose between driving river road or driving to Odessa, it’s really not a hard choice.

 

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