Well, Nogales was not awash in festivities. We saw one Mexican flag as we crossed the border and that was it. There weren't even any to buy in the shops. People on the street asked us if we were Mexican since we were wearing our little flags that I had printed off my computer. "No," we would answer, "these are because it is Flag Day!" Blank stare. "YOUR Flag Day--Dia Bandera or something like that. You know--FLAG Day."
It was just embarrassing enough that we kept the flags pinned on. Some people figured it out but you could tell they thought it was sort of a sweet gesture from a couple crazy women. One man said that the flag wasn't his--it was the politicians' and that maybe THEY were celebrating Flag Day but no one he knew was doing anything special. Ah, another reason for feeling unity with our Mexican neighbors.
There were few tourists for the shopkeepers to invite into their stores. In spite of a plea on Tucson television from Nogales, Sonora's, well-spoken mayor, rumors of the dangers of visiting Mexico have managed to seriously impact tourism. The argument that any city is dangerous, U.S. or Mexican, if you go to the wrong areas has not seemed to be convincing. The mood on the street was subdued. Music emanated only from vehicles as they passed, and most of them were silent. It is noisier in Naco. We were disappointed.
We mainly visited shops with which Theo was familiar. She and her family go to Nogales frequently; a favorite stop is this metal shop on the left. It's upstairs from the street and is the equal of any little stateside gallery that carries similar things. I'll go back when I visit next.
Back to Flag Day...on our return to the border, one last street hawker attempted to attract our attention and, somewhat drunkenly, commented on our flags. Our explanation elicited an "AH, I always have my flag with me," and the man pulled up his shirt to reveal an eagle, perched on a cactus, devouring a serpent (the centerpiece of the Mexican flag and the country's emblem). I laughed and turned to leave, then turned back. "WAIT!" I exclaimed, "I have to have a picture of that."
"One more shot..." I said as I clicked again.
"TWO dollars!" was his muffled reply.
I hope you all appreciate my investment.
The best birthday today is that of Betty Hutton (1921, Battle Creek, MI). Now there is a woman who is a survivor against all odds.