24 March 2008

Mission / Nogales Trip Fantastic

nogales_oasis_group
Check out my flickr set for all the photos!

Jane and I have been happy the last couple days to help entertain the photographer guests of our neighbors and friends Matt and Rosanna. Marie, from Paris, Oliff and Katherine from Norway are some adventurous souls for sure. And alot of fun. And all very accomplished.

The mission today was to visit Tucson's oldest attraction, the San Xavier Mission Church and the city of Nogales on Mexico side.

The "Mission" was the 18th century Franciscan version of a European cathedral made of local materials like adobe. The architecture is imposing and regionally affected but the decoration and sculpture is on the whole a naive version of what could be found in Europe at the time giving it a homey and hand-made feel.

Nogales is the border town closest to Tucson about 50 miles south. The US side is pretty small but the Mexico side is probably 3-400,000 strong. Nogales has a lot of economy based on tourist trade. I think the confusion about homeland security and proper identification to re-enter the US must have had some kind of effect on Nogales. There have been some closures of restaurants and bars that used to be there. At the present time, you officially need a drivers license and birth certificate to get back although Matt was able to cross back with just a drivers license. In early 2009, all will be required to have a passport.

Shopping is great in Nogales. I'm a fan of the Mexican shoe company "Flexi." Now I have two pairs. Leather... There is a tourist area surrounding the border that involves tons of shop-keepers and street vendors hawking thier goods and aggressively trying to get your attention. If you walk out of this area, you find a calm, polite and friendly town. The food is incredible! Very cheap! Jane and I led the group to our favorite restaurant discovery, "The Oasis." Just simply the best! Seafood is fresh because it's shipped in daily from the Sea of Cortez. At least for me, the biggest attraction to Nogales is the food!

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