February 6th, 2013

I had an appointment with Dr. Rubio in Alogodones, MX for 8 AM. We had never been to Algodones

Algodones... Dentist Anyone?

before and weren't exactly sure what we were in for. We drove the 2.2 miles from the casino to the Quechan parking lot just outside the border. $7 to park the RV all day and just walk across the border. After my appointment, I was depressed, as it wasn't good news. I had to have another 

tooth pulled. I had been having problems with a root canal I got a couple of years ago, but couldn't afford to fix. I was getting lumps under my jaw below the tooth. I didn't really care for Dr. Rubio's staff. The receptionists were all late and had a hard time getting their computers up. We were all a bit agitated by the time they started seeing patients. Also, the dentist and the dental tech. barely spoke to each other. She was just standing around, not being very helpful. Then when we tried to pin down a quote for the work we'd need done, we couldn't get a straight answer on root canals and crowns for Sam. They said that was done at their “other” office. Whatever..

Before we left the office, Sam found out where to go get something to eat, so we headed down the street to the Purple Pharmacia. We grabbed a couple of breakfast burritos and headed outside. We were standing on the sidewalk, when a man in an orange vest asked if we were looking for a dentist. We said “no, just looking for a place to sit and eat”. He pointed across the street to some tables in the sun and said “go sit next to that guy, he's a good guy”. We looked over and saw a bristly old man sitting in jeans, a camo jacket and sun hat.

John, Sam & me

We went over and he graciously shared his table. Our first real interaction with him was when I spilled some burrito on me and he handed Sam his water bottle to water on the stain. We ended up talking and found out he is an American who lives just on the other side of the border and comes over to Algodones nearly every day. They all know him over there and have adopted him.

John is a vietnam vet who is, technically, homeless. He has an RV and a couple of trailers for storage. He lives under the trees off the main road to the border and drives a gas powered bicycle. I have not been over to his spot, but he has told us stories about the 20 or so feral cats and the killer bees who chase him. The cats come and go and they are his friends. He is lonely, but Algodones gives him a place to go and extended family to talk to. We've been hanging out with him for nearly 3 weeks now. He has taken us under his wing and showed us all his favorite places to eat, grocery stores, etc. We got a very fast lesson on the lay of the land and have met many people we otherwise wouldn't have met. He is very sweet, but has health issues and not a lot of means to deal with them. He has a dream of moving to Mexico, down near San Felipe. He just wants to live near the beach and be free. He is encumbered by the things he has collected over the years and has no way to move it all, yet is reluctant to let it go. He also needs people to caravan down with him. We, sadly, are not those people. If I had means, I would do it just to get him there, but I don't.

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