arizona-sonora border crossing in the early 90s

From ’92 to ’94, Brian and I lived in Tempe, Arizona. Sometimes we liked an adventure drive (about three hours) to the US/Mexico border to eat and go shopping. The scenery was beautiful, and the drive was partly through Native American lands, about which I had curiosity.

We usually went to Lukeville, AZ/Sonoyta, Sonora. The border crossing back and forth was easy, I suspect because we presented a certain “appearance,” plus the real checkpoints were set back a ways on both sides of the border. We would park on the US side and just walk over, though one time we just drove the car, no problem. The divided cities were a sort of a free zone.

Both the US and Mexican sides were sleepy, just a few agents outdoors on stools asking an occasional question of the passersby. We crossed over with a friend from Germany one time, and on the way back into the US, the customs agent said, “Hey Germany, I just need to see your ID.” We were startled that the agent knew.

We’d eat, shop, then head back to Tempe. I bought this objet d’art (obra de arte) on one of those border trips. It still hangs on a wall in our house after all these years.

In spite of the relaxed sleepiness of this small border crossing, we heard stories that if you gave a ride to someone into Arizona, somehow “they” knew, and all hell would break loose.

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