It was a 3 hour trip each way, but we visited Nogales, Mexico with Jesus. Well, not Jesus actually, but Jesús Celaya. Jesús is associate director of Hispanic Ministries here at the church in Mesa, and was actually born and raised (until he was 11) on the Mexican side of the border before moving to the American side.
It was fascinating talking to Jesús about Hispanic culture and his groundlaying work for a new Hispanic church plant in Mesa--He's only been in this position at the church for three months. While we were in Nogales he pointed out the area where he lived (high up on a hill) and the Catholic church where he served as an altar boy.
I asked Jesús why it was so common for families to name their children after Jesus. He explained that families thought having a child in the family named Jesus offered some sort of spiritual protection. Often, it's the firstborn, but Jesús laughed and said he had no idea why it took his parents until the 9th child to do so!
We ate taquitos (little tacos; any word ending with 'ito' mean 'little' -- something Jesús taught us on the day) once we got there in a little hole-in-the-wall place. We wondered the shops and EVERY shopkeeper asked us to come in and take a look at their goods. And if we passed them and came by half-an-hour later they asked again! Some would say, "Come and buy some of our Mexican junk, please. It is a very good price."
Lunch was at the El Hacienda, similarly good and cheap. And it was on Jesús!
Would I go again? Well, I thought this might be a research trip to go again when my parents visit in a couple of weeks, but I don't think they would enjoy it--too much walking and too touristy--just knick knacks and such. Great to visit for a day, but even better to chat with Jesús, Nancy, Melissa on the journey there and back.