Novacaine is a hell of a drug.

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Riding down 6th Ave any morning, you can find a shuttle to Nogales for $12. Walking across the border, you can find a dentist that can help you the same day. Bad teeth can be such a nightmare. While waiting for your appointment you can find an open air liquor store and find a nice bottle of Anejo for $25 US. This is South Nogales, not right by the border. You can take the .50c bus back to Centro and walk around, reveling in relief from the loss of your bad tooth. An offer of a shoe shine may take place if you’re wearing shoes, and if you need new heels, you can get them done at a place like this:

50 years of shoe repair here.  Sidis on shelf (not mine)
50 years of shoe repair here. Sidis on shelf (not mine)
Beer!  Now cheaper than gas!
Beer! Now cheaper than gas!

You can peruse more shops for trinkets if you want, or find the amazing selection of Tequila and Mescal at this place, called Rodeo or El Rancho, or something like that. Is this the perpetual sale on Kahlua?

Real class, I would surmise.
Real class, I would surmise.

Note that you can only bring one bottle of tequila back into the states under current law.
There is a more relaxed atmosphere in this small border city than on 4th ave, where it is illegal to sit on the street. It’s free and easy to just sit and lean against a wall, and take in what you see around you.

Nogales Storefront

Contemplate the decaying advertisement, the recurrence, the historic allegations here. Peaceful.

If some coarse looking dude comes up to you and offers either ‘mota’ or ‘coca’ be sure to say: “No thank you.” or the polite: “No gracias. No me quero.” as these are sometimes narcs looking to generate revenue for the police by this form of bribe bait. Keeping your wits and your cool, you are left alone, mostly.

The shuttle back to Tucson is just as quick and easy as it was on the way down. Strange irony that the dental work cost just as much as the tequila and the shuttle rides: $75. Add to that $15 for the new heels and soles, and $5 for a curbside take out lunch with the shoe shine boy… only now he’s a full grown man and would love a chance to do something other than latch on to Gringos.

Retrieving the locked bicycle in South Tucson, the priceless feeling of an accomplished mission sets in. It’s time for a beer. You end up here – for a cold pint glass of Miller, for $1. AC and Thankfulness.

1700 and mission is accomplished.
1700 and mission is accomplished.

See you at Che’s Lounge.

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About littlejar

5 - Learned to ride in paved alley behind liquor store in Lowell. 16 - Road bike riding alone while peers do soccer practice. 18 - First new road bike bought with winnings from Project Graduation. 20 - Burlington VT. Nuff said. 22 - Joined the Air Force. 23 - Joined team Fair Wheel in Tucson - rode the Shootout. 24 - Rode El Tour in under five. 26 - Toured to Quebec City 28 - Toured Oklahoma to Vermont 30 - Found my dream bike - a 1989 58cm LaBan (#22) 32 - Experienced Minneapolis and saw BIKE CULTURE. 34 - Building my first bicycle frame, with a self made jig. USA

13 Replies to “Novacaine is a hell of a drug.”

  1. …ohhh, that’s the shoe repair !!!…for a minute, i thought that was the ‘dentista de la oficina’

    …i’m relieved…

  2. I want to find a place where you can get a tooth pulled, a blow-job and a shoe shine all at the same time.

    What would you call a place like that ?

    Nice post lj. Glad to hear the dental biz worked out.

  3. …triplef…“What would you call a place like that ?”

    …”a family business” ???…

    …& ya, littlejar, this was a nice post…too bad one couldn’t just ride ones bike across the border n’ back but i can imagine the problems…

  4. Ten years ago, I did ride my bike across. There aren’t any problems with that. I ripped all over Nogales and went where they told me I shouldn’t. The problem is if you DRIVE, then you got a long long line of stinking idling cars to wait with coming back in.

  5. …back in the early ’70’s, i was given an impromptu “most aggressive driving award” as a team manager at the end of the week long ‘vuelta de baja’

    …what no one knew at the time was that i drove like that with no license whatsoever…in mexico…hell, as a broke-ass cyclist who couldn’t afford ‘mordito’, if they’d caught me, i’d prob’ly just be getting out a’ jail about now…

    …never got further than a mexicali, ensenada, tijuana triangle but i was amazed by what i saw…i know mexico has a ton of beauty but jeez, did i see abject poverty in those border towns…

  6. bgw, no need to worry, all that poverty has been sorted. NAFTA and the trickle down economic policies of the 80s have righted the ship. It’s all shoe shines and dentistry down there now.

  7. …barry…do i detect a hint of facetiousness in that comment…

    …i remember one day seeing what looked like funky little dog kennels next to a small building alongside the highway near tecate & i asked the race director what it was…he replied “it is an ‘orfanato’, amigo, an orphanage”

    …absolutely floored me…

  8. The vision I intend to convey is not that Mexico is all awesome. I could have taken photos of deplorable shit. I could complain about how bad rich people are and how Mexico suffers so, etc… Tried that kind of writing. The post was written without the word “I” once. I just wanted to tell the story of my day, within the color of my relaxed and peaceful attitude toward this visit. Believe me, I’ve had stress in Nogales. I drove there once and the parking was so tight, my lens was smashed on the 1980 Mercedes. I was with two women, and they had their own stresses and priorities for the trip. This time it was totally different. The ‘floored’ phase I have gotten beyond. I’ve seen Southern Mexico too, and intimately. I have a very Mexican attitude toward the country: Peaceful acceptance. Not the way I feel back home, which I see as fucked up but by choice and not circumstance. Therein lies the crux, Americanos.

  9. …fácil no, amigo, está todo bien, eh ???…the mexico you portray looks just fine, littlejar…“que es lo que es- it is what it is”, & to be honest, as long as i feel reasonably safe, i’d rather have a bit of “run down” than ”improvement’ if they’re talking bullshit manufactured plastic “beauty”

    …40 years ago as a young 20-something year old, not long down from canada, i was definitely ‘floored’ by the abject poverty i witnessed in the mexican border towns, no doubt about it…in years of hitchhiking back n’ forth across canada & up & down the west coast, i’d never seen anything like it…

    …nowadays, i’ve also seen fotos of beautiful small villages where chicano friends were raised as kids & i have americano friends who describe the simple beauty they live in down in mexico, half the year ’round…

    …looks great to me…