In my never ending search for a particular vintage apron and dress pattern, I stumbled across a pattern web site that somehow infected my computer with a virus. So yes, apparently you can pick up nasty bugs just by visiting seemingly innocent sites. The problem is I visited so many sites, I'm not certain which one was the last one that presented the problem. So, while the computer was working, I was afraid to visit even blogs for fear of infecting those sites myself. I decided to stay away from using the computer until we took it to the shop for a good cleaning. I also took the time to try and catch up with work around the house. I must confess that web surfing takes up an awful lot of time which could be spent better doing chores around the house. So this brings me to now.
Yesterday we took a trip to the 'valley', which is the southernmost part of Texas. For us it's about a three and a half hour drive. Once you arrive in the area, all the towns and cities seem to be linked together one right next to the other. There's Pharr, La Joya, Mission, Rio Grande City, Mcallen, Mercedes, Weslaco....... In the Winter you can really appreciate the citrus groves dotting the countryside. It is a beautiful area to visit. It reminds me a little bit of the citrus area in Florida. We didn't quite make it to the farthest city on the tip of Texas- Brownsville- because that would have been an even longer drive, and we would have had to stay overnight. But it would've been nice to visit the beaches and enjoy the Gulf of Mexico.
The reason for out trip? Plants! And fruit! Lots of them and at very good prices. Where else can you buy a case of a dozen mangos for $2? And a pineapple for $1? Or sweet as honey and delectable huge honeydew melons for $1? Cantaloupe, papayas, and watermelons all for no more than $2 a piece. I should mention these fantastic buys can be had at the numerous flea markets all along the valley. We didn't find oranges or grapefruit, but if you visit in late Winter or early Spring, you will be able to find whole bags of the precious Vitamin C's for about $2. The same thing with plants. Being a gardener, this is a goldmine for finding exotic plants at very reasonable prices. Most of the specimens will run around $3 if they're in a small pot, around a gallon size. Kapok trees, or Ceibas as they're known in Mexico and points south, will run around $15-35, depending on the size. I have found many unusual plants which I normally don't find in my hometown. I am always amazed at how 'ungreedy' these vendors are. I suppose it's because they have no overhead expenses and they work for themselves. Where I live fruit and vegetables are pretty expensive. I commented to my Sweetie that if we could find those prices here, we would probably eat a lot healthier than we currently do. An example: Chayotes, which are similar to a squash, but have a far better taste, cost around $2.79 a pound in our local store. When they're good sized, just one will weigh around a pound. "En el valle", I was able to purchase them 4 for a $1!
So as far as remarkable items to found at the flea markets, I would have to say, fruits and plants are the main attraction. I didn't see much else in the way of 'things'. Probably far less than at most flea markets. I was looking out for vintage linens and patterns, but didn't see any. We visited about 4 flea markets in the area. We were also told that there are usually more vendors on Sundays.
I had a wonderful time. The only thing I regret is that I didn't take my camera. Pictures are the best way to illustrate a message. I need to get in the habit of carrying it with me wherever I go. Perhaps next time I can bring back some pictures to share.
It was good to get away from the ordinary. Interestingly, another thing I noticed, was that people just seemed friendlier than where we live. It's a good area to visit. It's also a prime destination for 'Winter Snowbirds' as retirees are often called. It's also a great area for birders, as there are some wonderful bird watching havens and routes as well. So next time you're in Texas, make plans to visit El Valle. It's Texas best kept secret!
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~