Every year I make it out to the Sister Cities Festival, sometimes 3-4 visits in one weekend. This year looked like it was twice the size of past years. I need to ask the organizers if it had really grown that much. Whereas before it seemed like it was mainly wholesalers looking for distributors, some now seem to come in just for the sales to visitors like me. Again, I could be wrong. For sure there are higher quality artesanias than you might expect in the Nuevo Laredo Mercado – like the papel amate art pieces pictured above. We liked them so much we bought THREE – one for me and two for my friend’s condo (still under reconstruction after the flooding incident).
There were different types of entertainment – some good, some… Elvis impersonators. Entertainment is anything that can get the audience going and this guy did – so good or bad, he entertained.
The absolute BIGGEST complaint that every person we ran into was the bright idea of having vendors give you an invoice, you then had to go pay and go back for your item(s). Bad, bad, bad. The nopales we bought cost only $3 but we still had to get an invoice, then wait 20 minutes in line – the woman in front of us was paying for a $1 CANDY BAR!
For someone with a cane, I was grateful that I brought friends because we split up to go get what we had bought and met again and agreed – no more buying anything! What an insane system. I bet it sounded a lot better on paper but it was definitely not practical.
I think many vendors might have lost customers who got their invoices and did not want to stand in the long lines to pay (and this is the first year they also charged state taxes, too) for small items.
Overall, it was good to go visit and see – especially the tourist spots and what they offer – but for shopping? Nah, I will stick to San Bernardo or venture across to El Mercado or just make it at home. We really don’t need more stuff in our lives anyway.
(P.S.: Does that still say Laredo Entertainment Center??? What happened to LEA?)