Border town

My work as a mitigation specialist takes me to many places that I probably would never visit otherwise. In the past year or two I made multiple trips to Brownsville, Texas, right across the bridge from Matamoros, Tamaulipas. More than 90 per cent of the city's citizens are of Mexican origin, so Spanglish is pretty much the first language.

As in many U.S. cities, downtown is sadly deserted. The Hotel El Jardín, whose management was once delighted to see Mexicans cross its portals (those were the days, my friend) is now abandoned.

Likewise the Capitol movie house.

I liked this building downtown, and wondered who was Andrés Pacheco, for whom its bell tolls.

On the inner city freeway I kept passing signs for the Gladys Porter Zoo. I don't know why the name struck me as funny; perhaps it reminded me of a famous finishing school for girls known as Miss Porter's. In any case I finally made it to visit the ancestors. This guy's friends call him Red (or Pinky, behind his back).

Here's Gladys herself.

Unfortunately, Brownsville is among the cities with the lowest levels of literacy in the U.S.