Thursday, November 28, 2013

To the Southern Tip of Texas

Brownsville and McAllen are known as the southern most cities in Texas. Los Ebanos is actually the furthest and is a small border town between Texas and Mexico. We headed into Los Ebanos to take the hand drawn ferry, the only one of it's kind on the U.S. border. As our luck would have it, we arrived at 3:45PM and the ferry stops at 4PM. Not wanting to get stuck on the wrong side of the border, I snapped some pictures, spoke at length to the border guards and stayed on our side of the Rio Grande....

As we headed towards the border, this fella pulled in front of us. We decided to allow him to go ahead and were content to a very great distance. His cab was packed with televisions an tons of other "stuff". It was hard to see how he could even drive. Scary!

We were amazed at the number of flowers in this cemetery. Almost every gravesite had flowers and it was very well groomed. This was in contrast to the neighboring homes which were extremely run down.

As we approached the ferry landing, this sign caught our eye. It offered free information about the ferry, clean rest rooms and ice cream and candy. I'm pretty sure the store was closed.....see below.

This is the American side of the Rio Grande River. Even though this is a hand drawn ferry, make no mistake, this is a border crossing. The ferry can hold up to three cars at a time. The crossing utilizes the same protocol as any border other crossing, with inspections, dogs and passport requirements.

The ferry is a 44 foot long wooden barge and is pulled across the Rio Grande with ropes attached to a cable system. It is the only ferry in the world between two countries that uses human power.  The ferry is pulled by six very strong men. The toll is 50 cents for walk ons and $2/per vehicle. The men who work the ferry get paid only $1/hour.

Here's the "store" offering ice cream and candy. What do you think? We didn't dare see if it was open or not.

The City of Hildalgo really goes all out in the Celebration of Christmas. They were setting up decorations all around the City offices.

Even "Angry Birds" got into the spirit. Wishing all a Merry Christmas.

The City of Hidalgo boasts the World's Largest Killer Bee. It stands as a reminder of that day in 1990 when the first "Africanized Honey Bee" crossed the border and entered the United States.

These bees are very aggressive and seem to attack the head area which has resulted in the most deaths due to stings. 

The first attack by these bees occurred in 1991 in Brownsville, Texas. The first fatality was reported in 1993 in Harlingen, Texas.

Hildalgo's mayor decided to proclaim Hildalgo the "Killer Bee Capital of the World" and convinced the City to allocate $20,000 towards the construction of the killer bee statue. During the Christmas parade, the bee is removed from it's place in the park and paraded down main street.

How big is this statue? I wasn't able to find any information other than it was commissioned and constructed by an artist from Wisconsin.
 Since I couldn't get the information about the sculpture's size, I used Debi and Jasmine as props.

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