I live a few miles from the Mexican border now. The town in Mexico has far more to offer than the small border village I currently live in. There are dentists, pharmacies, a furniture/fixture store, a proper grocery store, restaurants including a Chinese one, and various other stores.
We went into Mexico a few days ago to buy a bowl, because one of my bowls got broken and I only had two. While there I went to the grocery store and got a mineral water. Only $.40! So I asked if I could get a few cases. The manager said he'd have two cases for me on Friday if I wanted them.
I drove the car into the border so I could easily transport these cases of water back to the USA. Driving into Mexico at the Palomas border is easy enough. You go by a lot of uniformed officers, some with AK-47s who suss you out as you pass.
There's a building to park at immediately on your left as you go in where you can get your vehicle papers and insurance or whatever. I did not stop at this building since I was told you could drive within 20 miles of the border without insurance.
I got to the first intersection. There's no stop signs. No lights. You just have to proceed carefully. Then I turned left and parked at the lot in front of the grocery store. This is a market, not a super market, and has only 7 spaces in front.
As we park the peddlers descend on us, having seen our USA plate. One guy is selling sunglasses. Anther is selling swing chairs. As we get out two men start cleaning our windows (without asking, but that's how it is). My mom tells them in Spanish she'll tip them on the way out.
In the store the manager recognizes me and I ask him in my weak Spanish if he has the water. Yes. They ordered 4 cases of water in the hope I would come back to buy them. The manager tells one of the men hanging around the store to go into the back and get the four cases. This man doesn't work there, it's just a guy like the window cleaners hoping for a chance to carry out people's groceries for a tip.
He carries our four cases to the car and the window cleaners help him load. We give out $6 in tips and then head back to the USA after once again fending off the sunglasses and hanging chair vendors. (They're not that aggressive, it was worse in Algodones.)
The Palomas port of entry is awesome. There's hardly ever a line. We drive through the speed bumps and hand our passports to the border agent. Another agent takes a German Shepard around our car to sniff it.
Do we have anything to declare? Yes. We declare the cases of mineral water. The agent goes to the back of our car to look at the cases then waves us to continue into the USA without filling any paperwork or paying any import fees.
And that's it. We're back in the USA.