Friday, October 1, 2021

Before the Crisis: Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, in 1982

The Texas border city of Del Rio was in the news in September of 2021 because of the thousands of Haitian refugees who were hoping to enter the United States. Del Rio is in south central Texas on the Rio Grande. Across the river in northern Coahuila estado is Ciudad Acuña. The news stories reminded me that I spent a day in Ciudad Acuña in 1982 during a long road trip to Big Bend National Park. 

Wash day in the Rio Grande, Ciudad Acuña, Mexico (Agfapan 25 film, Leica M3)

Looking back, it felt like a simpler and more innocent time. We had no issues crossing into Mexico and then returning to USA. No one checked the car or asked us to open the trunk. We had our passports, but I cannot recall if the agent looked at them. I was surprised that there were no fences on the US side of the river, and, at least in July of 1982, anyone could easily cross the river. Ciudad Acuña looked rather sleepy. 


Everyone we met was very friendly. Mexican families were washing their cars in the river, and the local kids were swimming and having a great time. I did not write down the location (my photo note-keeping was haphazard in those days), but I think this was at the Braulio Fernandez Ecological Park.

Where is the traffic? Near Alpine, Texas.

West Texas is big, lonely, and arid. You drive for hours and hours and see cacti and dry brush. Winter might be very scenic when snow drapes the terrain. It might be a bit cold, too.

Big Bend National Park, Texas
In or near Big Bend National Park

Somewhere I have more negatives or slides of west Texas. Scanning them will wait for another day. 

I took these photographs on Agfapan 25 film with a Leica M3 camera with 50mm ƒ/2.8 Elmar lens (Mexico scenes) or a Nikon F camera. Click any photo to enlarge it. I bought the M3 the year before in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was a beater but served me for 25 years.


5 comments:

Suzassippi said...

Last photograph looks like El Capitan.

Mike said...

The kid with the tire is a real charmer. Big Bend is a great place. Hope to get back there one day.

kodachromeguy@bellsouth.net said...

Yes, I think it does look a bit like El Cap. Except for the cacti and desert. There are a lot of these eroded volcanic plugs in West Texas, all photogenic if you are a landscape photographer.

Unknown said...

I believe those are the Chisos Mtns. Last visit (2018?) I saw several black bear. Ranger said they had all been killed off by ranchers, but were now returning from Mexico. Luckily no border walls in the park.

kodachromeguy@bellsouth.net said...

Thank you, Unknown. Now that you wrote it, I recall the name Chisos Mountains from that trip. I wish I had returned back in the 1980s and need to put them on my to-do list when this Pandemic wanes.