We were both a little nervous, or at least I was, as we drove south headed for Palomas, Mexico. The mayor had been kidnapped and murdered and the chief of police had fled to the US seeking political asylum. It was all spill over violence from nearby Juarez and the drug wars in which over 1600 people died. But it was morning and we only wanted to check out the Pink Store, before returning to the US and touring Pancho Villa State Park, so we parked on the US side and walked through the fence and road opening and into Mexico. We were greeted by beggars and then street merchants. Our daughter Jenny had warned us to not encourage the begging and the street merchants illegal cds and dvds held no interest,(All though I did want a new belt and perhaps a billfold).The Pink store beckoned and so we passed a dentist, and then a pharmacy and liquor store. Crossing a street we entered the store and were immediately greeted with a huge jewelry counter, filled with silver wares. I knew that I had lost Renita for a while and so I continued on into a really unique shop. I passed beautiful ceramic artwork and even found a bunch of glazed ceramic sinks that were really neat. A pile of braided bull whips called to me but I barely managed to avoid their lure and continued on. Wondering back to the front Renita was till staring at the jewelry. I mentioned that I had seen the entire store and wasn't surprised that she hadn't passed the first counter. We all have our fascinations! She asked the store vendor if she could hold some items for her and I showed Renita the things I had found, including some neat and inexpensive belts. We went outside and walked further down the street. It was empty except for a few street vendors and some beggars, a far cry from the busy market at Nueve Progresso. There really wasn't much to see and the town had a lot of trash and empty beer bottles, most broken and littering the empty lots. I checked out a couple of liquor stores, for candy, and the only containers looked like they were from last Christmas. The layers of dust kept me from making any purchases. Returning to the pink store we went into their restaurant and were treated to a nice and relatively inexpensive meal. The lunch crowd came in, all snowbirds. A Mariachi singer started to sing and it was a nice touch, along with good food and good service. We left a nice tip and made our purchases and I was the proud owner of a leather belt emblazoned with scorpions. We walked through the gauntlet of beggars and street hustlers and crossed into the US Customs where the border guard asked about our purchases, before scanning our passports and waving us through. Returning to our car we next drove north to Columbus, New Mexico, and Pancho Villa State Park. Its really only a few miles from the border and we quickly arrived at the sign for the park entrance. Paying our five dollars we entered the museum, where they had some nice displays of a Jenny biplane, and a primitive four wheel drive truck, and a dodge touring car, similar to the one used by Pershing as he led the troops into Mexico. The displays told the stories of the Villas raid and we watched a movie in which some of the actual survivors of the raid told of the mayhem. A display also said that Pancho Villa was a hero to many people of Northern Mexico, and it helped us to understand the large bronze statue in Palomas. It had been an interesting day and we both were glad we had toured the area. We also agreed that we could cross Columbus, New Mexico off our our list of places to return. We did see a road runner as we traveled north but he ran away, either from us, a Wiley coyote, or perhaps the drug wars, helicopters, and border patrol guards that seemed to flood the area. Clear skies.