Lightbox Wednesday #20

With all this nonsense about spending gazillions building a wall at the border with Mexico, I think people forget that there already is a wall there...well, sort of. More of a rusty fence with lots of holes.

During my three decades living in Arizona, I visited the US/Mexico border only a handful of times. Mostly, it was to take out of town visitors to Nogales, where you can park your car in the Safeway parking lot in Nogales, AZ and walk across the border into Nogales, Mexico. There's really not much to do in dusty Nogales other than buy colorful but itchy blankets or knock-off designer handbags. I heard you could also buy antibiotics there without a prescription, but I'm not sure I'd buy medication from some of the sketchy little drug stores I saw there. Each time I visited Nogales, I was always quite happy to pass back through the border station and into the US again.

My favorite near-border town is Bisbee in Southeastern Arizona. Bisbee was a copper mining town and at one time, the the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco. When the mines played out, Bisbee almost dried up and blew away. Today, it's an interesting community of artists and eccentrics. There are some excellent restaurants in town and a diverse selection of interesting shops and galleries.

While editing images for my Lightbox Wednesday project, I came across these shots I took during my last visit to Bisbee in 2008. I shot these with a Nikon D70s and 24-120mm Nikkor zoom.

 You can spend the night at The Copper Queen Hotel

You can spend the night at The Copper Queen Hotel

 Business District in Bisbee

Business District in Bisbee

 Shuttered Movie Palace in Bisbee

Shuttered Movie Palace in Bisbee

 Indian Motorcycle Shop

Indian Motorcycle Shop

 Dial Hemlock 2-3842

Dial Hemlock 2-3842

 One of many vintage vehicles I saw parked in Bisbee

One of many vintage vehicles I saw parked in Bisbee

 Old Chevy Dealership

Old Chevy Dealership

 Pool Hall

Pool Hall

 Abandoned gas station, although it appeared a hot rod business had operated here recently.

Abandoned gas station, although it appeared a hot rod business had operated here recently.

 Kilnes Trading Post

Kilnes Trading Post

There is an interesting motel in Bisbee called the Shady Dell. All of the rooms are renovated vintage travel trailers, a bus and even a boat!

Dot's Diner is adjacent to The Shady Dell. Great burgers!

The scars of open pit mining in Bisbee illustrate just how careless we have been with our environment.

 Abandoned Open Pit Copper Mine near Bisbee

Abandoned Open Pit Copper Mine near Bisbee

 Another shot of the open pit copper mine

Another shot of the open pit copper mine

The aforementioned US/Mexican border is just a short hop south from Bisbee. The "wall" here is solid rusted metal on the bottom with vertical grating on the top. Notice how it stretches all the way to the horizon. That's Naco, Mexico on the other side.

I feel pretty confident that my skills as a photographer have improved since I visited Bisbee almost a decade ago. It would be fun to return sometime with a film camera and see how much as changed and how I'd shoot it today.