The bathers in the photo below are on the Texas side of The Rio Grande. That green grass right behind them is Mexico. The River is quite narrow in this spot…both physically and metaphorically. There has always, ALWAYS been commerce across the river…”commerce” including both legitimate trade and smuggling.
Back in the day, believe it or not, the smuggling was not just in stolen longhorn cattle, but also candellia wax. Yes, WAX! Seems like a strange thing to smuggle. But because of the way it was taxed, it was cheaper not to declare it.
The Hot Springs hasn’t made its way into John’s story (at least, not yet). Though the water here is delightfully warm, and not hard to imagine our hero and his campadres coming to take a dip.