In the morning, the group returns to the street. Yolo and Tacho discuss how they both loved Matt, and Tacho calls Nayeli promiscuous for kissing Matt. Nayeli leads them to a metal wall. They study the graffiti and remark that people don't like George W. Bush or Calderón, the Mexican president. Tacho spouts off frustrated insults directed at the girls and walks down the street. The girls tease him for it.
Tacho struggles with the new knowledge that this trip isn't an easy or guaranteed way to become a happier gay man. Instead of swiftly crossing the border under a pile of hay in the back of a truck (Tacho’s original fantasy), the group is faced with an impenetrable metal wall.
A man selling ice cream approaches, and Nayeli purchases ice cream bars for everyone. Nayeli asks the vendor what the wall is, and he explains it's the border fence. Before walking away, he declares that it's ugly. Nayeli and her group walk east along the fence. Finally, they reach a point where the fence stops, and they climb up a steep bank. From there, they can see cars waiting to cross the border legally and the American freeway on the other side. On the hills of the other side, they can see restaurants and the Border Patrol officers’ white vehicles.
The fact that Nayeli can see clearly what's on the other side of the border reinforces the idea that the border is somewhat tenuous and arbitrary: though what's on the other side is technically American, the landscape itself looks pretty much the same.
Nayeli watches a Border Patrol agent standing next to his truck. They wave at each other, and Nayeli smiles, points to herself and the other side, and mimes praying. The agent laughs and gets in his truck. Tacho suggests they follow the fence west and swim around, and one of the poor boys sitting nearby starts laughing. In a dialect they can barely understand, the boy says that the wall extends into the sea. Tacho harrumphs, looks around, and says he doesn't get it.
When the US Border Patrol officer shows that he's willing to engage and even laugh with Nayeli, it suggests that he views Nayeli and other Mexicans as human, despite the fact that his job is to keep illegal immigrants from crossing the border.
The group wanders around Tijuana, always veering north toward the border in the hopes that they might find someplace the Border Patrol has overlooked. They wander into the nice part of town and finally sit down in the fruit market. Yolo grabs Tacho and drags him towards a chapel, and Vampi pesters a group of American missionaries. A man stops next to Nayeli and asks if she's tired, but she just glares at him. He hands her a mango and says it gets better. Nayeli thinks the mango tastes like home.
When the man shows Nayeli kindness by giving her a mango and an encouraging word, it indicates that not everyone in Tijuana is unfriendly or disdainful of people like Nayeli who wish to cross the border. Instead, it tells the reader (even if Nayeli doesn't seem convinced) that kindness can come from unexpected places.
The story introduces two beggars, Doña Araceli and her husband, Don Porfirio. They were once corn farmers, but now they beg and work in Tijuana. Araceli is an indigenous beggar, and Porfirio works as a windshield washer since the dump closed down and put the trash pickers out of work. The couple meets in the fruit market to count their day's earnings and purchase potatoes and bread. Araceli notices Nayeli's group looking even more beaten down and bedraggled than she and her husband do.
Araceli and Porfirio are likely some of the corn farmers who were negatively affected by NAFTA, which once again emphasizes Mexico's economic difficulties. Unlike the residents of Tres Camarones, this couple did their best to embrace the modern world by moving to Tijuana instead of remaining isolated and rural.
Araceli and Porfirio approach Nayeli and ask her if she's alright. Nayeli replies that they're in trouble, but they'll get out of it. Vampi tells Porfirio that she wants to go home, and Araceli asks if they're going north. Nayeli tells the couple that they've lost their belongings. Araceli and Porfirio talk for a moment and then invite the group to come home with them. Nayeli isn't sure if she should trust them, but she's too tired to think of another plan. Porfirio compliments Tacho's hair.
When Porfirio compliments Tacho's hair, it shows that Porfirio is willing to embrace people who are different than him and treat strangers with kindness and compassion. Although Araceli and Porfirio are genuinely good people, Nayeli’s willingness to talk to them suggests that Nayeli didn't truly learn from her experience the night before to not trust strangers.
When they board a bus, Nayeli pays the fare for Porfirio and Araceli. When the bus begins to climb a rocky hill, Porfirio motions for the group to disembark. As they walk, Araceli pats Nayeli's back and promises to fry potatoes. Nayeli begins to smell something tart and smelly, and as the group reaches the top of a hill, they all stop. They stare in awe at a massive mountain of black garbage, and Porfirio says, "home." He points to the top of the mountain and says that you can see America from there.
The dump dwellers represent a different kind of poverty than Nayeli has ever seen before; though much of Tres Camarones likely lives in poverty as well, the dump illustrates how poverty differs from rural areas to urban centers. As Nayeli then expands her understanding of the world, it helps her to see people like Porfirio as just as human as she is.