The next morning, Tía Irma steers her ancient Cadillac towards Mazatlán. Vampi, Nayeli, and Yolo snore peacefully in the backseat. As usual, Irma points out a mountain, promises to take the girls there someday, and says that she went there once with Chava Chavarìn. The girls sleep through Irma's monologue.
Even the drive to Mazatlán is regimented and predictable—further evidence that Tres Camarones is stuck in the past and unwilling to embrace change. Meanwhile, Irma’s comment about Chava suggests that she idealizes this man and the time she spent with him, though it is unclear to the reader who he is.
In the fruit market, Irma berates the vegetable seller for charging an exorbitant amount of money for beans. The seller mistakenly refers to Irma as a señora—Irma has never been married and thinks that señora is a "slave's moniker." The seller cannot answer Irma when she asks what the poor are supposed to eat. She goes on to explain that they're all Mexicans, and Mexicans eat corn and beans. Irma asks how it's possible that Mexicans can't afford their own country's crops, and the man points out that the beans are from California. He says that they grow the beans in California, sell them to the US, and then the US sells them back. Irma insists that the system is stupid, and the man simply says, "NAFTA" in reply.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) helped create a framework and eliminate trade barriers between the US, Canada, and Mexico. However, as Mexico's agricultural exports increased, its agricultural imports decreased. Overall, this negatively affected the poor in Mexico and also took a toll on Mexican corn farmers. Here, Irma’s argument with the seller shows that she’s cognizant of this system’s shortcomings and how it doesn’t make sense that Mexicans can’t afford to purchase their own crops.
Irma storms out of the man's stall and snaps at a Guatemalan woman picking through spoiled fruit. She tells the woman to go home and says that Mexico is for Mexicans. Nayeli, Yolo, and Vampi are appalled and embarrassed, but Irma goes off on a tirade anyway. She insists that "illegals" come to Mexico for a free, quality education, and declares that Mexico needs a wall on its southern border. She purchases some vegetables and cheese but decides to buy tortillas in Tres Camarones.
Irma is exceptionally racist and nationalist here, which makes it clear that racism isn't unique to America or anywhere else. The fact that the girlfriends are embarrassed shows that they believe Irma's views are outdated and rude. However, when the girls don't call Irma out on her inappropriate behavior, it shows that the girls find racism and nationalism less offensive when it's not directed at them.
Irma agrees to let Nayeli drive home. As Vampi and Yolo sleep in the backseat, Nayeli whines that she's lonely. She says that she wants to see city lights, and Irma reminds Nayeli that Mazatlán is a major city. Nayeli continues that she wants someone to serenade her and touch her face and asks Irma if she's ever been serenaded. Irma very nearly sighs as she mentions Chavarín again, but Irma cannot answer when Nayeli asks who can do that for her.
As Nayeli mourns the lack of men in Tres Camarones, it tells the reader that Nayeli desperately wants to experience romance. This sets romance up as a goal and something that she can achieve—not something that comes naturally. This naïve understanding of romance will later contribute to the girls' falling out.