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Canadian "Snowbirds" And Mexico's Thriving Dental Colony

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All three countries in North America have converged on tiny Yuma, Arizona. I was here this week reporting on the "virtual border" that companies like Boeing and ICX Technologies are helping to build.

But forget the immigration northward from Mexico. The place has been overrun by Canadian RV's! Each is staking out its patch of parched, barren dirt to while away the winter. The view consists of miles of rocky mounds and Tantooine-like sand dunes filled with scorpions and tarantulas. But the weather sure is nice.

Yuma itself is packed. Canadian accents can be heard up and down 16th street. I stayed at the La Fuente Inn and Suites (rated #1 on Trip Advisor!), where tourists reveled in the pool. Ok, this isn't the Ritz, but they had free booze and snacks at happy hour (jug wine and Tootsie Rolls), and patrons were thrilled. The hotel also had free internet access...take that, Ritz Carlton! (Is it not a crime to pay through the nose for a high-end hotel room and still be charged to go on the internet??)

But Canadians aren't the only snowbirds here. There are plenty of Americans. A lot of them come to Yuma to cross into Mexico for inexpensive dental work. Apparently there's quite a thriving dental colony there. A local told me even some American dentists have set up shop on the Mexican side of the border because they don't have to pay for malpractice insurance.

I met one man who said he'd traveled from Denver to get his teeth fixed. That's a long way. There must be an enormous savings in dental work to make up for the gas and hotel money spent to get here. But at least the booze and Tootsie Rolls are free.

Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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