Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nancy and I had a STELLAR trip to San Diego! What a fun place, and it was so cool- we didn't need a car; we walked or trammed everywhere. Our Hotel was right on the Embarcadero, and we had an amazing view of the Bay- cruise ships docked directly across from our room! We had lots of good walks, talks, and sight-seeing- Balboa Park and Old Town by Trolley. We are good traveling buddies; feeling ready to rock, ready to eat and ready to sleep at the same times...

On Saturday we took the trolley to the border and walked into Mexico, although we were warned at the hotel about "three hour waits at the border" and at the train station that "you have a 40% chance of being kidnapped..." The guy at the duty-free shop said we'd be fine in the tourist section, so feeling daring, we went for it. It was GREAT shopping- we both got silver necklaces, and I got some really cool day-of-the-dead figures. However, there were VERY FEW tourists- the rumors of trouble in Tijuana must be killing the tourism income.

After an interesting lunch (a. tasty, but didn't want to look at the meat in the taco too closely, B. lunch was $6.00, a can of pop $3.00, c. it took so long we thought there may not have been a kitchen in the restaurant, we mused about where the the food was coming from...) the waiter hailed us a taxi- a crazed, road-raging, expletive-spewing cab driver. He would slow the cab to yell out the window at drivers or pedestrians that annoyed him. (And they ALL did...) He had insisted I sit in the front seat, then went into frustration mode when I didn't understand all he was saying. (I DID understand that "Muy stupido" was directed at me, and some of his language was foul universally...) When I did the "passenger braking movement" on my side as he whizzed through the stop signs, he clucked disappointedly, "Lady, this is NOT America, this is MEXICO..." and muttered some more stupidos...

He drove us through the bowels of Tijuana, while Nancy and I threw each other stealthy worried glances, and I praised his driving skills,pretty sure he was just crazy and not a kidnapper, but with a 10% doubt in my mind... Finally he drove us to this long line of shuffling people, very few Americans, in a dirty section of town. He started shouting, "Get out get out GET OUT...." and pointed at the line. Nancy and I sprang from the cab with mixed feelings- out ot the cab was GOOD, but where the Hell were we??? We started walking toward the end of the line... and walking.... and walking.... as it snaked around foreveerrrrr.

Finally we reached the end, and figured- THIS is the 3 hour wait. Next thought- Is this the line to get back into the US at all? It was all Mexicans- but then the tourism is really down so that was not so odd. We shuffled along for awhile, and the line was really moving surprisingly fast. (and getting longer and longer behind us...) Nancy finally saw some other obvious tourists, and we ascertained this WAS the line to cross into the US.

The line itself was interesting, again, it moved pretty fast, and there were people selling tacos and churros from stands as we shuffled by. Random stray dogs poked around in the weeds for any scraps, and looked unsatisfied. More of the many "Farmacias" trying to sell last minute prescriptions, with the guys wearing their "official" white pharmacy jackets, standing out in front. Everyone has a cellphone no matter how rich or poor.

We met a couple of great kids in line behind us, raised in Mexico and going to college in San Diego (In Mexico partying with friends because the drinking age is 20...) they were crossing back to go to work in San Diego. They were both Rotten Tomatoes Fans Timmy- but then who isn't!!!! We bonded with them until we hit the border and got separated in the customs lines, waving and saying goodbye. The wait was actually only an hour!!! The line was kinda cool...

But Customs was way serious, it's not the kind of place where you want to joke around. But it was more fascinating than scary, we all showed our birth certificates or passports, while on the US side these people were being taken away in handcuffs, which were all linked to a leash-like chain, while the customs officer walked in front of the line holding the chain and carrying a covered box. Hmmm... What was inside? I have no idea idea, but I'm glad I didn't have any of it!!!

Nancy and I passed through with no problems and walked back into the US! YEAH!!!
It was a really cool adventure. The day before I went to San Diego I got a fortune in a fortune cookie that said "You will have a four-wheeled adventure" It kinda came true!!!

The line to go across the border...


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