With such high security about and large wall, it didn’t feel like it should be so easy to pass from America to Mexico. It really is as if America welcomes getting people (Mexicans) out of their country. Andale, rapido. I was nervous because of American VISAs before making the day trip from San Diego to Tijuana – how naïve I was.
We jumped in to a taxi at our hotel in the Gaslamp district of San Diego – 20 minutes and $40 later we were at the border to Mexico. It didn’t seem real. Yes I have passed through European country borders which are just a sign post and you have no idea who have changed countries. But this was strange. I quick walk a long a bridge – then passed one or two US Army guys – then through a quick turnstile and BAM you are in Mexico. It couldn’t have looked or smelt more different.
We got in to a taxi at the Mexican side of the border and the man asked us – beach or city. We had heard good things about the beach and it was early so thought the beach was the best option. It definitely was not. I was expecting things to do, food, drinks, things to see, just anything. We walked and walked along the beach just waiting and hoping we would stumble upon something. But we didn’t. There was nothing there. We couldn’t even find a taxi to take us to the centre of TJ to have some food and drinks. The only sign of life was at an apartment complex sales office where one woman was showing a couple around the complex. We asked for a taxi, but the couple kindly offered us a ride back in to TJ. Major friendly points for the Mexicans right there.
Food was now the number one objective for us now. The ‘what felt like a 20 mile walk along the beach’ had made me starving. We found a busy street with lots of outside seating where we could do some people watching. We ordered beer, tacos and cervice. The food was nice – nothing magical – just nice. The pain in the ass was being annoyed every minute by a mariachi band after some pesos. Actually I under exaggerated that. Every 30 seconds.
We went for a wonder around Tijuana and found nothing. There really isn’t much to do or to see. We saw a couple of underfed donkeys, painted as Zebras that was quite sad and lots of drug stores.
The decision was simple – lets get back to San Diego ASAP. The dilemma pending was that getting back in to America was much more of a hassle than getting in to America. The USA doesn’t have the whole turnstile approach which it does letting people leave the country.
We ended up queuing up for what felt about 2 years. The slowest moving queue I have ever been in. My line waiting practice over the years has been pretty intense. I’ve been to loads of theme parks in my life – that you would think I had sufficient line waiting practice. Obviously not. It took about 4 hours to get passed USA immigration and in the end they didn’t even check my passport. Just being white and with an America was good enough for them.
Was the day trip worth it? Yeh it was a fun adventure. I don’t think it was close to a proper full representation of what Mexico has to offer. But no regrets from me. Somebody should start a save the donkey zebras charity though.