Tijuana Travel Blog› entry 4 of 10 › view all entries
Today we were going to Mexico. San Diego is only about a half hour drive from the Mexican border, so a trip to Tijuana (TJ) is almost expected when you visit. Dennis and I had been to Mexico before, when we hit another border town, Nogales, a few years before. But neither Margo nor Jolene had ever been to another country. I know going to border towns barely count as in another country, but still.
We got up, had breakfast, and got ready to sneak up on another beautiful San Diego day. August is hot and humid in San Diego, but it's not unbearable, as hot doesn't usually mean much over 80. So we loaded up in Dennis's car and jumped one highway, that lead to another, and finally on I-5 which got us to TJ. The "we" today, consisted of Me, Margo, Jolene, Dennis, and a neighbor of Dennis', Karen. Dennis' girlfriend, Carrie, had to work, and couldn't go. Karen used to live in Mexico and spoke fluent Spanish, so she was going to be a big help.
We really didn't have any set plan of what to see or do. Margo wanted to look in the shops. Jolene was happy with that too. She always likes to see the pretty things and especially to have someone buy them for her. So that's what we did we wandered a bit, going from shop to shop. Karen would help with the haggling when we wanted to buy something. She was not timid about her tactics. We never knew what she was saying, but she often had an almost contemptible attitude towards the shop owners. It was definitely adversarial. Sometimes we just walked away. We ended up with a dress for Jolene and a foam lizard on a stiff wire. It was set up in such a way that she could "walk" this lizard down the sidewalk. Which she did regardless if there was room or not.
Perhaps our most interesting part of the day was when we had a picture taken. We spent most of our time on a main road. I think, translated, it was Revolution Avenue. On this very touristy road were several street photographers set up with carts and donkeys. The donkeys were painted up to look like zebras. For whatever reason we decided that we wanted to have a picture taken. And we did, eventually. We kept running into a problem. You see these were male donkeys, and Jolene would notice and ask "What's that?" Not ready to broach that subject yet, we would steer her and the conversation down the street. When we finally decided on a vendor, Karen took over again, which we were all fine with. But she and the Mexican photographer did not see eye to eye on the sombrero he wanted everyone to where. She was not going to where it, and he kept putting it back on her head. Of course, he back down before his third attempt to rehat her, as he did not want to risk his fee. We thought it was funny listening to them go back and forth in Spanish. It was akin to watching an old "I Love Lucy", as Ricky would unleash a Spanish tirade at Lucy. You could tell by the tone what was being said, if not by the actual words. The actual picture itself was in black and white, and the photographer developed it, in chemicals, right there on the street.
We spent several hours going from shop to shop and looking at various things. But we really didn't spend a whole heck of a lot. One thing that did disturb us a bit, was the level of poverty that was evident even in the border town. There were a lot of children, elderly, and infirmed who were begging for money. They would have discarded beer cups that they used to collect coins. It was really sad that the Mexican government is such that more people don't have to opportunity to be successful, it their own country. They have a lot or resources. Oil, mining, agriculture, and tourism. But it is much easier to leave and earn a living in the United States.
That was our day there. We left Mexico and went back to El Cajon. Later Dennis and I attended a beach party, that a friend of his told us about. Lots of beer and a bonfire. Hard to beat that. It was a bit strange to listen to how different the ocean sounded and felt in the dark. I didn't go swimming, but the aura was different, if that makes any sense. It was both peaceful and ominous all at the same time. I guess you beach people already know what I am talking about. But being landlocked it was new to me. We got home at a fairly reasonable hour. Tomorrow we would be hitting the last major tourist attraction left for us in San Diego, Seaworld.