Posted by: TomA | 12 May 2007

Day 14: Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

Getting into Tijuana from San Diego was exceptionally simple. A bright red tram takes you directly from Downtown to the international border at San Ysidro; from there you can literally just walk into Mexico. No border checks, no gate, no hassle. There are two huge fences, 12 feet apart and topped with a delightful assortment of razor wire, spikes and other pleasantries erected by the US to keep the Mexicans out, which apparently stretches 70 or so miles in land. From there to the Gulf of Mexico, I assume it’s the gun toting border patrol that keep those pesky neighbours out.

 

As soon as you’ve crossed the border and walked past the Mexican McDonalds, you’re confronted by an endless barrage of people hustling you into their taco stands, gift shops, strip clubs and drug stores.

 

Street children have no qualms about following you around and tugging on your shirt to try and get some change, though I found a stern “no” sent them off briskly to pester someone else.

We didn’t really get much further than the main tourist drag in Tijuana. Downtown was quite a hike away and the area around us just became seedier the further out you ventured. We went as a small group from the hostel, to be shown around and introduced to some of the more honest shopkeepers and avoid the hassle of the border area.

 

We stopped for some authentic Mexican food (in truth, a touch underwhelming), awful Margharitas before safely heading onto the beer (scarily cheap).

 

The two most entertaining moments both involved people watching. The first involved 3 Americans, all drunk, one hideously so. They stumbled past as restaurants kept turning them away. A minute later, probably a dozen Mexican policemen tear past, eventually returning with the very drunk one in handcuffs looking rather smug followed by his rather agitated friend (also handcuffed and accompanied by several police officers).

 

The second was on the tram back to San Diego. A woman sat opposite us with her 3 snotty children, the guy opposite started chatting and eventually revealed her somewhat depressing story; involving working at the baseball stadium to sustain herself while her Mexican boyfriend is doing time in some really dodgy US prison for trying to smuggle 40kg of cannabis across the border. It went on and became ever more depressing….

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