Day 4: “Get on the donkey!”

San Diego/Tijuana

Since I’m not what you would call the most organized person in the world, our trip to Ye Olde Mexico almost didn’t happen. I forgot to call the company to confirm the time, and as we walked into the lobby, we saw our bus leave. Luckily, the concierge called on our behalf and told us to haul ass down to the harbor. We did, and made it onto the bus by a decent margin, if slightly shook up.

The trip to the border was quick, although the constant chatter of the driver would have been hell on a longer trip – which he was trying to push constantly, by the way – and after half an hour, we were in Mexico. Our jovial driver drove us around Tijuana, giving us the lowdown on the world’s most famous bordertown and telling us to stay on the main strip. We only had two and a half hours, so there was hardly time to do much exploring anyway.

“And remember to bargain,” repeated the driver for what seemed like ten minutes straight, “You don’t want to pay twenty dollars for something and find it for six at the next store.” Fair enough. although I couldn’t see myself buying anything worth six dollars on the tourist strip, much less twenty

Ours was the first bus to arrive, which meant that we were the primary target of every person hawking anything on the street. We had people shouting to us from the other side of the street, cab drivers who wanted to take us to their favorite masseuses and one particularly aggressive guy with a camera screaming “Get on the donkey, get on the donkey” as we tried to pass.

After walking up and down the avenue, which was about 12 minutes later, with an 8-minute rest stop thrown in for good measure, we decided the best way to go was to get some Mexican food and maybe a cerveza or two in us and wait for the bus to go back. None were in the market for sombreros or fake MLB shirts, so this plan made the most sense. In those 20 minutes, we were accosted by roughly 256 people, some of whom seemed less than pleased with our lack of interaction. “Honeymooners!” shouted one guy. I think it was meant for us, as we were the only tourists around. Given the legalization of gay marriage north of the immediate border, I suppose it was meant as an insult. Then again, as Stig commented: “We’re the tourists from hell! We’re here with no plans to buy anything, and we’re just laughing at it all,” so maybe it was karma.

We found a restaurant that seemed OK and went for fajitas and Tecates, with a margherita thrown in for good measure. As we ate, we had to fend off caricaturists, mariachis and a guy with a tequila bottle which he tried forcing on everyone. We narrowly escaped, though my declining the tequila led to me having my manhood insulted. We had only been in Mexico thirty minutes and my masculinity had already been questioned twice. Jesus.

Brunch was indeed nice. we sauntered back to the bus and headed back to the US. The border crossing took less than ten minutes, and that was pretty much that.

Back in San Diego, we decided to swing by the USS Midway. The legendary hangar ship is now a museum in the San Diego Harbor. What can I say? It was big, and when we saw the F-14 on the flight deck, we were content. That there is such a thing in existence and that it can float is still a riveting mystery to me. I know it can be explained by physics n’ stuff, but you know what? Heavy objects are SUPPOSED TO SINK, you know?

After the long day, we decided to rest a while before heading back out for dinner, and let me tell you, Spanish midget boxing does wonders for the weary traveler, as did the beer at the local Hooters.

BONUS: This made me sad today: I’ll miss the live MST3K experience by a week. Goddamnit.

05.07.2008 • Permalink