Saturday, January 13, 2018


August, 2014. 

That's the last time I used my passport. (Solvang doesn't count.)

For someone who makes it her business to run around the world, this is a dire state of affairs! I barely noticed during my big move to Los Angeles, because I was busy investigating the city as well as working ridiculous hours at my moderate-kahuna job.

But then I read about 20 articles talking up Tijuana, all saying the same thing—that the loss of tourism meant artists and creatives had taken over the tourist/red light/tequila district—hawking the same "boutique" hotel (whatever that means) and the same trendy housewares stores, and I thought "Is this for real?" The last time I'd read this many parrot-y travel articles, they'd been about Berlin. They probably still are. Hip! Happening! Berlin! I think that's how my pal Ed Ward phrased it when he lived in Berlin.

I liked Berlin enough to rent an apartment there for a month during the first MariesWorldTour, but the articles are ridiculous. I guess it's what you write when you want people to buy your material. Write what people want to hear, preferably something that sounds new and cool.

But I'm not sure where Tijuana falls on this "what people want to hear" meter...seems an unlikely match, Tijuana and travel-porn outlets, but I know a regurgitated story when I see one. But I also know I can go to Tijuana and back in a day, and that as many times as I've been to San Diego, I've never had time to venture down across the border. I loved staying in San Miguel in 2013, but Tijuana is a massive city, clearly a different beast from a colonial art town. Surely articles about the Zona Centro were like New York articles being about Times Square, no?

But getting to TJ doesn't involve a plane or days off work. I could even, if I chose to, get the Red Line to DTLA and catch a $23 bus all the way to the border. So while I was uncertain about the articles screaming "I'm a press release," I was quite certain the effort would be worth the return even if all I found was a deserted hotel and a painted donkey.

I attempted to book the boutique hotel, but it appeared to be all booked solid. A bit of sleuthing revealed that it wasn't booked just required a stay of two or more nights.

I delayed my trip until a long weekend. That's now. I paid for two nights via AirBnB...that's one way around developing a hotel e-commerce site. I was impressed. Resourceful. 

I didn't book my ticket until the Saturday morning I intended to leave. I kept waffling about the transit...did it make more sense to catch the #222 bus to the Red Line to Pershing Square and walk over to Main to catch the bus, or did it make sense to catch the train at Burbank Airport, and take that to San Diego to the trolley?

Finally, my early laziness won over my later laziness. I caught the bus to Burbank Airport and ten minutes later, was on the train to San Diego.

View from Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner. Sit on the western side to get the view. 

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