Saturday, January 13, 2018

Travel to Tijuana

Walk to bus. Bus to Burbank train. Pacific Surfliner train (ugh, crowded chaos today) three hours to trolley. Blue line trolley to the San Ysidro border.

This would have gone faster and easier if I'd just gone downtown and caught a direct bus, I thought as I ran into the cambio by McDonald's. I changed twenty bucks into Mexican pesos. I'd waffled over whether to walk or catch a taxi on the Tijuana side of the border, and had decided to go with the taxi, so I'd need pesos for the taxi. Either that or five bucks, but I'd spend less with the pesos. Was I really waffling over a dollar or two? Old travel habits die hard.

I followed the crowd along a sloping walkway, entered a building, and stood in the line for non-Mexican citizens. The wait wasn't long, maybe five minutes. A passport control officer motioned me to her desk.

""Hola," I said to the officer.

"¿Cómo está?" She said.

I blanked. As in every bit of Spanish I'd ever heard or known disappeared from my head. I stared a minute and then started laughing. She started laughing too.

She filled out my entry form, stamped my passport, and waved me through.

I followed the walkway winding around to the point where it funneled out into the street. There were no yellow taxis, only the white with red-striped taxi libres. I'd read an article on the train—apparently a fight between an Uber passenger and a yellow taxi driver had led to the banishment of yellow taxis from the border.

A posted sign at the taxi rank listed the costs to each section of Tijuana. Only 35 pesos to Zona Centro. That should have tipped me off it was walkable.

A driver waved me in. Ten minutes later, he dropped me off on a busy block on Avenida Revolución between 3rd and 4th. I guessed. It's not like there were any street signs, and 3rd and 4th have other names as well. Was I in the right spot? I whipped out my phone...oh. Thanks, TMobile, for slowing my speeds down because I hadn't upgraded to whatever you wanted me to do. Awesome. Super.

Then I spotted the Hotel Lafayette building across the street. I jaywalked easily--there wasn't much traffic at 3 in the afternoon. A doorman checked me into a cute room, where I discovered the wifi wasn't working. Annoying, especially with the deliberately dragging phone signal and the in-room info featuring...Instagram posts. Yay, me.

I left my bag in my room and went out to explore.


robert said...

Nice to see you traveling again for us non-travelers, Marie!

Not sure about on an iPhone, but with Google Maps/Android you can download maps and store them on your phone so you don't need data at your destination.

Bet you wish that technology existed years ago!

Marie Javins said...

That's a great tip. I'm going to Tunisia in a few months, as an add-on to a convention I'll be at in Spain, and it looks like my cell access will be diminished there unless I buy a local SIM. I'll download maps in advance. Thank you.