Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Back in the US Los Angeles, CA, Thursday, 16 July 2009 10:24am

We watched the border wait times on the Customs and Border Patrol website, hoping that the crossing at San Ysidro would clear up. Unfortunately, it listed 55 minute estimated wait times all morning.

We had a relaxed morning around Ensenada. A cruise ship had just disgorged its passengers on the city, so we got to see the tourist drag in full swing. Guys in sombreros and fake moustaches hawking hammocks (Chuck bought the gothest hammock ever: black and purple stripes), kids selling chicle, all of the drug stores open and trying to entice people with cheap medications. We managed to find a couple stores that were selling actual well-crafted items, not the cheap touristy stuff, and we picked up a few more souvenirs.

We checked out of our hotel around 11 and, after fueling up on Pemex one last time, hit the road. The Mex 1D toll road was pretty and fast. Posted speed limits reached 110km/h! The signage became a little confusing near the border, and it seemed like we'd taken a wrong turn when people started going into reverse on the highway. But that seems like it's actually normal for the San Ysidro crossing.

Near the border, maybe a third of the road is taken up by people standing around trying to sell things to the cars waiting to cross. Churros, potato chips on a stick, sushi (!), drinks from coolers, and totally random pieces of bric-a-brac.

The Border Patrol didn't hassle us too much, when we finally got up to the front, but just past the checkpoint I had my first motorcycle problem. Apparently idling for an hour with my GPS on had killed my battery, and when I turned the bike off to talk to the CBP agent, it wouldn't start again. Happily, Chuck gave me a push start, and we were on our way.

We stopped for a late lunch in San Diego, at one of Chuck's favorite restaurants... a taco stand. Apparently he hadn't gotten enough in Mexico. We parted ways in Culver City, where I went to visit my friend Irina, and Chuck continued on.

Irina showed me the hip, happening new strip near the movie theatre in Culver City, and I finally got to meet her cat Chip, who I've heard so much about.

Return Day 4: Map 222 mi (dismissed as coincidence)