Days 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 – San Diego and day trip to Tijuana
Since I’m behind on writing I thought I’d just bulk everything together – also internet is shocking so I guess it would be too hard to try and upload stuff when I can barely check facebook or send emails back home.
Started off this day driving down from Bakersfield with Buns and co. We stopped off in Glendorra (where Kent grew up) since he had to get fingerprints for his Australian visa. We ate lunch at the ‘In-n-Out’ – a burger joint with classic American high calorie foods which tasted pretty good! Afterwards we went to the donut man stand which had the most impressive array of donuts I have ever seen in my life – I think I was literally drooling! Spent the rest of the arvo driving down towards San Diego.
Made a stop off at La Jolla in San Diego – it’s a very beautiful beach area with lots of shops and surfing – unfortunately we didn’t get out here or see much of it but I’m sure next time I’m in America I can add a quick stopover ☺
For our first day we (Buns and I) were still with the fam so we saw the USSR Midway airplane ship for a tour of all the planes it had on board as well as what happened below deck. Very insightful! There are apparently more qualified neurosurgeons than pilots who can land on such boats! You have 30 seconds to land and get the hell out of the way for the next plane to come in! All very impressive technology. Declan being the plane geek that he is taught me all about aircraft, landing and taking off. We even got in a plane simulator and shot at enemies and flipped our ‘plane’ upside down – fun ride! The boat’s interior was also quite impressive – they had a chapel, the mess hall was huge (apparently the lines got so long sometimes you would miss getting food!), it housed 4500 crew, 5 physicians and a whole lot of other technicians! We ate dinner at ‘Seasons’ – a very nice restaurant which changes its menu every week depending on fresh produce, as well as every season to reflect the seasonal changes – their desserts were quite delicious and every single meal was less than 450 calories – so very health conscious which I enjoyed!
Afterwards the fam dropped us off at 10th Avenue and G Street so that we could check into our hostel and let me just say it was the worst hostel I have ever seen. They made us pay extra which was absolutely bullshit, not to mention the staff had no idea what was going on, the kitchen was filthy and the plugs in our room kept sparking. The corridors smelt like weed and they even had a long term resident dog. We spent the rest of the night walking around the Gaslamp district which was alive with music and lights and lots and lots of people! We saw a late night screening of ’22 Jump Street’ which was nice!
The next day the hostel didn’t even have the ‘free breakfast’ which was included in the cost because apparently the Belgiums take it all. It’s shit sugary cereal anyway so was not very impressed at all. We didn’t do much this day. Declan had been feeling very sick so we decided to go to the doctors. We had to wait for 3 hours to find out that Declan had gotten an ear infection which meant that we might not have been able to fly out to Mexico City on the Sunday ☹ Pretty much just walked around the Gaslamp district again and grabbed some berries from the supermarket for dinner.
Declan felt a bit better the next day so we headed off to the world renowned San Diego Zoo to check out all the animals and let me just say it really was world class. Excellent bus tours all around the zoo because it’s so large and a wide variety of animals I’ve never seen before! Saw pandas, polar bears, hippos, jaguars, lots of monkeys, Tasmanian Devils and flamingos! We also went to a miniature train collection because Declan loves everything trains, cars and planes! It was a pretty fun day but also very tiring – we had to stop and rest so that Declan could recover since he still felt very sick. Overall a very cool day! The zoo had this thing called the Skyfari which was like a cable car all over the zoo! Cooked a tonne of pasta which could feed a family of 8 and had that for dinner (not all of it! – do not want to turn into a fat American!!!!).
The next day we took the railway to Tijuana for a day trip. Got lots of advice on the roughness of this place, we were going to step into an entirely different world. Left most of my money at home and made sure that I carried everything in my front pockets with my hands around my wallet and phone – also wore very plane clothes and tried not to look like a tourist. Crossing the border into Mexico was very easy – there’s literally a sign that says Mexico, turn gates and a guy leaning against the wall with a machine gun. Had to cross over a couple of bridges, taxi guys hassling you and shop owners trying to force you to see their goods (most stuff was cheap quality tourist goods which I wasn’t that interested in). Tijuana at first was a very disappointing place. We crossed over this bridge which went over a canal which was full of homeless people who spend their lives there – very dirty and poor looking which are horrible conditions for people to live in ☹
Stopped at a Mexican restaurant to grab some grub thanks to Marco the waiter who told us about free tequila, Coronas and nachos – we were sold. He made us wear sombreros and do our tequila shots so that he could take a photo haha We watched the soccer World Cup final in Tijuana drinking cheap $1 coronas and eating burritos – a once in a lifetime experience. Since Tijuana didn’t really impress either of us we decided to head back to San Diego but I wanted to stop over at a specific craft market which wasn’t on the tourist road. I lead us through dirt covered streets and old ladies begging for money. Eventually came across the market (which was very quiet) and found a leather shop which to me was heavenly! Bought this fantastic leather cross body bag for $33! The same bag I could buy for $200 back in Australia because it’s real leather! What a bargain!
Continued on back towards the border where another guy forced us into his shop. Bought some nice earrings and a beautiful sterling silver necklace. I did however use a dirty tactic to haggle the price down even further! The shopkeeper was pretty desperate to sell some things as it had been a very quiet day. Originally he wanted 60 for the necklace alone. Eventually got down to $30 and since I’m haggle master extraordinaire I secretly whipped out a portion of the money in my wallet which was $24 and told him it was the only money I had left – he didn’t even hesitate to take my dirty offer. No hard feelings though.
It took us 2 hours to cross the border back into America. The contrast is amazing. From US to Mexico you can waltz through, heck you could even bring in illegal items because security is non existent! From Mexico to US it’s a whole other game! Got interrogated by the border security officer who asked questions like; ‘Where are you staying?’, ‘How long have you been in the US?’, ‘Whatyou’re your plans for the next week?’, ‘Did you buy any medication in Mexico?’ – I was mostly just worried that he might want to deport me since I’m a foreigner but no such thing happened! Eventually got back to San Diego and had to prepare for our flight to Mexico City that night. Grabbed some dins and packed our bags – pretty much just chilled for the rest of the day – standing for 2 hours in 30 degree heat was exhausting! Got back onto the trolley towards the border, hopped into a cab (crazy drivers) – cost us $20 to get to the airport, massive scam but that’s what everyone has to pay – and eventually got to the airport! We were roped into line at the immigration office – did not release that we would have to pay $30 to get our passports stamped but oh well – took about 15 minutes and since we were surely late for our flight I tried hustling the Mexican immigration officer to work a bit faster. Finished up and ran to Interjet check in, dropped our bags in exhaustion and in Spanish told him that we were on the 11:58pm flight to Mexico City. He looks at our itinerary for a while and signals us over to look at the paperwork – in his best English he says; ‘wrong date, fly tomorrow.’ I looked at him dumbfounded, ‘what the!’ we are meant to fly this day, I’m sure of it! I dig out my own flight itinerary but there it’s written, we’re flying on the 14th at midnight and not the 13th which is the date we rocked up at the airport. I manage to see the amusement in the situation and just laugh, we were so keen to get to Mexico City that we rocked up a whole day early! Our first travel booboo – stuck in Tijuana, Mexico, what people might consider a dangerous border town, definitely don’t want to get stuck there!
Declan runs off to the Interjet counter to found out what we can do about our amusing situation. Couple of options – pay $220 to get on the flight we wanted to be on, stay in Tijuana for a whole day, sleep in the airport – none of these sound like fantastic options. I almost consider paying the 220 to hotfoot out of Tijuana but my thrifty nature kicks in and stops me from forking out the big monies. We go back to check in and with my biggest teary eyes we ask the employee if there’s anything else we could do. He says that if we come back to the airport the following morning that Interjet has a policy where they can put us on any other flight as long as it’s the same day for no extra cost – so basically we have to be back at the airport at 6:30am! Whilst I was happy to rough it out in the airport for a night sitting in the chairs outside Subway, Declan was still sick and preferred a bed to recover in. So pick up another cab for $20 and make our way to the nearest hotel, costing us $50 for the night but at least it had a free shuttle to the airport and breakfast which consisted of Corn Flakes and greasy donuts. Overall a spectacular day – definitely one for the memory books!
- Picked up some nice goods, specifically a leather bag
- San Diego zoo was top notch!
- Grocery stores have everything and anything
- Drive in pharmacies? Okay
- - finally getting out of that hostel
- - berries are so cheap in this country
- - picked up some good stuff in Tijuana
- Tijuana cabs are overpriced and dodgy
- A lot of homeless people (which is not an issue) but something should be done to help these people out
- interesting that most Mexicans speak very limited English, spending a month in Cambodia where people’s English is considerably better I was quite surprised by the lack of English knowledge, but dealing with the language barrier is kind of fun!
- - Mexican people just want to sell you tequila and cocktails the whole time
- - Nachos in Mexico is not nachos in western culture - authentic Mexican is much much better than the westernised stuff we eat back home