DAY. LAGUNA BEACH TO SAN VICENTE ( MEXICO ). 380km
Well " nosotros estamos en Mexico " !
Yes, are now "South of the border down Mexico way" and " North to Alaska" is now but just a distant memory. Note to self, must delete if from the iPod music store as now culturally inappropriate!
From Laguna Beach we tracked ( I like that term that the pilots use on aeroplanes ! ) down to San Diego. It was a lovely trip down a very affluent coast although it was a surprise to see all the street named in Spanish only. Thus we were crossing Avenidas all the time. Then as we got closer to the border my trusty Liz who resides in my GPS started to lose the plot and insisted the border did not exist. After a twisting and confusing trip thru the motorway networks of eastern San Diego she insisted on taking us on the freeway to Texas! It was a battle of the wills! In the end I had to suspend her for incompetence ! It was a tough call!
The daily grind!
Then we crossed the border. We expected long delays, lots of paperwork and frayed tempers. What a let down ! We were virtually waved thru with a cursory look at us and we did not even have to show our passports. It seems Uncle Sam does not know we have left and Mexico does not know we have arrived!
Then to Tijuana to pick up some Pesos. Just as well as soon we were on a toll road to Ensenada and the pesos were called on.
As we left Tijuana you could see the big border fence under construction. It is higher than the Berlin wall and seemingly just as fortified complete with a 100m No Mans Land on either side. It has at least got legitimacy but it is a stark statement in itself
Then down the coast of Mexico and the stark contrasts start. At the first stop there were a row of portaloos at the side of a beach. It was 5 pesos to use one. At a rough exchange rate of 10 to 1 to the New Zealand dollar that is about 50 New Zealand cents. Then you realize that the chappie probably has about 20 clients a day and he has to buy or rent the portaloos out of these earnings.
We went thru Ensenada which hast the most super gigantonormously big flag on a skyscraper of a flagpole that surely must be the biggest in the world by a long shot. I do not think even Dear Leader in North Korea could trump this one! You would almost be able to see it from the front porch of the White House in Washington DC!
Then down the coast we continue to San Vicente, a dusty small rural town that to our novice eyes seemed very typically Mexican. Of course we are now very knowledgeable on matters Mexican having been here 4 hours !
And talking matters Mexico I was in heaven translating all the road signs that were in Spanish. Suddenly a theoretical language came alive before my eyes. It was a deliciously satisfying feeling although with some of the signs itI was another 10 km down the road before I translated them. Just as well one of them did not say "Deep Pothole" !
But I also came unstuck. I launched into my best Spanish to the pretty little toll collector. Do you know what? I think she spoke Swahili! I could not recognize a single Spanish word. I mumbled " Gracias" as I took my change and left somewhat chastened !
DAY SAN VICENTE TO GUERRERO NEGRO. 535km
A long day but a great one. We wound down the west coast of the Baja then turned inland thru a spectacular rocky desert with oodles of cacti everywhere. So,so Mexican!
The road was good, the big trucks mostly good. Actually the traffic has been very good for us gringos and the trucks have alway waved us through. This waving thru is usually on double no passing lines where you cannot see ahead so you have to implicitly trust a Mexican truck driver whom you have never met and whom you do not to suddenly meet !
We are now almost 1000km south of San Diego and just over half way down the Baja. It is longer than the South Island of New Zealand
Oh and I have found out what happened to my Liz in my GPS. After two days of gibberish and outlandish instructions it would seem that she does have Mexican road maps in her brain. But you have to pay some money to access that part of her brain! And of course you cannot exactly do that at a Mexican roadside stop. So it seems that he who does not pay the piper ( or at least Liz) does not get the tune. Applies to women all round the world I guess!
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