Judy and Peter US and Cuba 2017 travel blog

We were up early to shower, dress, pack and head out the door with Erica as she is dropping us at the trolley station to travel to Mexico. We said goodbye to Kevin and Kona and hit the road. The highways into the city were pretty busy however no worse than home in the direction we were travelling. Erica dropped us near the Civic Centre station and with instructions to make sure we messaged them to let them know we'd arrived at our destination. As we were quite early, couldn't book into our accommodation until 2:30 and the journey to Mexico is only about an hour, we wandered off for a coffee. Found the only coffee shop we've seen that has very small cups of coffee.....no large, super large or super duper large. Only small. Bit of a shock.

We then walked to the trolley station and bought our tickets - 2 X $1.25, the seniors' rate to travel to Tijuana. Sounds crazy, doesn't it, particularly as the journey was about an hour. We had an uneventful journey and after slighting from the trolley, walked to McDonalds across the tracks to have some breakfast and use the bathroom facilities. We had to pay a quarter each to use the loo.

It was then time to make the border crossing. Kevin had given us a bit of a run through yesterday on Google Earth (or so,etching) so we had a bit of an idea what to look for so proceeded along the walkway with signs to Mexico. Along the way we saw a heap of small animals that looked like squirrels so stopped to take photos as did heaps of Asian visitors who were making the same trek. We joined the queue at the border post, passports ready and u sure whether we needed a visa. After we waited quite some time, one of the officials decided we could join a different queue as there were several large tour groups in front of us. Our immigration officer was very friendly and helpful, we filled in an entry form, he stamped our passports and our walk into Mexico was complete. Well almost, we then ran the gauntlet of all the taxis drivers waiting in the other side. Even though we knew we needed to taxi to our accommodation, we wanted to chill out a little before we started haggling for one. The taxis aren't metered so you need to agree on a price before getting in one. After we'd watched the world go by for a while, Pete agreed on a price with a driver and we were off after giving the driver the directions I'd printed off the Airbnb website.

We arrived early at our accommodation and knew no one would be home until 2:30pm so sat in the cool of the garden, took turns wandering down the street and I found a shop and bought a few bananas and some water. There was a bakery making soft tacos, tostadas and whatever they use for other Mexican dishes and they smelled delicious. Looks like they make them for the whole sale market.

Our host turned up as expected at 2:30 however a couple of guys who were doing some maintenance work on the house had already let us in at her direction. Bibi gave us a glass of wine and made us a small snack while asking what we wanted to do with the day, the evening, getting to the airport etc. We asked her to organise a taxi for us to the airport in the morning and said we'd have a lie down before deciding the rest of it. The house is Mexican style and a lovely home with a lot of character. It's built over many levels with one area open about 3 stories.

When we surfaced ready to hit the streets, Bill (interesting Mexican name), Bibi's husband had returned home. He'd been to the US shopping. We chatted with him (he's a general surgeon) for quite some time and he showed us a map of the world with the places he has travelled dotted with red pins, places he wants to go marked with black pins (Australia is one of them) and 'wonders of the world' in green. He also offered for his chauffeur to drop us downtown to have some dinner and a walk around.

We took him up and about 7pm, Bill, Bibi (she was off to take a meditation class...she also has a TV show she hosts to do with various medical and physiological areas), Peter and I were driven downtown by the chauffeur. We dropped off Bill and Bibi on the way and then we were let out on Avenue Revolution.

We walked around for a while checking things out....a tout encouraged us into an entertainment venue and we had a margerhita. There was us and two other people in a very large noisy venue. We continued walking along the street and found somewhere to have some dinner and a beer....50 cents for a half litre. Our waiter told us Monday night is a very quiet night although there still seemed to be a reasonable number of people on the street.

Once we'd finished dinner, we decided to head home so negotiated for a taxi using US dollars as we had very few pesos. It could have been interesting if we didn't have our Airbnb directions with us as the driver had no idea where to go. Even with the directions, we still had to help him towards the end of the journey. Not bad for two Aussies in the dark who'd only been to the house once. Off to bed.

There's a very big difference between Tijuana and San Diego so it's easy to understand why people try to sneak into the US. It's very dirty and run down, the roads are pretty bad and things in general look very poor. The house we are staying in is very nice and overlooks the city which is quite hilly however the neighbourhood is pretty run down. It's very different looking out over the city from here compared to looking over San Diego.

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