The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Monday, April 20, 2009

We liked Mexico so much, we went TWICE!

Day 2 in San Diego was our first full day in San Diego. The main reason for us choosing San Diego was because on my "Dew's Must-Dew-Before-I-Die List" (over on the side-bar there... see?) is a list of things that I plan to accomplish in my life, including the now accomplished PASSPORT STAMP. Since Costa Rica sold out right under my nose and the Jamaica trip sold out immediately after that (all on last, I went to the next best thing... San Diego, near the border, and not way up near Canada, which might have been a little too cold at this time (Niagara Falls was definitely on the list too!). Actually, if cruise schedules had worked out, we would have taken a 3 day cruise to Mexico out of San Diego, but that brought us back too late to catch the very limited flight deals. It was a real slap in the face to come face to face with the cruise ship we weren't taking. Oh well... we had a blast anyhow. When we go up, we drove into Old Town where we caught the MTS Blue-line (a red trolley that travels on the street and people walk right up to it, like a bus, and lots of Padres fans headed to the season opener shared the ride with us...) We only had one incident on the trolley with a homeless man, sitting beside us, who decided to make a mask from his jacket and put his finger in his jacket, so he could fall asleep looking armed and dangerous, thereby, protecting his disintigrating grocery bags and their contents.... and we traveled down to San Ysidro, which is the last stop before the border, and it is literally right at the border. One thing that struck me about San Diego besides the packed in homes and businesses was the beauty and charm. Everything was so beautifully landscaped and cared for... the trees were all blooming. Daisies grew wild all over the place. Spring is definitely a beautiful time to visit!... and then, there were always the rule breakers...

Well, we had done a lot of research, and it appeared that the faster and cheapest way was to take the trolley to get to Tijuana, so we wouldn't have to sit in the car line at the border, and the trolley was only $5 for an all day pass. Awesome! We rode down to the border stop, and followed everyone else (since we were CLUELESS... but didn't want to look that way) over a foot bridge which passes over the border patrol. It was a short walk, and when we finally got into Mexico, we were surprised that no one cared. In fact, it was interesting to see the traffic flowing into Mexico...... versus the traffic flowing into the United States... We walked right in and it didn't matter... there were guards posted to prevent the opposite direction of traffic, but the metal bars (like at a subway station) forced only one direction. We walked into Mexico and followed the flow of traffic right out of Mexico... there were no signs saying, "THAT WAY BACK TO THE US...>>>"... but there was the "Can you hear me now" guy... we just followed the crowd. When we made it back to the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Office without seeing anyone who might be in the capacity to stamp our passports, we were a little frustrated, so we asked the CBP agent where we might get a stamp, and he barked that they don't do that anymore. Well, EXCUUUUSE US! We weren't happy with that answer given my "Dew's Must-Dew-Before-I-Die List", so we cleared customs and walked right back into Mexico, with a plan to ask the tourism office. As we walked into Mexico this time though, an official looking man (badge, government ID, gun...) was standing outside la oficina de Imigración y Naturalización just to the right (and another office to the left) just inside the Mexican border. We asked him kindly if he knew where we might be able to get our passports stamps. He asked for our passports and disappeared into the building... AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I looked at my wonderful groom and asked "Do you feel a little uncomfortable having handed your passport to some man standing by an official looking building our tickets back to the United States?!" He nodded. "Yeah, just a little nervous". UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE CENTURY. Prior to leaving the US, we had contacted several loved ones to inform them of our plans telling them we would make contact when we returned and to start contacting the embassy if that did not happen. When I contacted my dear son, he said "Tell me if you see any Mexican drug wars going on. (laugh)" Eek. It was a tip mentioned in the Travel Alert for Tijuana. Anyways, the few seconds that felt like hours came to an end as the kind Imigración agent returned our STAMPED passports. My dear son thought it was particularly strange that I wanted a stamp, advising that I should have gotten a taco, rather than a stamp. We did get a hand-cranked churro on the way back out. Made it through CBP without incident, having passed the test offered by the agent... tell him my new groom's birthdate. Thankfully, I passed. lol.

He hopped back on the blueline and headed up to the port to check out the ships we had seen on the way up, including the cruise ship we weren't on... ... had a famous fish taco... checked out some local art (look... a blue bottle-nosed anemometer)... the local architecture... and headed over the infamous Coronado Bay Bridge... to check out the way overpriced and apparently quite dangerously toxic... seriously, the sign was posted at the same entrance where all the guests enter the yet beautifully landscaped... Hotel Del.
We ate at a charming pizzaria in Little Italy... and staying at a Bed & Breakfast with an amazing garden.
Aside from all that, last night was a horrible night in Alabama with a couple of reports of lost lives, as a tornadic night event roared through central Alabama and north Georgia, including another Woodstock tornado, which left some injuries. Storm Reports. It looks like I spent the morning in a slight risk, but that has drifted eastward from here.

Have a great day!

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