Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Across the Border

I caught the bus to Tijuana yesterday afternoon. It was a newer bus and only half full. Overall a smooth trip.

Of course being cooped up inevitably leads to some annoyances. First, I had my head cheerfully pummeled by a small child in the seat behind me. I wondered why the mother wasn't exerting a little more control - when I turned around I found she was busy on her cell phone with the child standing on her lap. But she only looked about 15 years old so what can you expect. (Seems like lots of very young mothers here.) I escaped the child abuse by moving seats.

At the opposite end of the age spectrum, two old ladies behind me obviously couldn't sleep and carried on a loud gossip session at 2 am. I didn't bother trying to move again since they were still playing loud movies (till about 3 am!). Despite the noise I managed to doze off and on most of the night.

I bought a ticket on the next Greyhound to San Diego. There were huge lineups at the border, both vehicles and pedestrians. The line of people walking across was about 8 blocks long! It took about an hour to make it through the line to the border (and that was in the bus lane). After that it was the quickest, easiest entry into the US I've experienced - no forms, no questions, just a quick scan of my passport. I didn't catch the subtle flick of the fingers waving me on and was standing waiting for questions and had to be told to move on. At which point I started to exit out the open door towards the bus. It seemed logical, but I was told if I went out that door I was going to "get hurt". Border guard humor I guess. So I followed directions and went out the other way. Which left me standing outside the building wondering how to find the bus, which was nowhere to be seen. Luckily I spotted a fellow passenger and he told me to walk a block that aways. Which I did, and found the bus station. But I'm not sure how you're supposed to know this - no signs or instructions anywhere that I could see. It always amazes me how much people assume you know what to do. (a lesson for software design!)

Back on the bus it was a short trip to San Diego. Back to the land of freeways and automobiles. Certainly you see more vehicles here than you see people in Baja. Emerging from the bus terminal I was back in America. I felt some empathy for the Mexicans who were now in a foreign land as I had been. It must seem as unfamiliar to some of them as Mexico is to me. (Not counting the Mexicans that spend much of their time on the US.)

I have to admit it's a little bit of a relief to be back on "familiar" ground. I have to remind myself that I can actually talk to people here, and they'll understand me. What a concept! (Not that I actually talk to people any more than strictly necessary, regardless of language!)

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