13 April 2012

tijuana travel bag

Each trip to TJ I learn how to blend in more and more.

My spanish is ok at the beginning,
but it's obvious I'm güero the more I speak.

Why would this matter?
Well after the short walk across the border,
the goal is to find a taxi that will take me the couple miles to the dentist,
to an area known as Gato Bronco - Wildcat.

The first taxi ride my wife and I went together,
the cab was $12 each way.
At the time we were unfamiliar and just wanted to get there safely.

The second time I went by myself,
and I'll admit it was a little nerve-racking cause you never know.
That doesn't help out making deals with taxi drivers,
so the cab rides were about the same,
 a bit less cause I used the white/orange cars instead of the newer white/green/gold ones.

It had been a couple weeks since the last appointment,
and this time I was prepared with the help of some co-workers tips.
The main tip was to use PESOS.
The taxi driver US$ conversion could be double the PESO cost.
Another tip was the price shouldn't be more than $4-6 each way.
It was obvious I was just another American visitor.

plastic grocery bag

Well there was another more visual aspect I had noticed.

I usually don't have time to clean up too much.
I'll wear my work clothes if they're not too grungy.
(not that they are any different then my normal clothes!)

In the US I use a backpack.
Like a woman's purse,
there's stuff in there that doesn't need to be in there.
-it looks like something good to steal.
-the border patrol may go through it on the way back.
-looks like I'm smuggling something.

The key accessory that many of the border walkers,
and the locals use...
The plastic grocery bag.
Some use them to carry groceries,
but many use them to carry their belongings.

tijuana travel bag

I bring the bare minimum down there.
Passport, phone, drivers license and a sharpie are in my pants.
No wallet - cash is divided into different pockets.
I'll usually bring a water bottle,
and lately the border lines were so long (<hour),
a book helps to pass the time.

The sack is the perfect carrier for a couple items.
A double sack with a book is also a good swinging weapon!
Hey you never know!

Well I screwed up on Wednesday and went down a day early by mistake.
I ended up going back on Thursday.
All I can say is that my plan worked - twice.

Right off the bat,
the taxi rides down were 50 pesos or $5,
(the conversion was still on the high side!)
The trip back to the border is trickier,
as I've got to flag a cab off the street.
The trip up - 15 pesos - a bit more than $1!

Yesterday I met a mexican coworker/friend down there for some micheladas,
and he laughed at my bag idea.
Said I looked like a homeless guy.

Hey I'm just trying to blend in!



  1. Your Mexico trip posts are still my favorite. You can make me laugh every time.

  2. Hey AJ,
    next time you need dental work,
    come on down!

  3. haha. mexiCAN! tie that bag on a tree limb over your shoulder and your golden!