X-ray Wait Times; First Casualty; Police Story; Lost in Translation
Luckily, I have managed to latch on to the Estero Beach Hotel’s Wi-Fi, so I’ll do a couple of posts while we are here at the RV Park next door.
We were all gathered ready to leave by 7:30 this morning:
We reached the San Ysidro border crossing at 8:00, lined up in the holding area, then had to endure the agonizingly slow process of having each rig scanned by a huge X-ray machine. While I stayed with Lucy, Jeannine took our documentation into the Customs building to get all the appropriate stamps, returning just in time for me to take my turn in the X-ray machine. We had to leave the vehicle while this was being done. Luckily, we were at the end of the first group to go through, but the process had already taken 1 1/2 hours. We were then directed to another parking area where we waited another 10 minutes before a young female agent showed up at my window and said “Bye bye”. We then joined the rest of the first group waiting down the road and started heading toward Ensenada, thankfully detouring around Tijuana. We eventually ran into some road construction, with a row of big orange pylons narrowing traffic to one lane, and narrow was the operative word. I managed to thread a path between the pylons and the rumble strip on the right edge until I discovered, too late, that one pylon had magically wandered about a foot further into my lane than all its companions, and made a snatch at me on the way by.
An hour or so later, we pulled into our first rest stop to wait for the second group to catch up to us;
At this time I discovered that my brush with the pylon had not left me unscathed; it had broken off the plastic clip that held the vent door covering my electric water heater panel closed, so the door itself is somewhere back in the construction zone, no doubt being run over again and again by semis and buses. No serious damage, except to my ego, as my fellow RV’ers joyfully pointed out that I had the smallest rig, but suffered the only damage. This, however, was not the end of it; no, I also had the distinction of being the first to be pulled over by the Policia. This actually happened as I was slowing down approaching the rest area. There was a police car parked on the shoulder a couple of hundred yards before the exit, with his circus lights merrily turning. I slowed as I approached him, but he waved me by, then immediately pulled in behind me, lights still flashing. As I watched him in the side mirror, his arm snaked out in the familiar “pull over” gesture. He followed me into the rest area. I stopped and put down my window. He appeared beside me, and with a wide smile, stuck his hand through the window for me to shake. The following conversation took place in Spanish:
“Hi, my friend, how are you today?”
“Fine, thank you.”
“”How much does this (meaning Lucy) cost?”
“XXXX dollars, but that is in Canadian dollars, worth less than American.”
Break here for a good belly laugh on his part.
“Actually I don’t own it, my bank does; the bank loves us.”
Pause for an even bigger belly laugh.
“Well, it is beautiful. I wish I had one. Have a great day, have a good trip, and good luck.”
They returned to their car, pulled around me, and both he and his partner waved madly at me as they sped away. Welcome to Mexico.
The second group finally showed up after a long X-ray wait; they got pre-empted by a couple of buses full of passengers, all of whom had to pull out their luggage and have it all examined before our group could take their turn.
Eventually we all headed south again for Ensenada:
After a bit of a dicey drive through downtown Ensenada, we finally got settled into the RV park, which is quite lovely:
After an impromptu happy hour with a group of neighbours, we headed over to the hotel restaurant for a good meal and watched the sun set on a busy and interesting day: