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The ramblings and observations of a kidney transplant recipient, although not necessarily for that reason.

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A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (recommended by Killer)
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From Hell To Hell and Back to Hell and Back Home Again (Part 2)
Thursday, September 14, 2006
If I was going to take time off work to be in a wedding in Mexico that I didn't really care that much about, I was going to make sure I got a real vacation out of it. A couple months before the wedding, I decided to turn that weekend into a couple weeks off, dedicate one of those weeks to the wedding, and then do some traveling for myself the second week. I invited Jim and Mike (lifelong friends) to join me that second week in Cabo San Lucas. Both agreed and Jim also invited John, another mutual friend. Jim would also be attending the wedding, so the only thing we had to worry about was connecting with the other two after in Cabo.

My plan of attack was to fly to San Diego on Thursday, rent a car, drive across the border to the resort, and Jim would do the same on Friday. We would attend the wedding on Saturday, stay in Rosarito until Monday, drive back to San Diego and catch a flight Monday morning from SD to Cabo. Mike and John would separately catch flights on Monday to Cabo and we would meet at the hotel, spend the week partying and fishing and all fly home together the following Saturday. That plan all fell apart on Tuesday with news of air travel suspension.

Tuesday was, needless to say, emotional. Rushes of indecision came in waves. During that tragic time, could I really justify A) going to a wedding I don't care that much about? B) going to Cabo San Lucas and trying to have a "good" time when death and destruction was on the forefront of the collective world mind? C) crossing the border, not once but twice with rumors of more terrorism, bombing in Afghanistan, borders closing and the thought of being trapped in Mexico for an indefinite amount of time? I (and this was the actual thought and not just a sound bite I picked up on TV) not dare let the terrorists achieve their secondary (arguably their primary) goal. They had already killed thousands, but what they wanted additionally was to scare millions. Change our way of life. Destroy our comfort. I couldn't. I had to carry on, whatever it meant. Would it be an enjoyable trip on any level? Probably not, but if for nothing more than principle I couldn't let it stop me. Not that it would really make a difference to anyone but me, but I would not be lead by my fear. I was going.

So, plan changed....air travel was a HUGE question mark. No one knew when planes would fly again. Would it be hours, days, weeks? Airlines were offering speculation. "Maybe tomorrow" was heard often. "Just show up for your flight like normal (?) and we'll let you know what happens when you get here." Right, that sounds fun. Anyways, I approached it much like Randy and Elena, which with each thing as it comes up let the plan develop as you go along. First thing, get myself to San wait least to San Diego. Tackling the fear of crossing the border would half to happen when I get that far.

My friend Steve, Groomsman #6, tagged along. He was supposed to fly down Friday with his wife and new born daughter Emma, but decided to come alone with all that was happening. Wife and Emma stayed home. Steve would figure out how to get back home later. We drove the 6 or so hours to San Diego on Thursday, parked my car at SD Airport long term parking and rented a car to drive across the border. I didn't really want my car to go across the border, but additionally it was nice to have a car at the airport for either Steve or me as our travel plans would be in question and one of us may need the car there.

I had flown into Mexico before, but this was my first time driving. We didn't really think too much about it. Steve and I were like minded about our principles and how we would let terrorism influence them. There was no real conversation about it, we just crossed and knew we had to. I was surprised to find out that no one really cares if you go TO Mexico. No border stop (going that direction), just a big sign saying "MEXICO". There is no mistaking that you've crossed over, though. After your first visit to TJ, you will never again take for granted the street cleaning and litter removal your government provides.

There are lots of things to buy when you get to Mexico. Even before you reach Tijuana, you have plenty of opportunity to stop and purchase all the sombreros, pinatas, Jesus statues, and Mexican car insurance (which is what most of the cars are stopping for) you ever wanted. The drive from the border to Rosarito takes you through Tijuana, but its mostly freeway, and deprives you of the scenic downtown area. Fear not, though all the treasures of TJ (hookers, strippers, buckets of Corona, cheap leather, cheap sliver, prescription(less) drugs, tiny kids harassing you to buy Chiclets, and cheap dental work) can be had in Rosarito just as easy. I had yet to discover what a pit Rosarito was. For all I knew it was a tropical paradise. Once your through TJ, the coastal drive to Rosarito is deceivingly beautiful, so I still had hopes.

The long drive from SF was confusing. Spending that time with one of my best friends was great, but the fear of crossing the border during the shakiest political climate I had ever experienced was overwhelming. How would the US respond? How would other countries be impacted by and react to that response? Are we going to war? For Christ's sake, Steve just left his one month old baby and wife at home. What the fuck are we doing? The pressure on our minds that had been building throughout the drive was released went we crossed into Mexico, though. After we crossed the border, Steve and I looked at each other and acknowledged conversationally that we were here and there was nothing that we could do about it now. We should just make the best of it and have the best time possible. If Bush closes the borders and we get stuck here, let's hope the place we're staying is as beautiful as it sounds. Let's hope The Oasis Resort is nothing but palm trees and Mayan princesses feeding us grapes by the pool. Yes, let's hope.
posted by othur-me @ 12:47 AM  
  • At 10:12 AM, Blogger Killer said…

    Are you cliffhanging us again?!? Your blog is starting to remind me of 24.

  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger othur-me said…

    Killer - While the cliffhangers are making for a nice effect, I will admit that, more than anything else, they are a result of me just being too lazy to tell the whole story in one sitting.

  • At 3:08 PM, Blogger miss kendra said…

    i've never been to mexico. can you buy minature ponies there?

  • At 3:12 PM, Blogger othur-me said…

    You can buy anything in Mexico for about 1/4 the price here....somethings are harder to get back across the border, though. Miniature ponies may be one of those things.

  • At 6:46 PM, Blogger mjd said…

    Tell me that there is another installment to this adventure. You obviously got back home from Hell. Should we tune in tomorrow?

    By the way, I love your comments on my blog. You always make me laugh.

  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger othur-me said…

    A few more installments will be coming soon.

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