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

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From Hell To Hell and Back to Hell and Back Home Again (Part Siete)
Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sunday morning, I awake after a night of pretending to be the best man at the reception. If you can imagine me in a tux, a bottle of champagne in one hand, spinnin' the maid of honor in circles with the other, on the dance floor shakin' my ass to Doin' The Butt as played by a Mexican cover band, then you obviously don't know me at all. This image with me in it should be a complete conundrum for you. I hate dancing (I know typical straight male thing to say) and I didn't really do much more than sit at the head table talking to people and drinking.

News on TV that morning said planes were still grounded all over the US and no one was sure when they would fly. Calling the airline only lead to a long wait on the phone to hear "Officially your flight is still scheduled, but we won't know if the FAA will lift the flight restrictions before your flight. You should come to the airport and check in as usual."

Jim (off another night of being the human ant hill) and I, completely fed up with The Oasis, ate breakfast and got ready to go. Steve was going to take all the tuxes and drive my rental car back to San Diego, then pick up my truck at San Diego Airport's long term parking and drive it home to SF. I was going to ride with Jim in his car, forego the second leg of my return flight from Cabo and drive home with Jim from San Diego, week in Cabo or not. The plan was set. Tentative, but set...if that's possible.

As Jim and I were loading the car, we realized that we weren't the only people in a big hurry to get out of Mexico. It seemed everyone we had spent the night partying with was loading their cars and peeling out of The Oasis driveway as fast as possible. The combination of wanting to get back to the safety of their homes and hating the resort was enough to make everyone leave each other with little more than a wave goodbye from a rapidly accelerating car. No time for "weren't the flowers beautiful" or "how are you getting home", just the sound of doors slamming and the smell of burned rubber in the parking lot.

We had been warned by experienced Mexico goers that crossing the border on a busy weekend can usually take a couple hours, but since so few people had come to Mexico this weekend it shouldn't be bad at all. As we were headed back to the border crossing, I had remarked to Jim that I was surprised how little traffic there was and it looked like crossing the border may not take that long. By the time we had reached Tijuana I thought, "Man! Traffic is clearer than I thought it would be. Considering how close we are to the border right now, I can't imagine this taking more than 10 or 15 minutes."

As we approached the last 1/8th of a mile, brake lights came on. No big worry though. We could see the gates from where we were and there were 25 or 30 lanes with gates (much like a toll booth). Sweet U. S. of A. was in sight. Jim and I looked at each other and conversed about how quickly this should go.

As you sit there in grid lock, the native Tijuanans walk up and down with various business opportunities for you. Such as, for no money in advance they will simply spray liquid on your windshield from a bottle with something murkier than water in it, proceed to smear said liquid all over your windshield, and then negotiate a price for the washed (washed, but not clean, in fact dirtier than before) windshield based on your satisfaction, allowing you to renegotiate while you turn on your windshield wipers and hit it with wiper fluid so you can actually see out of it. None had managed a dollar out of Jim, not even the guy with no arms who managed to flop himself up on our hood and wipe our windshield with both nubs as he sprawled himself across it. I was impressed, but not a dollar's worth.

Other solicitations involve the sale of gum (a big one for the little tykes to approach you with), blankets, sombreros, toy guitars, puppets, bobble head Jesuses, Margarita glasses, maracas, and various works of ancient Tijuanan art. With all the things there to focus on (or be afraid of), you almost forget that you haven't moved ONE foot in the last 20 minutes. Then you start to do the math and calculate, that at the rate we're going, the last 650 feet of your journey is going to take us 6 hours. And a long 6 hours it will be. Six hours of little kids trying to look as pathetic as possible to get a dollar out of you for anything they might be selling. As you nap in your seat you are constantly awakened by some 6 year old rapping on your window to offer you yet another box of Chiclets.

When we finally got to the US customs officer manning the gate he asked where we were going and where we were from and then said "OK, go ahead." That's it? Don't you want to see an ID? I almost volunteered Jim for a cavity search as a joke, but thought better of it. It was beyond me how it only took us 10 seconds to pass through customs gate, but we managed to only go the distance of a football field in the last 2 hours.

I made us a reservation at a hotel near the airport. One with clean showers and no ants in the bed. Don't doubt for one second I didn't actually ask for these room amenities specifically.

We left The Oasis at 10:30. Later that day we arrived at our hotel in San Diego, only about 25 miles away, 7.5 hours later. Jim and I checked in, went to dinner, had a couple beers in the bar, then sat out on our patio smoking cigarettes for a couple hours, mostly saying nothing to each other, both just happy to be back on home soil. It was a feeling so warm and secure that we might have just decided to skip our trip to Cabo and stay in San Diego for the week, if not for the fact that we had to meet people at our next destination, if in fact we were going to get to fly there at all.
posted by othur-me @ 4:25 PM  
3 Comments:
  • At 9:27 PM, Blogger Jester said…

    I'd love video of the guy with no arms cleaning your windshield please.

    Frankly, with the way things are around here, you would have been better off staying in Mexico.

     
  • At 11:35 PM, Blogger Liz said…

    I have a co-worker who is going to Brazil on business. He has started talking REALLY LOUDLY about his trip and pronouncing it "BRA ZEAL". He also mentioned that on this trip he is going to meet some of our business partners from, get this, Meh He Co.

    I shit you not.

     
  • At 1:46 AM, Blogger othur-me said…

    Jester - the only way money was coming out of my wallet is if a hot topless mexican girl with no arms got up on our hood and tried to clean the windshield.

    Liz - Me-hee-ko is how all the cool people say it.

     
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