Roadtrip To Ensenada

Autumn and I talked about trying to fit in a quick trip to Mexico while we were on vacation in San Diego. We thought about going by ourselves, but it would have been better if we could con Q into being our South of the border guide. He went to Tijuana often for everything from simple shopping to having his teeth fixed. He spoke some Spanish and I felt if he took us we would probably get into a lot less trouble. This was correct thinking to a point, but I didn’t take into account what it would be like trapped in a car for hours with Autumn’s stepmother.

Q was cool with the idea of going to Ensenada for a weekend. Autumn decided it would be best if her stepmother drove the car because Q was blind in one eye, and deaf in the other ear. His driving was currently a little below par so Autumn was less nervous about her stepmom being behind the wheel. I wasn’t complaining, it was nice of them to agree to drive us there and back. Before leaving town we had to stop at a drive-thru Mexican auto insurance place and get insured for two days worth of travelling. That seemed strange to me but Q said it had to be done. After that was paid for, we were on the road and crossing the border.

First we passed by the Northern end of Tijuana on the freeway. I have never smelled such putrid air before in my life. I mean, it was awful. The air reeked of raw sewage mixed with the pungent stink of death. I looked out onto the hillsides leading away from Tijuana proper to see shanty towns. Dwellings were built out of trash, anything people could find. I felt depressed as our car passed through and those garbage towns faded from view.

We stopped for lunch in a tiny coastal town that was only a couple blocks long and wide with just a few solid two story buildings. The roads leading around each block were dirt, there was no pavement at all. There were concrete or wooden sidewalks in front of most buildings, but those abruptly ended at the edge of each structure as if they were a part of the building or house themselves. Some of them had a gap of a few feet between each place and I had to step up or down to get a foothold. None of them seemed to be at the same level as the previous one. As the four of us stretched our legs we were hassled by doormen trying to get us to come into their restaurant. Some of these guys were using a loud in-your-face kind of approach that pissed me off. It reminded me of pushy strip club doormen, in a way. Q and Autumn’s stepmom wanted to have lobster with lunch so we ended up going into a joint that claimed they had the best lobster in town. That was amusing since there was only one other establishment there claiming the same thing. We ate, and I hoped I wouldn’t get sick. During our meal Q thought it would be cool to have the house mariachi band play a serenade for his wife, which they did. Then we finished our meal and continued South on a coastal highway to Ensenada.

The road we were on was a toll freeway, every so many miles we had to stop at a checkpoint and hand out a few coins to an attendant. One of the toll collection plazas we hit was particularly overwhelmed with traffic and we got caught sitting for twenty minutes before we got clear of the mess. I looked over to the side of the road where about a half dozen Mexican soldiers were combing through a brand new Cadillac sedan. The owner was a white haired overweight American who was wearing an obnoxious hawaiian shirt. He was standing alone many feet away from his car but under the watchful eye of a soldier. The soldier had an M16 slung over his shoulder with the muzzle end of the rifle pointing towards the ground. He was so short that the weapon’s barrel was almost scraping against the pavement. That made me laugh.

Now it just so happened that on this particular weekend there was a huge bicycle race going on with riders dashing on a course between Tijuana and Ensenada. Thousands of people were participating in the race and Mexican police had blocked off one of the two highway lanes leading into Ensenada for the exclusive use of cyclists. This caused a massive traffic jam which backed up cars for miles. We were stuck in stop and go mayhem for hours. It fully sucked. That was when Autumn’s dingbat stepmom decided to take matters into her own hands and truly become the Ugly American.

She began cutting out of the single open lane to drive on the shoulder into the cyclists’ race lane, then attempting to cut back into traffic. To me she didn’t seem to have any plan in mind, she cut in and out of both lanes totally at random. As she tried to get back into the traffic lane she would force her way between vehicles which made Mexican drivers ultra-angry. The first few times she pulled that crap I politely asked her not to but she went ahead and continued doing it anyway. I started giving her some lip about it. Still, she didn’t listen to me and then things started getting sketchy. We narrowly missed getting into numerous fender bender accidents and each time Mexican drivers came unglued with rage at her. They were shouting out their windows at us, flipping us off and tried to keep her from getting back into the lane. It was totally fucked. I’m surprised nobody got out of their cars to kill us all.


~ by factorypeasant on October 11, 2005.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: