Monday, 30 January 2012

San Diego Day 5 30/01/2012

Success! I'm up at 0800 which would give me ample time to do more things today. Ran into Natalie on the way out; she'd rented a bicycle and was going to cycle to Balboa Park and asked if I wanted to go. It sounded like an awesome plan but I had already been there yesterday and Tijuana beckons! I've got a few more days to try cycling around the state.

Kicked off the day with this awesome starter: The Smashburger Classic.

Words won't do this justice.

I bought a day-pass at US$5 which gets me unlimited rides on the trolley. Traveling to San Ysidro - the last trolley stop at the US-Mexico border - one-way costs US$2.50 anyway, so this is gonna be worth it.

To get over, I have to cross this bridge.

There is a very strong Mexican flavour in the air at San Ysidro already.

I virtually trail these people (they look like family) the whole way. The man in the middle is one heck of a beefcake. These guys can get really huge.

Some views from the bridge.


I always find it surreal to stand at the separating line between two nations.

After the bridge and going through some rotating gates, I was in Mexico. The really dodgy thing was that nobody checked my passport. I was quite worried this was a mistake and that I'd get detained for trespassing or something. But I was too excited to find someone to clarify this at the same time, so in the end I just went ahead.

Yes, the pictures simply say it: the sun was scorching hot! Yet, the air is very cold - if you stood under a shade you'd be freezing in a jiffy.

To get to the main street of Tijuana where everything's happening, I had to head to that arch in the distance.

Another bridge to cross. Getting to Tijuana was quite complicated and I don't quite remember how I did it.

These feet and shoes have served me very well.

Basically, welcome to Tijuana!

Tijuana is so distinctively different from San Diego! It feels like I'm back in Southeast Asia. The streets are colourful and noisy and people are everywhere. I love the chaotic atmosphere here. It makes one wonder how Tijuana and San Diego can be side by side and yet be so different.

Just the kinds of modest but hearty coffeeshop houses I'd relish settling into.

Many mobile fruit and food vendors like these line the main road named Avenida Revolución where everything's happenin'~

That shop used the band Kiss's logo to advertise their wedding dresses haha.

I failed to catch the name of this sweet bread-like thing (it sounded like odietas but there's no such thing).

But I know what this is! Tacos de carnitas - or literally meat taco. This is some dope fried pork and whatever-else meat. It's like eating another style of roasted pork.

Yeah they sell piñatas like crazy in almost every streetside shop - every party needs one around here I think!

Passed by this church. And then I entered a red light district after rounding a corner by accident. I know this is one of those "pics or GTFO" moments but I really didn't dare to snap pictures because chicanos look very badass. It's interesting how the church, commerce and prostitution are in such close proximity in this place.

I finally settle into Restaurant Tita for coffee and fajitas.

You, unfortunately, will not know from the poor quality picture how the cheese is oozing out and how good it tastes!

I knew these guys were going to extort money from me but I let them perform a song for me anyway. My US$5 proceeds were pro bono for the public because you can't soundproof music out on the streets.

You just simply walk into USA.

After about 5 hours, I was done soaking up the main touristy area of Tijuana! I'd do more here, like maybe stay overnight, if I had more time.

No idea what the graf means, but it's huge. Makes the giant drain look like cardboard.

I return back without any issues, thankfully (which leaves me puzzled about the lax security regarding entry into Mexico from San Ysidro). I settle into my hostel and, seeing that it is only 3.30pm, I head out again, this time to maximise the value of my one-day trolley pass. I wanted to explore some neighbourhoods.

(By the way Greg left for his noon time flight, so when I returned there was nobody in my shared dorm but me. It stays this way for the rest of the day, so I've technically got my privacy and a place like this to stay for pretty cheap!)

I ended up all the way at Massachusetts Avenue for no particular reason other than that the Bee Gees song Massachusetts came into my mind when I saw it on the places listed along the trolley line. I dropped off at a few stops too before that just to do some exploring. Some neighbourhoods were interesting enough with mini-malls. But Massachusetts Avenue was just bahhhh-rinnnnn, so I headed back towards town area.

I wanted to check out Old Town and probably should have done that earlier because it is supposedly an attraction with some historical significance but, coupled with a few trolley breakdowns, it was 5.50pm when I finally arrived and it was already dark. So, today ends early here! And it's the first time I haven't ingested some alcohol on this trip.

Tijuana was simply fabulous. I'm going to check out accommodation rates for the beach areas, Pacific Beach and La Jolla. San Diego boasts 70 miles of beach but according to the guides it can be costly there. If I can find some cheap hostels or motels, then it's up north I go tomorrow, and good bye to Lucky D's!

I'll regrettably have to pass on Las Vegas for this trip. Technically, I could still head down but one rushed day there will be quite pointless. One for the future!

On a little aside, I've never bought lip balm before my whole life. But by this time my lips were so chapped they were slightly bleeding so I finally got myself one haha.