Sunday, December 9, 2012

San Diego Trip Rant

Last Saturday we had to go to our mail box in San Diego to pick up some new credit cards that we needed. We had already dropped off our car in Tucson so we had to get up and back by taxi, bus, foot, and trolley. This is our story.
  1. 7 AM. Taxi ride from the marina to the ABC bus terminal in Ensenada
  2. Bus ride from Ensenada to the terminal in Tijuana near the border crossing
  3. Walk over the bridge spanning the traffic lanes at the border
  4. The line of people to cross the border on foot was daunting. Someone said there were 3000 people waiting in line and it would take over 4 hours.
  5. A taxi driver approached us and offered to take us to Otay Mesa where the line was shorter and we could get across in 20 minutes, or so he said. We took the taxi.
  6. At Otay Mesa there was a mere few hundred people in line so we stood in line for 2 hours before getting across. The reason it took so long is that there was only 2 and sometimes just one US border agent clearing people.
  7. Had a quick lunch at the Bambino coffee shop just across the border (good bagel, cheese, & sausage sandwich).
  8. Took a bus to the Iris trolley station in Chula Vista. We didn't have the required exact change for the bus fare so the driver let us ride for free. (thank you, thank you..)
  9. Bought an all day transit pass and got on the Blue line heading to downtown San Diego.
  10. Due to trolley maintenance the line was closed for a three mile section in National City so we had to get off of the trolley and take a bus across the closed area.
  11. Got back on the trolley at the 8th Ave station heading north to the 12th Ave station.
  12. Got off the Blue line trolley and bordered the Orange line to the Old Town station.
  13. Got off at Old Town, waited 20 min and got on the number 28 bus heading to Shelter Island.
  14. Got off the bus and walked half a block to the Postal Annex store.
The trip north took 7 1/2 hours from the marina in Ensenada to arriving at the Postal Annex store in Shelter Island. After picking up the one envelope with our two new credit cards we walked three blocks to Downwind Marine to buy a quart of varnish and then reversed our route to the border, walked across the border to the bus station in TJ, picked up a quick meal at McDonald's and rode the bus back to Ensenada arriving at the boat a little after 7 PM.

A few observations -

It seems that US Customs is trying to make crossing the border into the US as difficult and unpleasant as possible. They have few border agents and the lines are too frikin' long. Driving south we have seen times when US agents will close 3 lanes of traffic with cones for no other reason than to cause a traffic backup just before the border. It seems that they are making life as difficult as possible for people crossing the border just because they can. Welcome to the US.

There are thousands of people who cross the Mexican-US border everyday to work in the US. The trolleys and buses are packed with Mexicans commuting from MX to jobs in the US. The women are frequently dressed in uniforms from the hospitality industry while the men are wearing work clothes dirty from manual labor.

Although the buses and trolleys are packed full of people and the border crossing lines are long the people are well mannered and courteous. The people look tired and burdened, these are hard working people who get paid near minimum wage for their labor. They should be treated better at the border.

The mass transit system in San Diego is great. It moves thousands of people a day in clean and efficient trolleys and buses. Thank you SD for building such a system.

Never walk across the border north bound in TJ on a Saturday or any other day if possible.

This was an exhausting trip that we will not do again unless a life depends on it.

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