Monday, March 31, 2008

Mexicali - Day One

I crossed the US border into Mexico 5 hours ago. So far, there hasn't been too much happening; except for witnessing three policia on dirt bikes with machine guns casually slung over their shoulders busting some ne're-do-well as I was stopped at a street light. Not only did I get to see Mexicali’s finest in action, I learned a new word! Now I now know 4 words (gracias, ALTO, salida et Policia); look at me, I’m almost fluent :)

Driving into Mexico is easy. You just drive through and wave at the customs officer. There's no passport control, no strip searches, no questions about why you're entering the country, you just drive. The funny thing (I always find this stuff funny) is that there were three signs on the US side of the border warning the errant driver that they are approaching the last place to turn around before leaving the US. Half of me wanted to stop and edit the signs:

Sign #1 - This is your last opportunity to make a U-TURN before leaving the US
Sign #2 - OK, this is really your last opportunity to make a U-TURN before leaving the US
Sign #3 - Yes, We realize that we told you that the last two turns were your last opportunity to turn around before leaving the US, but this really, really is your last opportunity to turn around before leaving the land of your birth and venturing into the uncharted nation to south of our sacred border.

Once across the border and past the customs officer, I did have to stop and figure out how to get a work permit from immigration (always keeping things legal). Fortunately, two of the people traveling with me had gone through the process before; else, I would have never figured it out on my own (I really need to learn some Spanish).

Driving in Mexico is a trip, although much calmer than other parts of the world. The road infrastructure isn’t in the best of shape and there is only a hint of lane markings from a bygone era on many of the streets; but getting around is no worse than trying to navigate through mid-morning Manhattan. That is, assuming you know where you’re going. So far, I haven’t driven anywhere without one of my colleagues feeding me directions from the right seat.

We’re hosting a dinner tonight for the Mexicali staff at some Steak Restaurant they selected. That should be a lot of fun. With any luck, I’ll get in a run in the morning.

Take care


Jamie said...

You definitely get to do some fun traveling! Awesome. Enjoy the trip and hope you get a run in.

Deene said...

sounds like a hoot! hope you're having fun despite the language barriers.

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

You know how to order a beer, right? Your good.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

good luck!!!

Ewen said...

Could you have also squeezed in "God Bless America" on sign #3?

Josh said...

Just guessing that GPS enabled driving directions wouldn't work, eh?