San Diego was the staging point for last minute preparations before heading into Baja. Having had the parents with us for the previous few weeks we felt that we had not even begun to consider let alone prepare for the next portion of the trip. At the best of times we barely have plans for more than a week in advance, and with the parents there was always something more interesting to do than read a guide book.
We gave ourselves two days to get the truck serviced, buy a few bits and bobs including the much loved Endless Breeze fan*. The latter turned into a mini adventure in itself, Adam at South Coast RV Supply bent over backwards to get us one, but when we turned up at the store we were met with apologetic faces, the fan had shown up with the plug destroyed, Adam tried everything he could to fix it with spare parts he had but to no avail. Undaunted they got on the phone to other RV stores in the area and the distributor. The other stores turned up a blank, but the distributor still had some, it’s not normally open the public, but after some coaxing they agreed to let us drive over and collect it ourselves, it was in a place called El Cajon, which I though meant testicles in Spanish.
We also made the shortest visit to a country I have ever made. On some bad intel we decided to head over to Tijuana and get our tourist cards. After sailing by the office and wandering the streets, we were eventually directed back to the customs building we had entered through. All the signs rather strongly seemed to suggest that we were not to enter this way, but none of the machine gun toting soldiers batted an eyelid. We eventually found the small tourist office where two cheerful customs official told us that they could only issue the free 7 day visa and that we would have to do the paperwork when crossing in the truck. They did however explain in detail how to cross the border.
Only one thing to do, head back into San Diego, and treat ourselves to one last American burger, and get a good nights rest before leaving the US.
On the morning of the border crossing we were up early determined to get across the border in time to have a Lobster lunch in Puerto Nuevo. We got to the border a little before 8am, stopped for a vehicle inspection, then made the hard right into the SAT building to get our tourist cards. A little after 8am we were back on the road, the process took about 25 mins, most if which was taken up by Heather having a fight with an ATM machine that refused to give her money. We were not able to get our vehicle import permit at the border, we could have gone to the airport to get it but were assured that it would be easier to wait and do it before taking the ferry to the mainland**
This rapid entry into Mexico did present a small issue, neither of us really wanted a 9:30am lobster lunch, so we decided to stop in Rosarito to wander the beach and grab a few groceries. After killing a few hours we headed for our lobster fest. We were not prepared for all the guys on the street hawking their establishments. We eventually let the view make our decision for us and settled in on a patio overlooking the ocean. Time for an honesty moment, the town has seen better days, buildings are crumbling, the only stores sell tourist tat and whilst the lobster was a decent price it was nothing to write home about, go in eyes open and you won’t be disappointed, just be aware that guidebooks tend to over romanticise the experience.
We then headed to Clam Beach for a couple of days R&R, mostly spent catching up on blog postings, wandering the beach and watching the sunsets. The highlight was meeting Francisco a clam diver. On our first afternoon we watched as he hauled in his days catch, he explained to us how he caught them. And asked if we had ever tried clam ceviche, after he learned that we hadn’t he said that he would bring the ingredients the next day, and prepare it for us. True to his word the next day we prepped our ceviche, Francisco taking care of the clams and me chopping the veggies. It was a perfect dining experience, loading up our tostadas with the freshest ceviche from the tailgate of Francisco’s truck looking out on the ocean that just minutes before our clams had been pulled from. We passed the time chatting about our families, sport and life in Baja.
*will eventually review this, however since buying it the nights have been lovely and cool
** No vehicle import permit is required on Baja