City: Ensenda, Baja, Mexico
Miles ridden: 106
Cumulative miles: 13605
Today is the day, we cross the border to Mexico. After hearing all these stories about Mexico we revised our planning on which border crossing we would take and which way we are traveling through Mexico. We adjusted the border crossing from Ciudad Juarez, which is the most violent area, to Tecate, a small border crossing in California. We will travel through Baja and cross to the mainland by ferry. We were a bit nervous but got on our way around 9:30, last pictures from us in the US, at least in 2012.
We arrived at the border to Tecate around 10:30. We stopped on the US side, looked for a migration office to hand over our I-93 form. Well, it was Sunday and the office was closed, bummer. Luckily, there was a very nice border patrol woman, which took our forms just outside of the office. Great, that went well, now we can cross the border to Mexico.
Well, there are no pictures of us crossing the border, only from the border itself. After handing the form over to the US authority, we hopped on our bikes and drove through the Mexican checkpoint, overcoming some of these half metal balls glued to the street which makes the back tire jump left and right. After passing the first metal speed bumps without dropping the bike we approached a boom gate, which magically opened, and there were more of these speed bumps. So we mastered them as well, looking at the road searching for other obstacles. All of the sudden we realised that we were in Mexico, but…
What happens to all the paper work to get our visa and to import our bikes? So we turned around and drove back to the border, parked our bikes at the exit and locked everything. Sigrid stood by the bikes and I approached one of the guys with the machine gun. Luckily he spoke a bit English and showed me where to go to get the immigration paper done. I went to the immigration office and the guy went out of his way to help us to get the paperwork done and fees paid. He also pointed us in the right direction for our temporarily vehicle import. The biggest problem for the vehicle import was to get a copy of our just acquired tourist visa. It was Sunday and most of the shops were closed. Across the road we found a pharmacy that had a copy machine as well. We got everything sorted at the border and we don’t have to do any paperwork later in La Paz. It took us two hours and we were on our way. I must admit, the first impression of Mexico was that people are really nice and try to help if they can. Mexico, here we are 🙂
We had a bit of difficulty to find our way out of the city, since the GPS was not very accurate and nor were the street signs. After a short scenic tour through Tecate we were on our way to Ensenada.
We found a nice colonial accommodation with a pool in downtown (CBD) Ensenada with secure bike parking. Sigrid had to relax in the pool before we had a short walk on the boardwalk.
It was Sunday afternoon and there were plenty Families on the boardwalk, which created a pleasant atmosphere. So we had a look at this huge Mexican flag. In Lonely Planet they suggest that it would be visible from Space, not sure about that, but it was huge.
We also found some sea lions relaxing in the afternoon sun – any similarities to Sigrid at the pool, hmm, not sure 😉.
On a close by lawn area we found these three large head sculptures. Not sure about the importance of those guys, I guess I have to look that up a bit later.
Not speaking Spanish has its own challenges, simple signs like this leave you puzzled.
Obviously there was something prohibited, so we took a picture and Google translate showed us that we should keep of the grass. 🙂
Ok, next time 😉
Well, we had similar problems on the highway, but between the two of us, we mostly had some idea what these signs mean – well more of an idea than at the grass one… In the evening we went to the restaurant across the street and celebrated our first day in Mexico with a nice glass of local red wine and some local food, hmmm, it was good! Tomorrow we will travel 200km to a hotel that got good reports in the trip advisor. Not sure how to find it since there is no address, just a town name…