We continue to have our adventures here in Baja. We started off the week with another trip to Tecate. This trip was to get our tourist visas at the Immigration Office. A new president has come into office near in Mexico and Immigration paperwork has all been changed in the last month, cause much confusion for tourists and expats as to where to get needed papers. So, anyway, we had to go to the border to get our visa. Everyone was telling us we would have to cross the border and come back in…knowing the fun of the border crossing I thought there must be a better way that the Mexican immigration office workers don’t cross the border just to get to their office everyday as we set out to explore the situation. Now Tijuana is totally crazy with one way streets and traffic but Tecate which is a little longer of a drive is a small border town. So, Monday off we went to Tecate with a small map in hand showing the location of the immigration office by the border crossing. It was easy to locate the street, but found no parking on the narrow street. Plus we were not sure if it was the immigration office buildings for there were no signs. After driving around a bit we parked a few blocks away and walked to the side of the building we thought must be it and asked a guard. Once in the office that was pointed out to us, we found ourselves in a very small office with a small desk and a uniformed man watching a Mexican soap opera on a little tv on his desk. He looked up without a greeting and Alma explained in Spanish what we wanted. He ask her questions and we had to give him our passports. He then tucked a numbered slip of paper into each and told her we had to go to the teller and pay. This was outside the building and around to a cage with a small window. I would not have thought it was the teller. We paid our $25.00 fee and headed back into the immigration office. The good news in all this was no lines, we were the only customers at the time. The man took the passports with fee receipts and handed us a form to fill out. I found this form kind of odd in that it wanted to know only our name, birth date, address of current hotel and how we came into Mexico, boat, plane or land. You would think they would like to know where you are from and your permanent address. We got our passport visa page stamped with a very loud bang and then ask about handicap parking and accessibility to bring my dad into the office. He asked how old he was and then said he didn’t need a card, at his age he was no threat!
Finished with business we drove back to the town square and found a nice outside café table to enjoy lunch and watch the local activities. The sun was pleasant, the pigeons friendly, and our young face pierced waitress spoke perfect English. She looked like a teen but informed us years ago when she was a child she lived in the States. We were the only customers and enjoyed good service and yummy food in a relaxing atmosphere. This was the same little town that I first drove into Mexico coming from Arizona. It now seems so different from my first impression of it when I felt overwhelmed by crazy driving and stop signs and all the color. It now feels so much more relaxed to me than the other local towns we shop in, both Ensenada and Rosarito have far more traffic, road construction and crazy drivers. I have grown use to the stop signs on every corner of a main street. You just know to stop even if you don’t see a sign and the street is rarely marked to stop, it just the custom to stop.
Other news we had a nice brunch celebration at Bajamar with twenty other women. We are making many new friends, which is really wonderful. I enjoyed teaching at the children's center, they made a colorful holiday banner and learned how to use pastels. We had a Santa come by the house on horse back and wish us Feliz Navidad. Of course we had a few good sunsets and almost daily beach walks, a couple of days were a bit cold and fog filled. The big news flash of the week is thanks to satellite and some friends we now have TV…after a few months without it, we felt like giddy little kids when the installer turned on our flat screen and shown us how to work the remote…we have Los Angeles stations, which does seem incongruous to watch the LA morning traffic report while checking the waves on our peaceful little Baja beach! Let’s hear it for the wonders of technology.