For my last real weekend in SD before graduation madness begins, Alex and I took a trip to Las Gaviotas, Mexico for the weekend. Las Gaviotas is essentially a gated community about 10 minutes south of Rosarito. We rented a house for the weekend with a beautiful beach view. The other people who rented houses in the complex seemed to fit into one of three categories: cute couples, families with babies, and surfers trying to get wasted…and occasionally surf. Alex and I fell somewhere between the first and last category. Yes, we’re cute and we’re a couple. We also brought surfboards…But instead of actually surfing, we drank and talked about how shitty the surf was (or something like that).
Since I moved to San Diego to start UCSD, I have been under the impression that Mexico is NOT safe. If you go to Mexico, you will get kidnapped, held for ransom, and die. I’m pretty sure the first email I got from UCSD after my acceptance letter was one spelling out those imminent series of events should I try to cross the border.
I felt unsafe approximately 0% of the time. Sure, crossing the border is kind of unsettling, but I didn’t feel in danger. I was just shocked to see the actual fence dividing wealth from poverty. Despite having the exact same geography, the multi million dollar homes you find on La Jolla Shores were replaced with ramshackle RVs right on the Mexican coast. In the words of ethnic studies majors at UCSD, “The juxtaposition between the free flow of goods across the border thanks to NAFTA against the restricted flow of bodies reinforces how the border is a social construction” (Was that good Evi???)
50 minutes after leaving Alex’s place in San Diego, we were in our adorable house in Las Gaviotas. I am still convinced weather.com told me it was going to be 80 degrees, but it was actually really cold, cloudy, and windy. Instead of working on my bronze goddess tan, we spent our weekend in the Jacuzzi, drinking mimosas, and sitting on the beach in sweaters (Alex’s sweaters of course. Why would I ever think I would need a sweater in Mexico??!!)
Side note: I brought more clothing for two days in Mexico than I will for three months in Central/South America. But somehow I didn’t think to bring pants or a sweater.
Saturday morning, we drove into Rosarito to buy awesome food for us to cook. It only reinforced my belief that fresh tortillas should come with every meal. We also bought tamales off the side of the road that were the best tamales I have ever had. Yeah, that’s a bold claim and I’m sticking to it.
I was really excited to go to Mexico to practice my rusty Spanish. I am going to the Spanish speaking world for a few months this summer, so I really should be able to communicate. Despite taking 3 yrs of Spanish in high school, living in Barcelona for 4 months, owning all 5 levels of Rosetta Stone, and having a Spanish speaking brother-in-law for fuck’s sake, the only words I said in confidence were “Guau Guau”.
Guau Gauu is how dogs bark in Spanish. English speaking dogs say, “ruff ruff” or “bark bark”…Spanish speaking dogs say, “Guau Guau.” I am so confident in my ability to survive in Bolivia now…
After our glorious weekend in our beach house, we headed back for San Diego. The cross back into the US took forever. It’s like waiting in line for a ride at Magic Mountain, and the ride is the American dream. At least we were entertained… For the two hours we waited inching along, we were offered tamales, churros, cokes, trinkets, and just about anything you could want. We even watched one woman let a man drive her car while she shopped at his roadside shop. Talk about customer service.
Here’s my new point of view on crossing the border and traveling to Mexico for the weekend. Just because you wouldn’t walk alone in Compton by yourself at night, is that really a reason to avoid the entire state of California?