Planes and Boats and Trains. Wait, no trains. 

So the Mexican immigration and customs departments are incredibly stupid. You drive through Baja and they tell you, “don’t stop, keep driving.” Then you get to La Paz and they’re like “why didn’t you stop and get the form you need? Don’t you check the Internet?” What if I was old and didn’t have the Internet? Also, I find it weird that the Internet gets autocorrected to a capital I. It seems too common place to deserve a capital. Like capitalizing any other form of entertainment or information. I’m going to the Library. I’m playing a Boardgame. I had to Fly to bloody Tijuana.

 Anyway, because the Mexican government is inconsistent, inconsiderate and uninformative, we had to fly back to Tijuana. We flew out on Tuesday and walked across the border into the US. The border official asked us what we were doing in th US, and we said “turning around and going back to Mexico.” So we walked across a bridge in the direction we came and entered back into Mexico.

This time we stopped at the immigration building (even though no one told us to), and paid $23 a piece for our FMM forms. Then we walked around the block to the Banjercito, the military bank that processes the vehicle permits and paid $60 each for the permit, plus a $400 per bike deposit to be able to drive through Mexico. I honestly don’t care about all the ways they charge us for being in this country, I’m happy to pay, I only care that they don’t let you do it in La Paz, but don’t tell you that til you get there. It’s stupid. They should just let you do it in La Paz or build a huge sign at the border telling you that you have to stop.

So if you’re planning on going to mainland Mexico from Baja, you HAVE to stop at a US/Mexico border and get an FMM form. You can pay for your vehicle permit in La Paz, but you can’t get a vehicle permit without an FMM. We just met a girl who drove to Cabo and made a fuss and got her FMM there, so that is apparently possible. That’s where the boss of the immigration department is. We very much wish we had met her a few days ago when we could have used this information. But instead we got to get on a plane. So unexpected that I completely forgot to remove my sweet Benchmade knife from my backpack. Luckily, the security lady who sifted through my bag and found it, let me run back outside security with it. I hid it in the bathroom in the terminal and it was still there when we got back!  We also had amazing dinner at El Mazateño. They had really awesome pulpo and cameron tacos. Definitely go there if for some reason you are in Tijuana.

 We walked there from our hotel through a very odd part of town. We walked across a busy road that felt like a highway, and down off the bank of the road on steps that looked like they were carved into the cement bank by hand or just by repetitious feet. Then through a bunch of dirt roads built into a hillside, some so steep they were difficult to walk down. Then we had to walk up all these stairs and back onto paved streets. It was cool and weird and slightly sketchy.

 I’m proud of this photo. I’m generally a pretty bad photographer, but o like the shadows and the light in this pic. Completely unintentional of course, I was only interested in the stairs at the time.

We stayed in a cool but weird hotel also. It is called Hotel Principado, and it is right by the airport. The rooms are all off of hallways facing into the building, so the windows of the rooms go out on to the hallways. It’s weird, but there’s AC so you don’t want the window open anyway, it’s really quiet because you’re not on the street, and it’s dark so it made for good sleeping. We had a king bed (which I don’t like cause Chris is so far away, but he likes for that very reason), and remote controlled AC and lights. It was very clean, modern and overall totally reasonable. Like a Holiday Inn, but only $40. And the best part of Tijuana was that Uber is there and it’s super cheap. Our two Ubers were $58 pesos and $35 pesos. That’s like $4 and $2. Crazy!!!!

 But even better than Uber was flying back to La Paz on Wednesday and buying our ferry tickets! We left the following day after one last SUP ride and spent Thursday night on a ship.

Our cabin was much more spacious than the cabin we had on the Alaska ferry. It had four beds in it so we invited to join us our new motorcycle friends we had just made while strapping bikes down.  That’s their bikes behind us.


 The boat ride was very pretty. We saw some dolphins hopping about next to us. And then we landed in Mazatlán and drove around getting lost for a while. We eventually found a cool hostel called the Funky Monkey. They have a pool and secure motorcycle parking which is most important. There is apparently AC but I cannot attest to that or to hot water. Sometimes a cold shower is refreshing, but sometimes a warm shower is relaxing.

We weren’t even planning on staying here, but Parricia forced our hand, and Mazatlán seems surprisingly alright. The US state department was like “don’t go here ever, you’ll die.” So I had quite low expectations. We are by the touristy beach which is expensive and full of hecklers trying to peddle their goods onto you. All the guys in the hostel seem to go surfing every morning, but their boards are all the size of my pocket knife, so I am not going to even bother. Plus last night there was that massive hurricane a touch south of here, and I don’t want to prove the state department right and die in Mazatlán.

We are going to chill here for a couple days while waters drain from e flooded roads south of here. We should be to the Tequila area by Tuesday, and then we are going to bomb down to Oaxaca for some tasty mezcal. Speaking of tasty things, I am hungry so good bye!

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6 thoughts on “Planes and Boats and Trains. Wait, no trains. 

  1. Glad you made it to mainland Mexico – it’s fabulous! And sorry about your border woes. I would recommend checking in at wikioverland.org before you get to each border crossing. They tend to have very helpful info on the crossings, and the consistency and availability of information at the border posts is not going to get any better as you go south.

  2. Hi ZoE n Chris – let me know how your trip’s timing goes …in regards to catching the boat around the Darien gap.
    Make sure to visit San Blas, and stay at the Flor de Maria hotel in Puerto Escondido – both cities on the Mexican coast south of Mazatlán.
    See you in SA in the NY?
    Nick

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