Last weekend, I started my day off right with a nice tall glass of orange juice and champagne. Five hours and about six mimosas later, I found myself a bit tipsy in Playas, the beaches of Tijuana.
A friend of a friend from England was in town and he was blown away by the absurdity of the border fence that runs right into the water (see below).
A bit tipsy and bewildered himself, the Englander demanded we cross through the gaps and use the toilettes on the other side (aka U.S. soil). I couldn’t say no. I’ve always wanted to try to cross illegally, not to mock the experience but simply for the experience itself.
So we crossed. The one resident Mexican we were with that day refused to cross and was understandably a touch annoyed, although amused by our undertaking.
We walked the beach on the U.S. side for a few minutes and nothing happened. The Brit needed more so we climbed the hill toward the public bathrooms and, within seconds, I spotted a Darth Vador-like image in the distance. The Border Patrol agent, wearing a dark helmet and goggles with a gun strapped to his thigh, didn’t do anything but stare. The Brit, being the good ol’ chap he is, walked right toward him in a “hey, I’m a stupid tourist” kind of way, and believe it or not, it absolutely worked.
By now, three agents had swarmed around us, two guys, one girl, and the Brit had them all laughing and smiling and nearly ready to let us snap their photos. They would’ve let us use the bathroom, too, but it was closed for the winter season.
We were white, so they were nice, but they pointed down at the shores at a family of Mexicans having a picnic below — half of the family on the Tijuana side, half on the U.S. side — and said, “You’ll have to cross back the way you came. We don’t want those people to get the wrong idea. A few of ’em will probably try to cross on us tonight.”
We shook their hands and went on our way, back through the fence to el otro lado where a nice homeless expat with a cockatoo was nice enough to mark the momentous occasion by taking a photo of me, the Brit and the bird.