California: Baja and Tijuana

For our second day in Mexico, we continued working on stories we found the previous day. My group stumbled upon a restaurant in Rosarito called El Nido. While ordering lunch, we noticed a message at the top of the menu saying all meat and produce served came from their own local ranches. We spoke to the owners, who enthusiastically offered to take us to their farms. We arrived at the farm today around 6:15 AM and toured around until a little after lunchtime. Later, all the groups returned to Hotel Las Rocas for critiques. Ron and Michael (the photojournalists we are working with) gave great advice to our budding photographers on landscape, detail, and photo-journalistic styles.

We packed into the RVs and departed Las Rocas for San Diego. Needless to say, driving a caravan of six RVs through the crowded and complicated city of Tijuana was a real adventure. The GPS navigation took us through a wrong turn and cabs and cars coming from all directions soon swarmed us, forcing us to split up. Our CB radios fell out of range, so each RV had to fend for itself. A certain amount of panic ensued as we wandered the back streets of TJ (as the locals call it).

The lead RV, aptly named War Pig after a lead sled dog in Alaska, happened upon a kid on a bike named Alex who pulled alongside and waved for them to follow him. They tagged behind Alex for a short time and successfully made it to the border. Alex then turned around and went to find the rest of the caravan. Meanwhile, the other RVs (El Guapo, Paddy Wagon, Titan, Plague Ship Party Bus, and Magic School Bus) were circling the downtown area near the border trying to find the correct exit. Several signs pointing to San Diego led to dead ends and turnarounds; cabbies, kids, and people in other cars waved us on to direct us the right way. Eventually, Alex found us and told us to follow him. Plague Ship Party Bus was able to get to the border, but the other four RVs got separated again and had to find their way on their own. After around another fifteen minutes, we had all made it to the border crossing. Unfortunately, Titan was selected for “secondary screening”. After waiting for one and a half hours, the border patrol confiscated all of our eggs (yes, just some regular chicken eggs) and we finally were able to cross. The caravan was back together, and we headed to our final destination for the night, a Wal-Mart parking lot. We set up camp while some kids ran into Wal-Mart for some dinner. War Pig even cooked up some steak and pastry puffs. Fully exhausted, we finally got some some well deserved rest to prepare for the morning drive to the Central Valley.

Will Greenberg

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