And since ignorance is bliss, we continued merrily to our first accommodation (in Rosarito)
. The kids went for a New Year’s Day polar bear swim and we witnessed a truly spectacular sunset. Jeff picked up a helpful document called Discover Baja California with many tips such as: You may be vulnerable when visiting the local “red light districts.” It also tells about the necessary visas/permits required for travel farther south… available at your point of entry. So our itinerary for January 2nd was to return to the States for the sole purpose of re-entering Mexico. No big deal since we were only ½ hr south of the border and the line-up was only about 40 minutes. We took advantage by going to Albertson’s (grocery store) to pick up more hot chocolate on sale for our nightly story time. The line-up for “declare” was almost empty so we got to bypass the line 'nothing to declare’. We purchased our tourist visas (cash only: thank you Doris for the pesos for xmas!) and asked where to get our vehicle permit. We were given directions (ha!) and off we went. We got (better?) directions at a swanky hotel and off we went. I then proceeded to get in the wrong lane and found myself in line to leave the country – >1 hour wait by this time. Fortunately we had also bought some chocolate at Albertson’s so after a few tears (from me) and some bingeing (by me), the next 2 hours unfolded easily enough.
There are many roaming vendors on the Mexico side as well as beggars. I’m sure that I was not the only one who was grateful that it was a beautiful 25 degrees C. And so that is how we came to cross the border five times in less than 24 hours. We also had the advantage of really knowing where we were going and what NOT to do when we got back.
We crossed over into Mexico on New Year's Day. That is to say that we crossed for the first time on New Year’s Day. The process was too simple. We got in the line for "nothing to declare" since we weren’t really brining anything in. The Baja and the U.S. have a special relationship in that there is no Mexican Customs here. You are permitted to enter (Mexico) either on foot or by private vehicle without so much as showing your passport provided you are not staying more than 5 days nor travelling any farther south than Rosarito – this is to accommodate the many Mexican workers working over the border AS WELL as the American time-share and villa owners who vacation here. But of course, we are going much farther and for longer. So to be swiftly waved through without so much as a nod left us without the required tourists visas and temporary vehicle import permit.