Old town

Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Only today to see everything we had to get an early bus to old town... it is the bus terminal here so we could not get it wrong...!!

Old town is an area that has been restored to look as it did in the 1800 s... the old buildings and houses are now tourist shops and cafes and the hotel where we had brunch, a huge portion of eggs,charizo and herby potato squares, still has accommodation and meals on offer..

we enjoyed walking round the cute buildings and seeing the brightly coloured Mexican influenced articles for sale.. we even had Mexican musicians, sombreros and all in one of the cafe areas..

next was a trolley ride ... the trolley buses run from old town to downtown on one route and downtown to the Mexican border on the other route....

during the 1860 s the 16 blocks of san diegos gaslamp quarter, where we got off the trolley, was known for prostitution, gambling and drinking but in the 1970 s moves were made to revive its fortune and protect the historic buildings of the area, so now it has become the trendy place to dine , shop and dance.. from old bakeries to victorian hotels the place was buzzing with people having fun..

a walk through the adjoining mall was amazing .. the buildings were so brightly coloured , so clean and architecturally very interesting..

we had no real plans for the afternoon but by chance found ourselves on a trolley bus heading to San Ysidro , the mexican border crossing.. of Tijuana.. Remembering Ians interesting...!! stories from Tijuana we felt  a little unsure but as we are now intrepid world travellers set off into the unknown..

Tijuana is neither typical nor attractive with gaudy souvenir shops, noisy bars and sleazy smelly, dirty, back streets... it attracts many american younsters who can drink at 18 and get all sorts of "things" cheaper and unavailable in USA.. Having been told it was safe to explore the streets until sunset... we began our walk across the border..  it was rather a long walk to downtown and many vendors on the way stopping to beg us to buy their wares or eat at their cafe or restaurant and little children were trying to sell dollar bars of chocolate or trinkets..  we stopped for a quick margarita in one of them and were approached three times in ten minutes to ask if we wanted serenading...!!

Downtown itself was heaving, the pavements were full and walking was almost impossible, it was manic...the smell of street food wafted in the breeze and people were pushing and shoving for a better look and a bargain... an hour was enough and it would soon be dusk so we hurried back to the border only to be greeted by 500 cars along the roads waiting to cross and almost as many people in one long line along the pavement....super...!!

The line of traffic was very interesting though, along with the  "ordinary"  tourist cars of people, huge vans and trucks were loaded to overflowing with all kinds of metal objects from motorbikes and lawnmowers, to rusty washing machines and cookers... apparently scrap metal is three times the price in USA than mexico so mass exodus for the entrepreneur types..

eventually we got through customs and caught the hour long trolley and bus ride back to our little van .. in mission bay... an excellent day again..

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