03-12-2012, 11:57 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Toronto, ON
The next morning, I crossed into Mexico.
Well, I planned to take lots of pictures, etc., but it didn't work out that way. Honestly, I was pretty nervous crossing into Mexico. I didn't know what to expect.
I took a deep breath, started the bike and left the Holiday Inn parking lot for the short ride to the border. I expected a big line-up but there was no one in front of me. At the check-point, the remote-controlled gate raised before I even got there, giving me the green light to pass.
I continued on forward, my eyes looking for the Mexican Immigration building. I saw a sign for "Aduana" (Customs) but not for Immigration. I rode a bit further before realizing I had passed it. I was now on the main road leaving the border. There was no turning back.
I wasn't ready. Just like that -- not five minutes after leaving the Holiday Inn parking lot -- I was riding in Mexico. I didn't even stop at the border!
No one asked to see my passport. No one inspected the bike. I just rode through without speaking to anyone. No US border agents. No Mexican border agents.
My mind was racing as I followed the road signs to the coastal highway. I had completed my import permit online, but wasn't I supposed to get my passport stamped at the border? It's too late now, I'll just have to sort it out later.
I had been dreaming of making this trip for years. Riding through Tijuana, the reality of being in Mexico on my bike was starting to hit me. My first destination was a picturesque beach town called La Misión. It was a quick 90-minute ride from the border, on MEX-1 about 25 miles before Ensenada. I was happy to pull up to a nice hotel and restaurant called Poco Cielo.
Arriving at Poco Cielo, La Misíon
A nice hotel by the beach so close to San Diego, I knew during check-in that the room rate was going to break my daily budget. I didn't care!! I admit, after hearing/reading all the horror stories in the news about Mexico, I was a bit stressed out. I was relieved to find this "little heaven" and was determined to stay there for the night.
The receptionist spoke pretty good English and showed me various rooms throughout the property at different price points. Reality came back and I asked for the cheapest room available.
The receptionist called the owner and I could hear her telling the owner (in Spanish) that I had ridden from Canada. I was asked to wait "¡un momentito por favor!"
Cheryl, the owner, came out to greet me, and she's a fellow Canadian! It was my lucky day. Since it was a weekday, the hotel wasn't full, and Cheryl very generously upgraded me to one of the best rooms available for a great price.
After check-in my first order of business is to get some food and more importantly, cerveza, so I made a bee-line to the hotel restaurant.
Finally, after mas cervezas, I was able to relax. I've traveled to dozens of countries all around the world, and I was in Mexico City only a few months prior to this trip, but still I allowed the media reports about Mexico to unnerve me. The plan was to "ride through Mexico as fast as possible".
First meal in Mexico, but I already finished the beer before remembering to take a picture.
I took a stroll to enjoy the nearby views. At last, I was in beautiful Mexico.
La Misíon, Baja