Vaya Con Dios Mexico

I have never been a huge fan of Mexico. For many Americans, it's almost an obligatory pilgrimage, especially if you are between the ages of 18 to 21, a collegiate rite-of-passage. As the mother of a few up-and-coming collegians, we decided to introduce our brood to the experience that is a Mexican Spring Break under controlled supervision.

Actually, we started our inauguration Thanksgiving 2017. My husband's teenage stomping grounds was So Cal and San Diego is where our true hearts first met. Therefore, rolling across the Tijuana border was not too daunting-of-thought. To me, it is amazing how quickly one is hit by a proverbial geo-political Wall. My anecdotal border crossing experience, which is somewhat vast, is that crossing the US/Mexican border is one of the most dissonant one can experience. While the roads are maintained to a level of consistency, the lack of public services and poverty on the Mexican-side is consummate and pervasive. The word amongst Americans is "get past TJ and it gets nicer", a poignant statement, in and of itself. We booked a beach-front VRBO south of Rosarito, in a private, secured neighborhood. Our plan was to arrive on Tuesday, stay until Saturday, with a break for Thanksgiving with family in SD.

We arrived at the rental and the characteristic waft of cleaning solution also hit us like a brick-wall. The slime of humidity and pollution layered the wiped-down surfaces. The VRBO was adequate and that's the nicest term I can come-up with. If you sat on the balcony and didn't look too hard, you were transported to an ocean oasis. We even had a pod of dolphins every morning swim-past in the distant pacific. And all the while my heart was sad, because if you did look close, the beach was peppered with bits and pieces of human detritus. A tampon applicator mixed in with seaweed. A plastic bag, a bit of a pen cap amongst seashells. And the worst of it was, all this was dregs from the high and mighty "clean" Americans. Yes, the shit rolls downhill, and all sewers lead to the oceans. Amidst it all, the wildlife, free in the ocean, suffer the consequences of our waste.

I will admit, when picking our VRBO, we only read a few reviews, and didn't dive as deep into the back pages as we should have. Had we, we would have seen the truth, backed-up sewer issues, reports of broken and dirty furniture, cockroaches. After a couple of days, we decided to leave for Thanksgiving dinner and abandon our North-Western Baja reservation. I suppose we didn't go "south" enough.

With this poor-booking in mind, we scrutinized our upcoming Spring Break location, we had already planned this trip with another family, who have college-aged boys, excited to drink "legally". We read every review and magnified every photo. We rested assured.

Puerto Penásco
Ten of us loaded-up into two vehicles and made for the thirteen-hour haul to Mexico, north Sea of Cortez, across from Baja. We decided entering MX late at night was not a good idea, so we stayed with some family of our friends in Sun City, AZ. Thank you to that side of the family, it was an enjoyable evening filled with family, beer and wine, and was prophetic of impeding revelry.

After several u-turns, bad directions and lots of sand-dunes, we found our VRBO and moved-in, filled with grace that we arrived during the day time. This location was also within a secured neighborhood; however, the house was much better maintained, nicer accouterments, appliances, furniture, inside and out. The beach was shelly-sandy white without the trash and oily feel. We found that the neighborhood association pays for a beach-sweeper to de-litter once per week.

Overall, we had a wonderful time. Much merriment was had. We were far enough from Penásco Centro for the grown-ups to feel it was safe for the teens to play freely but also close enough to hit the Costco and Bodegas. The young men; however, felt a little too far from where the girls (and bars) were. Our spring break also seemed to miss the bulk of college spring breakers by a couple of weeks. For the adults, all the better, for the young men, not quite crazy enough.

Despite the security gates, vendors of all shapes and sizes filtered past our beach house. Hats, sunglasses, blankets, silver jewelry (sized on-the spot), massages, hair-braids, all were available for "only $25 dollars, okay, okay, I give you special deal today only $10 dollars". The louder our music, the more bees to the hive.

All forms of ocean fun was brought to you as well. The kids jumped on a banana float pulled behind a motorboat (questionable floatation devices provided), jet skis and ultralights were available for your enjoyment as well. When asked, my kids enjoyed the SUP and skin boards (in Cali) overall. The tidal change is pretty extreme, which also made for enjoyable tide pool exploration. Unfortunately, two in our group were stung by Sting-Rays, one sliced pretty bad. I wish I had paid a little more attention to my WFR "ocean" section, nonetheless, they all survived, albeit with a little tough-going while it oozed poison.

After we all spent a day getting oriented and lounging on our ginormous group float deemed the "Tahitian Palace", we hit the town centro and explored the markets. I am not one that finds this experience savory. I did buy some vanilla and some metal-art for my garden; nonetheless, I found the depravity of trinkets abject. As a young girl, I used to find the markets tasteful with provincial handcrafts. Now it's garish, kitschy, made-in-China "crap that you don't need, for someone you don't like". Boob mugs, phallic bongs, FUCK YOU t-shirts and very little homespun goodness. Remote shadows of a lost culture crept behind me and were washed away with the mire from the worshippers of Bacchus.

A highlight was Rocky Point Ziplining. Only a few of us had ever zipped and this particular park had 5 lines and amazing views of Rocky Point and beyond. Highly enjoyable and a bit of a zip on the wild side. A visitor never knows if the "Mexican technology" will protect you (this quote from the local guides). All was safe, checked and secured. For me it was a "do something that scares you" moment.

After, we ventured into Wrecked at the Reef. A beach restaurant and bar next to an All American RV park. It was as close to an "Ameri-Mexi Spring Break" bar that we had found, sand volleyball, corn-hole, loud-thump music, and watered-down beach drinks. The boys had their radar on; unfortunately, there were no targets to be located. Of course it was in this north of Penásco, ex-pat area, that we found the tourist prices.

However much, we could again ignore the trashy sand dunes on the outskirts of town and random, burn-out cinderblock hovels, but truly, the only reason Penásco is not as dirty as Rosarito is because a 1.4 Million pop. major American city is not up-stream. 

Our final days, I came-down with a head-cold and this, much to my chagrin, brought-down the spirits of my half of the group. We did manage a Thursday night back in Centro, with cavorting, mariachi bands, sunsets seafood dinner and baja side-by-side cruising. Music from clowned-filled bugs, beetles and trucks was upped as my darling girls walked-by and cat-calls abounded in their general direction. Nonetheless, Dad was not going to have any of that, the girls exposure to Mexi-Spring Break was swiftly brought to an end.

Upon departure, with a few days left of spring break, and six hours from San Diego, we decided to detour to my husband's family for Easter. We knew that taking our KJ Wood Distillery skinned Mercedes Van across the border was a draw for potential curiosity - shall we say. And our luck had run-out. Inadvertently (truly), we were rolling through the border town of San Luis, and missed the border cue entrance, we doubled back and were invited to cut ahead in-line. However, apparently, the Policía didn't like this act and we were "pulled-over". John is told that he won't get his licenses back until we mail-in the paid ticket or pay $200.00 now. Yes, the corruption is real.

Here is how I see it, there is an addiction problem between Mexico and America. Mexico is like a meth-addict, with meth mouth and dependency on a dealer, some may even be the high-paid whores (resorts) and clean-up nice. Conversely, America is that dealer, hiding it's addiction in the shadows, addicted to sex, and the behind-closed-door lap-dances and blow-jobs are found in Mexico. For me, if it is at all possible, I have no intention of ever going to Mexico again. Vaya Con Dios Mexico.