In Line

Blog Post

I have a Sentri Pass, which means that I can zip across the US/Mexico Border. However yesterday, my colleague’s car broke down and he had to take one that is not listed on Sentri. There are rules that require that the driver be connected with the car by CBP. So on the way back to the USA, we both had to sit in a three hour line to cross even though we both have Sentri passes. 

Yes, a ten minute crossing was extended to three hours. I could get upset or I could amuse myself. I chose amusement and what better to do than to share the crossing experience (in part) without the smells with the blogosphere and the dozen or so people who drift by my little corner on a Friday.
There are food stands between the lanes selling delicious sweet and savory morsels. It doesn’t translate without a few photos.
Non-stop traffic widens to pass the carts. The cart (left) sold bar-b-que corn-on-the-cobb that looked to be at least day-old. Delicious? I wouldn’t know. I took a pass. 
As I got closer and passed the cart, I could see fingerprints on the cobs. The cart owner may have been licking the butter and salt off, leaving the basic corn kernels intact. But that’s only speculation on my part. 
Welcome to Tijuana and welcome to the Federal Republic of Mexico.
The Tostilocos are a combination of cut up fruit. The fruit is withered and the hands that cut it are unwashed. Once in the plastic cup, a sugary slime is poured over the fruit. Flies are present everywhere but if you are able to eat a fly, it’s protein, right?
They were doing a brisk business as locals, whose intestinal tract has the proper aggressive bacteria present, were scarfing it down. The fruit itself looked to be the fruit that the market threw out as rotten. I’m sure that was the case. The watermelon didn’t look too bad, but the giardia that is present from hands that don’t wipe after dumping will ruin any day/week.
There is an implicit promise that you won’t have explosive diarrhea while in the line – but the line is three hours long, sitting in  your car, and the promise, delivered in Spanish earnestly, may be a lie. I did not test the lie for your benefit. I like all of you, but not that much.
The Clamatos could frigging kill you. They start by mashing up rotten tomatoes until they are pulped (skin remains) and add jalapeƱos and habaneros with seeds. Then they mix in shell fish (a melange) and top with sad looking shrimp.
There is no refrigeration, no health inspection, no promise at the Clamatos cart that you’ll make it to the border without erupting bowels.

The water that is used as a base comes from the Tijuana River – or from the tap in the slum by the border, which is the same thing. The water is — thick. Spills of a few million gallons of raw, untreated sewage into the Tijuana River are routine.

But still they sell the product, incredibly.
I suspect skulduggery at work. If you should abandon the car to use the restroom – in line, they will move it along even if they have to hot-wire it to drive it to the turn-around and take it back to Mexico for you.

You can file a report of a stolen American car, but I don’t think that’s a crime. The local police might take a report if you pay them to do so. I can only hope that you didn’t leave your wallet or purse in the car.

Many of the cars in Mexico are US stolen. A lot of them are leases with too much mileage that are abandoned by American owners, across the border and then reported as stolen in the US.

Meanwhile, there you sit, in the filthy restroom with crabs climbing over your tender American flesh – and your car with all your goodies (and maybe your credit cards?) is on the way to Chihuahua. 
With luck, you retained your passport in your run for relief. If not, it’s going to be a very long and miserable day indeed as the giardia, toxins from old shellfish and impossibly hot habanero peppers go to work on you while you try to explain what happened to the amused Customs and Border Protection Official.
This is Tijuana, and there is a BIG wall between the US and Mexico so there’s no hope of just crossing by merely stepping over a sagging two strand wire fence. You can hire a coyote to smuggle you across by handing him your $6,000 wristwatch and he might actually not take the watch and run. Or you can wait for CBP to call you a cab to take you to the US Consulate about ten miles away from the San Isidro border crossing, at Otay Mesa. Once at the consulate, there is a long line (if you have no passport or ID – a longer line) to wait and see a consular officer while the Clamato gurgling in your belly reminds you that your IQ is not as large as you once hoped it would be.
Antidote for civilization? Some people think so.

21 thoughts on “In Line

  1. It makes fish and chips in yesterday's scandal sheet sound Michelin star by comparison.

  2. They don't serve fish and chips in line…but they could. I remember this chippy in the Springwell neighborhood in Blantyre, Scotland that would would have fit in perfectly with the line. I checked and it's no longer there.

  3. Regulations? Since when? How can you have proper fish and chips without frying them in lard and wrapping them in news print? And how can you have proper chips without the beef dripping? Of course, the beef dripping was for the posh people. The common people had to do with salt and sauce.

  4. Don't worry, Larry. We have many underground, rule breaking establishments that still use lard (triple fried) and beef dripping to fry our chips.
    Let 'em all leave and eat their second class potatoes with mayonnaise.

  5. >The cart owner may have been licking the butter and salt off [ears of corn]
    You don't have to go to Mexico for that sort of behavior. The hospital cafeteria has self-serve pizza on a hot-lamp table. I used to get this because it's quick and cheap, and you don't have to deal with a server*. Then I saw one of the workers standing behind the table, using her ungloved hand to pick pieces of pepperoni off the slices, popping them into her mouth, then licking her fingers. Rinse and repeat. From her appearance, the woman was from south of the Rio Grande, heavy on the indio.

    *server: The persons who dole out your food in the regular cafeteria line are all POCs of protected classes, from the Caribbean as it happens. If you are also a POC of a protected class, you get served with a big smile, and extra large portions. If you are white or east Asian you get served with a stone face, and small portions, especially if you are fit. (Fat white people who beclown themselves by simpering get a smile, but still small portions.) If you have the misfortune to be a white, male physician, you get major attitude and small portions. At night (which is 90%+ people who work at hospital) persons of the proper sort are allowed to go behind the counter and take as much food as they want, for which they pay a nominal fee or nothing. But physicians (who are all of the wrong sort) get yelled at if they serve themselves. And are made to wait. Boy howdy I'm sure enjoying my "white privilege". Also I am so overwhelmed by the associated guilt that I really really want to import millions more squatty pepperoni-pickers and overtly aggressively racist people from third world shitholes. /not that I have strong feelings about this. heh.

  6. If I worked at a place with an attitude like that, I'd inoculate some of the ethnic food with giardia. Then again, I'm like that. Let them take an extra big helping. I'd also likely leave a "special pizza" laying around. Epicac works wonders and you don't need all that much to have the desired effect. Just make sure all of the internal cameras are turned off when you work your magic. These things are never repeated and only happen occasionally – sometimes when you are gone. No pattern, no sir.

    I have stories myself that may wait for another day, but I'm sorry that the Spirit of Tijuana and the Spirit of Haiti is alive and well in your hospital. But the food situation can be managed. On a smaller scale, there was a fat ethnic person who used to steal food from my lunch many years ago. She lost a few pounds. Then there was that sheet of brownies with the DO NOT TOUCH sign on it that the herd grazed down to metal. That worked wonders. Naturally management initiated a search (half-hearted) for the b@stard who left those brownies in the refrigerator with the DO NOT TOUCH sign on it.

  7. My few trips to TJ were uneventful (except the first time when a barfly offered me her body delights, but I had to pay her up front and meat her outside. My first TJ fucking. What do expect from an 18 y.o. stud?) because I only drank the beer. Ate nothing.

  8. During my tour of Mexico I ate everything I could lay my hands on – fruit from fruit carts, tacos the local ladies were making outside their homes who graciously shared with me. I chowed down at every local market and the tour guide made sure I was served the same food as he got (the other people on the bus got fake American food.) Result? I was never so constipated in my entire life.

  9. Having been forced to join the common herd, seems you put your time to useful observation.

    In this area we have burrito sellers working out of their vehicles (in competition with the catering trucks). Not going into my digestive system, thank you very much.

  10. You're lucky that you only carried memories with you back across the border to Naval Base San Diego.

  11. I eat at the same food stands where the Mexican Army generals and the politicians eat. You never get sick.

  12. Haha! I bow to the master.

    Though I think some of the food-service people have already taken care of the giardia inoculation, alas. Bringing your own food and heating it up in the cafeteria microwaves is also a no go. The insides of the microwaves are weirdly scarred, and they smell bad. One day I found out why. A Chinese woman (some lab worker) was cooking a piece of oily salted fish on a paper towel (only; no plate or dish, much less any cover) in defiance of the "Do not microwave fish" sign posted right above the microwaves. Also in defiance of courtesy and common sense, but that's another issue. Anyway, this kind of salted fish is essentially the Chinese equivalent of Limburger cheese: it really stinks. The hot oil had sprayed all over the microwave, and had partially melted part of the internal plastic somehow. When I (politely) pointed out the sign the woman suddenly became unable to understand English. Imagine her delight when I switched to Mandarin.

    I know these are small issues in the scheme of things, but they do mark a worrisome decline in general civility, not to mention the problem of "anything goes" in the name of "but, but it's part of her culture>!" If that's part of Chinese culture (which it isn't) then go do it in China.

  13. Rudeness may be a sign of a particular culture… but rudeness in the USA is never an excuse. It's the sign of a lowlife, dirtbag.

    Brownies, however, have a cross-cultural appeal.

  14. Oh… That brings back memories… Mid-60s, Nuevo Laredo… NEVER, EVER, AGAIN!!! Thankfully my uncle had a roll of TP in the truck.

  15. I cannot imagine what would possess a seemingly intelligent American to go to Mexico in the first place these days. Or even in days past. The border hassle, the filthy foodsellers and their filthy wares. WHY? WHY? And to think, too many people, as well as our entire government, the entire media establishment, the American corporate oligarchs, the entire Democrat political establishment, and seemingly, most of the Republicrat Ruling Class, actually want these third worlders flooding into our once-beautiful nation. Cheap labor, new voters, and new American consumers who need food, housing, cars, medical care, gasoline. God help us US…..

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