Ensenada, México

Our first stop overseas.

The San Diego / Tijuana border crossing is the busiest in the world. We were expecting lines and bureaucracy. Instead, we drove straight through during morning rush hour. We questioned if we’d missed something. Like a visa (turns out, you only need a visa to leave Baja California). Or a body cavity search. Or a child. But we hadn’t. We’d only missed the first exit and freeway to Ensenada — and then we spent the next ten minutes circling around Tijuana to reconnect to the freeway.

A couple hours later, we arrived at our campground, Campo Turistico La Joya, on the Southern tip of Ensenada Bay. We were assaulted by an infamous tope (Mexican speed bump) upon entering the campground, nearly sending all our worldly possessions through the front windshield. The topes are no joke. Mexico knows what they’re doing in terms of speed reduction. Then I proceeded to butcher my first conversation in Mexico in Spanish, a conversation I’d been practicing for two hours in route, but I got the gist from the friendly and patient attendant that she wanted money. We paid, the gate raised, and we proceeded to our beachside spot. Then I filmed the video below. Then I saw a drone mocking my feeble attempt at panorama and immediately became incensed with jealousy. I knew we should’ve bought one of those for this trip….

Several hour later, we christened our first stop on Mexican soil with quintessential American (of the United States variety) cheeseburgers at Mama Bear’s Pizza & Burgers. A lame choice, we know, but the campground and surrounding area was mostly deserted, and we didn’t feel like driving into downtown Ensenada. The burgers were, however — and I do feel I have some judgment in this varietal of food — excellent.

We returned to camp and swapped beers and stories with the owners of the drone, a nice couple from Arcadia, California, home of Humbolt State, where my sister-in-law Izzy is contemplating attending college. We talked about staying up to dig a hot tub in the beach. Evidentially, during low tide, hot water from a nearby fault-line flows beneath the beach at that section of the Bay. Steam seeps from the sand to reveal its location. If you dig a hole near the steam, ya got yourself a personal bath. This sounded cool and unique, but low tide was near midnight, and midnight is approximately two hours past my bedtime (one of my many nicknames in high school was “Ten O’Clock”). Plus, you know, you just can’t leave sleeping kids in a van in a foreign country. Or so I’ve been told.

The next morning, before departing Ensenada, we drove to La Bufadora to see North America’s second largest blowhole. No, not the US President (snare snare tom-tom crash-symbol)…but a marine geyser exploding from a small hole in a sea cave. The kids dug it (see video below). Then we had our first official Mexican meal for breakfast: tacos.

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