We call it “La Pinche Linea”
For about ten years I crossed the Tijuana-San Diego border. This is something that scared my life. Only people who lives in this border can identify with all the stories I am about to tell. However why not share it with the rest of the world? This is a very unique border that has an average of 66,000 cars and 28,500 pedestrians crossing the border everyday (according to thisbigcity.net). Now a days there are three types of car lanes to cross, so the crossing time is less and more efficient. This was not the case back in the day when I used to cross daily though. Average time to cross would be between one hour and a half to two hours and a half. With people all trying to meet arrival times and “potty” emergencies, many stories and memories grew from this time spent crossing the border.
It wasn't until 9/11 that the border got really strict, which only makes sense. It was my second year of ten crossing the border when this tragedy happened. During that time the crossing time was even up to seven to eight hours! Yet none of us complained because it was only fair. Six or eight months after that, the crossing time came down to an average of two hours. Every morning I got to see the sun rise, the only beauty that crossing the border left me. It was both nap time and catch up with homework time. It was also bonding time with mom and/or dad depending on who was my ride. When I started driving it was mainly thinking and make up time, hehehehe. I remember that I even knew most of the border customs! Which was probably not the case with them since they saw hundreds of thousands of people every day. Crossing the border was an adventure, and you would experience every entertaining show the people waiting and cutting would give you. In my case, to cross the border was my choice so I could stay home with mom and dad, otherwise the alternative would be staying with relatives, which I was not really confident to do at that age. However, I wouldn't change a thing in my life, because every little sacrifice, every little accomplishment, every little experience that I have encounter has brought me to who I am now and my knowledge and beliefs, which, I can't complain about. With that said, here comes the fun. Up next are a few of the crazy stories that one would see at the border.
One of the very common scenarios in any given weekday morning was people trying to cut right before you enter the no-cut zone, which wasn't even close to even half way through. Still, they would be desperate or lazy douche bags that would try to cut. Well, the people in line, the ones that actually went all the way to the end and did all the line, would do everything in their power to not let the “cutters” in. With this, of course, the inevitable would happen and people would get into crazy fights! Yes, off the car, full physical contact, whether with their bodies or throwing things from their cars. Commonly it would be women too! Which for some reason would make it more entertaining than scary. Either way, you couldn't retain yourself from staring and getting entertain.
Many things would happen at the border. Something very common is that for some reason it would always seemed like you picked the wrong lane, because it wouldn't move, and as soon as someone would let you in the “moving one,” the one you where in would start moving all of the sudden! Or, you could be in a fast moving lane and all of the sudden, six cars before crossing, it would stop! Completely! Another very common one was the custom closing your lane right before you were up next. Or after two, three hours of border crossing traffic, you get second inspection only for them to not find anything and thank you for your time, but making you late for school or work, whichever the case may be. Lol. Not to forget the fact that you are stuck there for two hours and all you want to do half of the time is use the bathroom and you can't go anywhere for it! Yes, I can go on and on! But you get the idea.
It wasn't always all bad though! Not only you could get the best burritos, champurrado, oatmeal or coffee at that time, but also you could get the outside of your car cleaned up, windshield washed and some stunts entertainment on the way to crossing. During the time I used to cross the border, there was this one happy custom, because most of them usually aren't, who to blame them though, but this happy custom would sing to you! Yes he would do all the appropriate questioning and once he decided you where okay to cross, he would sing! Totally make your day and leave you smiling for the rest of the day!
Border crossing was definitely an experience. Like I mentioned before, I wouldn't take it back either. There's probably a ton more stories to tell, but you get the idea. It is a part of my life that I get to remember each time I visit my parents in Tijuana, but it is definitely something I don't miss. ☺