While on vacation in California, we decided it would be fun to take a day trip across the border into Tijuana, Mexico. This was Jenna and Connor’s first trip out of the US and I was really excited to get to show them a new country and culture!
I wanted to stop by the tourist area first to do some shopping for tacky souvenirs. We drove our car and it was really nerve-racking in the beginning… And I was just a passenger! We drove through some pretty questionable areas (including a street filled with “gentleman’s” clubs) before finding a decent gated area to park.
We made our way over to Avenida Revolucion and partook of the most touristy things possible! Normally I wouldn’t waste time visiting some of the shops or taking pictures on the painted donkeys, but I’m fairly certain we were the only tourists in town, and it was nice to support the people working.
The very first shop we stopped in was filled with dresses for little girls. Of course Jenna was dying to have one, so we spent a fair amount of time trying to find something that would fit and not look too ridiculous. We found this cute little blouse and skirt, and Connor got a soccer jersey. Cory was in charge of haggling on the price and I was in charge of speaking in Spanish to the shopkeepers. In the end, the man told Cory that he “gave a good price for the white lady who speaks Spanish.” ha ha!
Jenna and Connor took a break outside one of the shops while their Nana and Aunt Sue bartered away on purses and jewelry inside. It was my mom’s first time in Mexico and she did an awesome job at bartering with the storekeepers!
We enjoyed a late lunch at a restaurant on the street after we finished our shopping adventures. The kids were thrilled with the “don’t drink the water” rule and enjoyed sodas with their meal.
After lunch, Jenna took a tortilla with her because she was dying to feed the birds. I watched in horrified silence as millions of pigeons swarmed down from the power lines to collect the offered pieces. And then Cory encouraged the kids to run after the birds like the little Mexican children were doing.
I realized mid-trip there were many things we should have talked to the kids about before our trip. They’re just kids, so the most important things they learned were to not flush their toilet paper, don’t drink the water, and don’t sit on the dirty ground (especially in a skort!).
After shopping in Tijuana, we drove down the coast to Rosarito beach. It was cold and rainy by the time we got there, but we braved the weather and it started to clear up after we had been there for just a short time. The water was just as cold as it is at home though!
We were the only tourists on the beach (it was late November and raining), so we had to deal with constant assaults from vendors trying to pedal their wares. We bought the kids a coconut water, and while they had fun watching the lady chop it up and put the straw in, as soon as they took a drink they spit it right back out!
They loved the pan dulce I bought them from up the street though!
We were dreading the line waiting to get back across the border, but it actually turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip! We still had a lot of pesos left over, so as the different vendors passed by, we bought all sorts of treats to enjoy in the car. We bought fresh flour tortillas, churros, ice cream, and tamales. (And nobody got sick from anything.)
There were also great opportunities to teach the kids about how others live and work, and why it’s important to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
Needless to say, we all had a great adventure in Mexico, and I hope another opportunity for us to go comes again soon!