Crossing to Tijuana: The Blue Line

August 12, 2012 by
Categories: Mexico

Henry Biernacki

The people waiting at the Civic Center either went to get someone out of jail or take the train to the US-Mexico border. That was life, dia y noche in San Diego and the most charming way to enter Mexico, via Tijuana.

Immediately after 2nd Ave. the Blue Line: San Ysidro-Tijuana, ran in both directions. That was the busy stop and where everyone quietly waited for the train, in the shade, against the wall in front of the Westgate Plaza Hotel.

It was already a bit too bright and no clouds out, unless one could count the funny wispy ones that do not carry rain, ornamental clouds Niklas reckoned, aesthetically pleasing but no real substance or function.

The warm air huddled around all of San Diego as the sun sank below the horizon with its minimum golden tint a lot different from the Vegas night from which he had just returned. San Diego had one or two bright neon signs with "OPEN" hanging in the windows of the bail bonds shops, running along C Street, Front Street, and B Street instead of the all night gambling halls brightly lit with false hopes of winning in Vegas. This evening would be spent along the streets of Mexico.

Las Vegas and Tijuana never close and that is the appeal. While San Diego is a small big city, it closes.

On the opposite side of the street and up past the bagel shop ran the trolley tracks, where the breeze blew a bit cooler because of the shade the jail gave to the solid concrete city. All Niklas heard was the sound of people stepping on the dry crackling leaves and the creaky benches as people stood up and sat down.

"Disculpe," a girl said to Niklas as she threw her arms up without stopping, walking further down C Street, "¿Sabes dónde está la entrada?"

As Niklas looked up from reading a book on the Constitution of the United States, he assumed she was speaking to him when she asked where to find the entrance to the jail.

"¿A la carcel?" Niklas responded.

In an almost disbelief, the girl said with a sarcastic voice, "¡Sí, a la carcel!"

He sat along on the corner of C and Front Street and pulled his right hand out of his jeans pocket and held the book in the left palm, turned slightly to his side and pointed straight ahead to the large police sign. Niklas went on reading. With a large gasp the girl rubbed both hands through her greasy hair, letting her hands fall like the limp branch of the tree.

Niklas got up and walked next to the hotel and waited.

The thumping of the train rolled down the street, vibrating along the tracks the way an organ vibrates the wooden pews in a church.

This is border life: the excitement of a world between two countries.

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