Sunday, July 30, 2006

The San Diego Chronicles - Day 8: 29 and Counting (Up)

Welcome to the last year of your twenties, Dustin.

I turned 29 today.

Weird feeling, really. Celebrating the last year of my twenties back home in the U.S. (first time celebrating a birthday here since 1998 - yikes), yet being in a city where the only people I knew were the twelve students I was chaperoning.

Not exactly a recipe for a fun birthday.

Since it was a Sunday, and all of the students were free, I invited them to join me for brunch out at the Fashion Valley Mall. There was a restaurant I had seen out there that had me interested.

Boudin Bakery (pronunced "Bow-deen"), a San Francisco-based bakery that had clam chowder and bread bowls. Since Japan (at least the Japan I'VE experienced, no guarantee on Tokyo/Osaka/other big cities) is not that aware of the greatness that is the bread bowl, I thought I'd introduce my students to the wonder of the edible bowl.

Not only did they enjoy their brunch, but the little sneaks had made me a birthday card and gave it to me. I really wasn't expecting it, and I'll admit, it made me tear up a bit.

After brunch, everybody went their separate ways, and I headed to the movie theater to catch "Clerks II". Funny, perverse, foul, pretty much everything I've come to expect from a Kevin Smith film. But there was something that surprised me.

It actually had some poignant things to say about growing up, getting older, friendship, and how life and time can change us. Beneath all of the rudeness and crudeness, it was a sweet little film.

Felt sorry for the donkey, though.

So the movie finished, and I headed out into the San Diego afternoon.

What to do...

Sheesh. Guess I'll head back to my apartment and go to bed.



After a bit of personal mental abuse, I decided to catch the trolley to San Ysidro and, for lack of a better phrase, "make a run for the border".

Yep, I made the trek to ol' TJ. Tijuana, that is.

Tijuana was a bit of a shock. A lot more Spanish than I'd ever heard (duh), and a feeling of being way out of my element, something I hadn't felt since I first came to Japan in December of '97.

There was a vague scent of pee, as well. Not to dog on TJ or anything, but that was one of the strongest impressions I had.

Lots of people trying to get me to buy stuff. A few offers to go into the tittie bars and "experience the local flavor". (Well, it's true! I didn't go, though. Scout's honor.)

But it was also a really fun place to check out. I walked around a bit, had a Corona at a bar, found the Hard Rock Cafe, bought a t-shirt and a shot glass, fielded a "Happy Birthday" call from my sis (Thanks, And!), and made my way back.

On my way back, I noticed some jock @$$heads making fun of a little girl who was begging for change. I felt bad, and gave her some of mine.

Big mistake.

All of the sudden, I was surrounded by little kids trying to get change from me. Man, I felt guilty, but the sudden appearance really freaked me out and I pretty much hoofed it back to the border crossing.

Funny thing. To get INTO Mexico, all you have to do is walk through a gate. To get back into the U.S., you go through about every check available except a cavity search. (Okay, not that bad, but the gap was pretty huge.)

I hopped back on the trolley and cruised back up to Old Town, then caught the bus back to University Ave. and my apartment.

Not a bad birthday all around, plus I got to go to Mexico for the first time.

Feliz cumpleanos a mi.


Anonymous Woodward said...

It's always nice to hear stories of TJ. I lived there for 2 years, which, in terms of damage to one's mental/physical/psychological state, is probably the equivalent of 5+ years in Japan. Let me know when you're ever coming back to the states.

Saturday, January 06, 2007 9:15:00 AM  

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