Ensenada Church Trip
The church we have been going to since the very first sunday we got here was going on a mini trip to their sister church in Mexico today. On a whim we decided to go and signed up last Sunday as photographer and "general labor".
We met at the church early. As I'm learning, most San Diegoans are rather late to things, or at least this group tends to be. We left maybe an hour later than when we had planned. The border is only a short drive from here. On the other side is Tijuana, a place very frowned upon, by the Navy especially, to visit becuase of all the drugs and violence that takes place there. And I can see why. My first glimps of Mexico was a giant flag and the Tijuana river, mostly a very large and wide concrete ditch with homeless people huddling under bridges and around fires for warmth (it was a little chilly, in the 50's maybe).
We were headed to Ensenada, about an hour south. To get there we took a toll road, which was well paved to my surprise, and followed the coast south. I dozed on and off through the ride. What I did see was lots of building projects, most unfinished and probably would never be. On the coastal side were lots of homes and hotels. Several very tall hotels or condo buildings with exposed rusting beams. On the inland side was mostly rolling hills with a few new gated communities.
Ensenada was where we left the toll road. Mexico so far reminded me very much of Indonesia with it's cement buildings, fenced in yards and overall smell and feel. But there was a lot that wasn't similar at all, for example the lack of motorcyles. I think I might have seen about a dozen, and most of those were Harley cruisers. Another noticable difference was the lack of people walking or just out and about. Indonesians live and relax in their yards, walk to the store and just generally mill about outside. Not really the case here. Mexico, this area so close to the US border at least, isn't as third world as I had thought.
Helping make delicious beef and potato empanadas.
Across the street, an abandoned house the kids like to play in.
The church we were headed to took us a little while to get to as there wasn't a very direct route to get there. Mexico loves stop signs. The church was located on a hill in a rather calm looking neighborhood.
We split up once there into several groups (there were only about 14 of us). The pastor and two guys working with him were building a retaining wall to then build a new church on next door. Anson and Tim along with two other guys set about helping fix a fence gate that had broken when a delivery truck backed into it.
The teenagers (with supervision from Pastor Dave) put together a foosball table.
Our day wouldn't be complete without some singing, a Bible story and some crafts with the kids.
The kids were the highlight of my day. I had a blast playing catch and jumprope with them even if I didn't speak a word of Spanish.
We left Ensenada at around 2PM and followed the toll road back to the border. This was the line we waited in for over 3 hours, inch by slow inch to get through. While waiting, trinkets and touristy things were being sold by people walking the rows of cars. Some carts of food were parked between lanes as well with advertisements of burritos, tacos, ice cream or a cold soda. I think the most enticing thing we found was fresh tortillas two ladies were selling. There were also a number of talented kids that were very good at juggling while standing on a friend's shoulders. Near the end of the line we decided that the churros the man was making nearby looked too enticing and so Anson hopped out and bought some for us to share. I love street food!
And so ends our adventure south of the boarder!
Edit: The hubby put together a short video of the trip (pictures to music). If you'd like to see it you can find it on my youtube channel here. Enjoy!