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Full Circle

Day 227: Tijuana to San Diego, California

Michael Palin - Full CircleIt's around ten in the morning and I'm walking the last few yards of Mexican territory, to the busiest land border crossing in the world. Over thirty million people a year cross between Tijuana and the town of San Ysidro. On one side of me solid columns of cars, buses and trucks are lining up at every one of the twenty four crossing gates. On the other is an unbroken line of souvenir stalls selling mementoes for every religion, creed and culture on earth. There are Buddhas, batmen, bulldogs, gorillas and cowboys. Rows of Bart Simpsons stand next to figures of Christ on the cross. The last billboard in Mexico reads 'Herpes. Ring 800 336 for a cure'.

The United States is air-conditioned right from the start. I shiver for the first time in weeks as I wait in line for one of the immigration positions where officials sit before humming computer terminals. On the wall is a sign warning of the penalties of drug trafficking and a photograph of the President who never inhaled.

After Tijuana, Mexico, San Ysidro, the USA is immaculate. Almost the first American I see is dressed as a hot dog, walking up and down outside the railway station (which is sponsored by McDonald's), a plastic lettuce protruding from his (or her) midriff like a lime-green tutu. The railway service is called the San Diego Trolley and it carries me along Imperial Beach past stops like Iris Avenue and Pacific Fleet and into San Diego in clean, efficient comfort.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 227
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: San Ysidro - California
  • Book page no: 294

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