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Mexicali

Last photos of the border wall at Calexico near Gran Plaza Outlets

Last photos of the border wall at Calexico near Gran Plaza Outlets

— During last month’s aborted trip to Mexicali for Chinese food, Kathryn, Dan, and I made a stop at the Gran Plaza Outlets in Calexico, California, for a bathroom break and, for Kathryn, a quick, successful bit of shopping. While we were there, we also took a number of photographs of the nearby border wall between the United States and Mexico. Today, while scanning headlines from the past several days, I learned that this very same stretch of border wall behind the outlet mall will be the first to be replaced during the Trump administration.
More Chinese food in Mexicali at Restaurante Dragon

More Chinese food in Mexicali at Restaurante Dragon

— We couldn’t miss a chance for more Chinese food during our trip to Mexicali over Thanksgiving weekend. Our baseball game Saturday night and our early departure Sunday morning left us only one chance, at lunchtime Saturday. We were staying at Hotel Araiza on Boulevard Bénito Juárez, so we chose Restaurante Dragon, which was just a few minutes up the street on foot. Compared to the two other Chinese restaurants we’ve visited in Mexicali, Dragon is huge even before you get in the place.

Making a run for it, back in the United States

— Kathryn and I just finished a late lunch on the northern side of the border, in Yuma. I looked at the CBP website around 10 am to get an idea of border crossing times, and I was a little shocked to see two-hour wait times so early in the day. Thinking it would only get worse, we decided to skip lunch in Mexicali and make a run for the border. Either we caught a lull or used the “wrong” lane on the Mexican side, but we got across in about 40 minutes.
Baseball in Mexicali, a lively evening of winter league action

Baseball in Mexicali, a lively evening of winter league action

— Last night we saw our first ever Mexican Pacific League baseball game, a matchup between the Obregon Yaquis and the Mexicali Águilas, at Estadio B-Air in Mexicali. The Mexican Pacific League is a “winter” league. The season starts in mid-October and runs through the end of December, making for rather pleasant baseball-watching weather in Mexico. The Mexican Pacific League is an independent league, unaffiliated with Major League Baseball, so the ranking system of Triple-A, Double-A, and so on doesn’t apply.
Mexican border formalities, San Luis and Los Algodones

Mexican border formalities, San Luis and Los Algodones

— If you search the internet for the immigration procedures a U.S. citizen needs to follow when driving to Mexico, you’ll find many different answers. Most of them are outdated. Some of them apply in certain cases and not in others. Few of them are authoritative. One common answer is that you don’t need a so-called “tourist card” if you’re traveling less than 25 kilometers from the border and staying less than 72 hours in Mexico.
What do they drink for beer in Mexicali?

What do they drink for beer in Mexicali?

— When I got back to work Monday morning after the weekend road trip to Mexicali, one of my colleagues almost immediately asked, what do they drink for beer down there? What an excellent question! The short answer is not a surprising one: Tecate. Mexicali is one of the most populous cities in the Mexican state of Baja California, and Tecate is one of the biggest brewers in that state. While the restaurants and bars we visited also had Bud Light available, I suspect it was only there for the occasional Anglo guests like us.

Why Mexicali?

— While we were eating lunch last Sunday, Kathryn caught me off guard by asking how I learned about the Cantonese restaurants in Mexicali. She had been looking at her Instagram account and was prompted by a comment she received on a photo of the previous day’s lunch. The commenter apparently felt eating Chinese food in Mexico was a sketchy undertaking. To be honest, after more than a year of talking about it, at that moment I’d forgotten exactly why I started looking into Mexicali.
El Rincón de Panchito, Mexicali

El Rincón de Panchito, Mexicali

— Earlier today we enjoyed our first ever Mexican Cantonese meal. We had pollo mongol — a chicken dish with peppers and peanuts — and pork chow mein. No complaints about the food, except that we could have ordered half as much food and still have stuffed ourselves. The service was friendly. Between the server’s broken English and my dozen or so words in Spanish, the only real miscommunication was Kathryn got a regular Coke instead of Diet Coke.