On a horse.
If you’re imagining this as the cover of a romantic novel you’d find in the checkout line, stop. I’d like to be delusional and claim that the site of me topless on a beach would cause women to swoon, but after our model scout Tony didn’t mention a need for my patchy tan and slightly rounded features, I’ve accepted my fate as a normal guy. There is one good note though. I didn’t hear any shrieks from the women and children. Full disclosure: we pretty much had the beach to ourselves except for the wandering mariachi band which would’ve masked their screams.
The shared van ride took about 30 minutes and I dozed in and out of lucidity. It cost $3 US for both of us. If I even look at a cab in Chicago it costs me $4. We were the last passengers to exit the Rosarito Express. I could see the ocean was a block away and I was ready for more exploring with my trusty bilingual amiga.
We booked it for the beach and I absorbed the warm sun like a lizard. The sounds of the waves soothed and vibrant hues of the deep blue Pacific restored my inner beach bum. There was a fruit cart at the beach and we got a bag of freshly-cut pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew and mango. Does anyone really like honeydew? I think it’s just the fruit medley filler. I always see honeydew at the grocery, but I never see it in a cart. We sat on the warm sand with our bag of fruit and two forks, and watched the waves come in and out. A roving mariachi quartet slowly walked up the beach playing songs for the few groups enjoying a day.
Michelle spotted horses and started asking me if we should do it. There are times when she asks for something and it’s abundantly clear it’s more demonstrative than interrogative. Usually it involves getting Panera or espresso, but she’ll lob an initial query like “Should we ride horses?” Then quickly escalates in enthusiasm, like Toussaint’s laugh, to “ANDREW! Do you want to ride a horse?!” All leading up to the definitive “Let’s do it! Let’s ride horses!!” The beauty is that there are nearly no gaps for me to respond. It is her 10-second internal monologue. Next thing you know, I’m on a horse.
Initially, I had the larger horse, but Michelle quickly gave up on hers since it wouldn’t go faster. We were given some light branches to hit the horses. Either they didn’t work or I wasn’t hitting the horse hard enough for fear of being charged by PETA. I was now on the older and slower horse, that looked oddly similar to a donkey. I firmly believe his real name was Rocinante. Michelle took to hitting my horse, causing short bursts of speed that potentially decreased my ability to procreate. Turns out my anatomical fears about riding a horse were warranted.
Bachelor’s note: It isn’t pleasurable to repeatedly smash your heuvos on a saddle.
The horses had built-in timers and started heading back on their own. We attempted to turn them, but they soon got angry. Slowly, we meandered back to the hitching posts, ending our equine adventure. Before heading back to Tijuana, we stopped in a little bakery to pickup some treats for our hosts.
On the cab ride back, Michelle spoke in Spanish with the driver, a round man with glasses. He shared that most of his family is in the US, but he got kicked out of the US for trafficking drugs. There aren’t many ways to make money in Tijuana, he said, so, many people turn to selling drugs. And cabs are seldom checked when crossing the border. They continued talking about social programs and corruption, while I closed my eyes. He thought that relaxing or legalizing drugs in the US would only make the problems worse.
After dropping us off near the border, we walked by a food truck serving tortas. I got one to go and we walked through the US border office. They scanned my passport and I was safely back in the US, a little tanner, a little wiser, and a little more understanding.