Return to California
Well, as many of you now know or have assumed, I have returned to the north to attempt to live in a less nomadic fashion for a time. I did not bike back, however. Nor did I fly. After spending a few days in San Cristobal de las Casas, I biked a good downhill to Tuxla where I caught a bus to Tijuana. Needless to say, it was a long 3-day bus ride.
On board the bus I met some very nice people. Most were going to the U.S.A. to work for a while and save up some money. None of them had papers. Jose Luis wanted to save for a cow, it was his first time crossing but wasn't very worried. Philip, an older guy, had crossed a few times and had worked various jobs across the U.S. in the past. Another young man was stoked to go to New Jersey to pluck chickens for 8 bucks an hour. There were two women on board that had left their children and families behind (temporarily) so they could go north and work for a while. It was amazing to talk to these folks that were going so far (all the way to the neighboring country) so they could make a bit of money to build their dream, be it a cow, a corner store or some other small business. They just wouldn't be able to save while working for 43 pesos a day (about 4 bucks). By simply crossing the border you can make 10 times as much or more, easily. Why such a great divide in earning potential? Have these "free trade" agreements really impacted the poor so negatively in Mexico that they must come here to make a fair wage? Yes. We have free trade when it comes to capital, corporate rights and manufactured goods but there is no freedom for labor like in the E.U. NAFTA really put the hurt on Mexico and is a hypocritic free trade policy.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I got to meet a bunch of really nice, honest, hard working people that were chasing their dream by crossing into the U.S. to look for some temporary work.
They got off the bus before I did, at various points along the border. I hung in all the way to Tijuana, where I was dropped off at 4:30 am with the bike. We had breakfast than waited in line with the thousands of people going to work in the U.S. that morning that live there. After about 2 hours I got to go through the x-ray machine and then Bam! I was in the U.S. and biking north toward downtown San Diego. It was like the U.S. but everyone spoke Spanish. Cool...
In San Diego I met some cyclists and checked out a bike race, then rode out to Ocean Beach.
After some much appreciated California cuisine and beer, I took a rest before another day of travel on Amtrak. A beautiful train ride took me up the coast and back to the Bay Area, where I spent a few days before heading back to Davis where I made it in time for the Whole Earth Festival, which was the goal after all.
Thanks to all those who helped me out during the ride. It was really the most amazing trip of my life. I feel really lucky and happy to have met the people that I did and to share with them so much. To those of you who left comments, wrote emails or kept in touch, right on! The encouragement was really helpful sometimes.
I'll post some stats sometime when I figure those out. Until then,