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Nareed
Nareed
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November 29th, 2011 at 6:27:41 PM permalink
Quote: pacomartin

The two types of cards are for people who are pre-screened.



I have an expired B1/B2 Visa. It's the common visa/border crossing card issued for limited business and leisure travel. I don't think they're being issued any more. From what I've heard, now they're printed on a blank passport page, but still valid for ten years.

Anyway, prior to that I had a laminated border crossing card issued in 1970, with the legend "valid until revoked" on the back. They were revoked en masse in 2000. To get the new one, I had to present my passport, fill out an application, pay a fee, and spend some hours at an embassy annex mostly waiting for my number to be called. I had a short interview, too. They took my phtoto and one finger print. When entering the US, four times over the past six years, they always check my passport, visa and fingerprint, ask some questions, and let me in. My lugagge has never been searched at customs.
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pacomartin
pacomartin
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November 29th, 2011 at 7:56:39 PM permalink
Quote: Nareed

From what I've heard, now they're printed on a blank passport page, but still valid for ten years.



Border Crossing Card (BCC) applicants at the consular sections in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Merida receive a B1/B2 visa/BCC foil that is affixed in the applicant’s passport instead of a card. BCC applicants at all other Consulates receive the new BCC.

The problem with San Ysidro is they tried to keep the same logical layout that they had in the 1950's, when you could run across the road and it was all fields.


The photo is facing northward, American border control is on the right, and Mexican border control is on the left.

Npw with about 40 lanes of traffic, and a virtual commercial center of souvenier shops, liquor stores, sweet shops, tacos stands, and betting parlors grown up in the intersection it is nightmare. Even with a BCC, you still have to walk through a labrynth of passageways, connecting gates, for hundreds of yards. On the American side you can catch the trolley

Vision
On the US side they have set up the Otay Pacific Business Park ( 32° 32.916'N 116° 58.386'W) right across the border from the parking garage of the Tijuana airport. What they need is permission to build a border crossing, and a development plan. On the US side would be hotels, conference rooms, check in terminals, office, parking garages, taxi stations, bus stations, and potentially a trolley stop.
On the Mexican side they have primarily the airport. What there wouldn't be is an automobile border crossing.

In the 20 years they have been discussing this idea, they envision a security controlled passageway across the border (probably a tunnel) where they would take you directly to the gates of the jets. The problem with this concept is that there are simply not enough air passengers to justify building this elaborate infrastructure. Security controlled spaces in airports are not that big, and this would be a lengthy tunnel. So the idea has remained in the planning stages for over 25 years.

My personal feeling is that they should broaden the concept to a pedestrian walkway only open to holders of passports and border crossing cards. They could service the area with buses instead of having automobile pickup on the Mexican side. You could use the pedestrian walkway, and then you would also have the option of walking over to the terminal to board a jet.

At present a significant fraction of the passengers at Tijuana airport live in San Diego county (mostly Mexican Americans). With a less cumbersome border crossing, then the Mexican airlines would add flights to resort cities in Mexico, as well as South America, Asian, and European destinations. A flight might go from Guadalajara or Mexico city with a layover in Tijuana, and then a mixed group would fly overseas.

If it works smoothly enough, it may even make sense for residents of southern San Diego county to walk over to TJ to take a flight to a hub airport in Chicago or New York. It might beat going to the overcrowded San Diego Lindbergh Field. I think the jury is out if people would actually leave the USA just to fly back to the USA. It all depends on if the overcrowding at San Diego airport gets as bad as predicted.
Wizard
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November 30th, 2011 at 2:00:49 AM permalink
I think everyone can agree that Tijuana was just not planned out well, especially the border zone. The enormous car traffic does make it difficult for any kind of attractive pedestrian crossing. Maybe what might work is developing a traditional Mexican plaza somewhere further inland with a free monorail going back and forth, also connecting with the airport. Perhaps that is similar to your idea.

One bit of advice I can give is there is a nearly free bus that goes from the McDonald's parking lot on the US side to Avenida Revolucion on the Mexican side, that doesn't even stop at the border. I'm not sure what it does going the other direction because I ended up walking back.

Before I was in Mexico City on Friday, Tijuana was the only major Mexican city I ever knew. Based on TJ, my expectations were not very high for MC. I must say I was very impressed with MC, and don't know why Tijuana can't be as nice.
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pacomartin
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November 30th, 2011 at 6:36:33 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I think everyone can agree that Tijuana was just not planned out well, especially the border zone. The enormous car traffic does make it difficult for any kind of attractive pedestrian crossing. Maybe what might work is developing a traditional Mexican plaza somewhere further inland with a free monorail going back and forth, also connecting with the airport. Perhaps that is similar to your idea.

One bit of advice I can give is there is a nearly free bus that goes from the McDonald's parking lot on the US side to Avenida Revolucion on the Mexican side, that doesn't even stop at border. I'm not sure what it does going the other direction because I ended up walking back.

Before I was in Mexico City on Friday, Tijuana was the only major Mexican city I ever knew. Based on TJ, my expectations were not very high for MC. I must say I was very impressed with MC, and don't know why Tijuana can't be as nice.



Tijuana
Every proposal drowns in controversy and political protest. Tijuana clearly needs some kind of trolley or monorail, but even plans to replace the thousands of station wagons with buses are met with huge protests. People don't want to lose their jobs, and every new system means a loss of a traditional job.

Pictured is a now dead proposal for fairly elaborate pedestrian gateway from the shopping mall called the International Gateway of the Americas.


That proposal also met with huge protest marches, because people were afraid men would use it to give them even more convenient access to the notorious prostitution zone (Zona Norte). The idea that the bridge might give the economic impetus to clean up the Zona Norte was met with wide incredulity. The Zone is a huge moneymaker, since many people who would never go to a prostitute in California, feel freer to do so in TJ. Mexican shopkeepers are also acutely aware that American stores are cheaper, even for goods that are made in Mexico. They fear anything that would make it easier for the Tijuanese to walk across the border and shop. There is also the fear of teenagers who find it easier to drink underage in TJ. If crossing the border means free parking in a shopping mall, and walking across a bridge, they will find it even easier to get smashed.

Bus from McDonald's
There are two McDonalds in San Ysidro, one is near the trolley stop. It's about a mile from the McDonald's to the Avenida Revolucion. I find it easier just to walk, as the route is fairly clear. If you take the bus, you should walk back and see some of the stands at the "Mercado de Artesanias".



Mexico city
Mexico city is one of the world's great cities, but it can be intimidating. The natural geography with the mountains on three sides, means that the air quality can be very bad. Visitors from northern America are usually suffering from the altitude anyway. For a big city, Guadalajara is a little more maneageable. But the colonial cities are often fairly small, and in many ways equivalent to going to small cities in Europe for a lot less money.
Wizard
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November 30th, 2011 at 7:00:28 AM permalink
I meant the McDonalds at the last trolly stop. Anyway, let's go onto something new.



This the Palacio de las Bellas Artes. A lovely looking building, if I may say so. Too bad it was not open yet when I passed by. It is next to a nice park as well. I am really going to have to return to Mexico City for a legitimate trip; I really liked what I saw last Friday.

About the air quality, it wasn't that bad when I was there. I'm sure it wasn't exactly good, but my eyes weren't burning as they do in major Chinese cities in winter.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Nareed
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November 30th, 2011 at 7:25:35 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

This the Palacio del Bellas Artes.



Palacio DE LAS Bellas Artes.

I've never really looked into it, but I'd bet it was built int he time of Porfirio Diaz, the last formal dictator. He had a thing for French culture that begat Reforma avenue and other things. A Palais de Beaux Arts would fit his style. No doubt Paco will disabuse me of that notion :)

Quote:

I lovely looking building, if I may say so.



I can't make fun of bad typos. So I'll mock the building instead: One of the ugliest eye-sores in Mex City.

But it is nicer inside. The concert hall is amazing and has really, really, really good acoustics.

Quote:

About the air quality, it wasn't that bad when I was there. I'm sure it wasn't exactly good, but my eyes weren't burning as they do in major Chinese cities in winter.



It's improved a great deal since more cars are made with catalytic converters. The local government will say it's becasue of their silly rules, but mostly it's better cars with converters and higher fuel efficiency. Also mid-late Fall is windier than normal, and pollution is usually lowest early in the morning, getting worse til it peaks in mid afternoon.
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Nareed
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November 30th, 2011 at 7:29:18 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

One bit of advice I can give is there is a nearly free bus that goes from the McDonald's parking lot on the US side to Avenida Revolucion on the Mexican side, that doesn't even stop at border. I'm not sure what it does going the other direction because I ended up walking back.



Tijuana is a free port. There are no restrictions at all for entering. No passport controls, no customs. When you leave, either through the US or Mexico, you do ahve to undergo a customs check at the least.

Quote:

Before I was in Mexico City on Friday, Tijuana was the only major Mexican city I ever knew. Based on TJ, my expectations were not very high for MC. I must say I was very impressed with MC, and don't know why Tijuana can't be as nice.



Oh, well, if your standards were that low.... BTW do not EVER go to Chilpancingo in Guerrero state. Not that there's anything to see there, as it's just an adminsitrative state capital city. But it's the ugliest city I've ever seen, and one of the places where it's harder to catch a cab.
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Nareed
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November 30th, 2011 at 7:40:01 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Posts de hoyos negros e estrellas de neutrón fue mover a Difference between a neutron star and black hole.



BTW: "hoyos negros Y estrellas de neutronES." "Posts de hoyos negros y estrellas de neutrones FUERON MOVIDOS a..."

But then it's Spanglish, not Spanish.
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Wizard
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November 30th, 2011 at 8:07:06 AM permalink
Quote: Nareed

Tijuana is a free port. There are no restrictions at all for entering. No passport controls, no customs. When you leave, either through the US or Mexico, you do ahve to undergo a customs check at the least.



I've crossed lots of borders and the only two I can think of that were no questions asked were walking driving into Mexico (at various crossings) and from France to/from Italy. Do you know why they stamp your passport if you fly into Mexico but not walk across, or take a cruise ship? Almost the same goes for Canada. If you drive across they don't stamp, but if you fly, or take the Seattle-Victoria ferry they do.

Quote: Nareed

Oh, well, if your standards were that low.... BTW do not EVER go to Chilpancingo in Guerrero state. Not that there's anything to see there, as it's just an adminsitrative state capital city. But it's the ugliest city I've ever seen, and one of the places where it's harder to catch a cab.



Duly noted. Ugliest city I've ever been to? I've been to Russian Moscow and Lenningrad in Feb 1986. Aside from some of the major sites they were extremely drab and boring, just endless boxy apartment buildings for miles. However, since Communist Russia doesn't exist any more, I shouldn't count them. If forced, I'd have to say the ugliest city I've been to, that is still ugly, is Detroit. Hopefully nobody from Detroit in the forum will find this.

I should say something in Spanish, so let me ask an idiomatic question. The book I'm reading (in both languages) says:

In English: This whole thing is ridiculous.
In Spanish: No tiene ni pies ni cabeza.

I would translate that as "I have neither feet nor head." Come again? I'm sure it is some kind of idiom, but what does it mean?
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Nareed
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November 30th, 2011 at 8:26:19 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Do you know why they stamp your passport if you fly into Mexico but no walk across, or take a cruise ship?



Usually the passports aren't stamped in border zones. I've never had my passport stamped either at Laredo or McAllen, or even San Diego. the only times they did was when I said I was staying for several weeks, or intended to travel well beyond the border zone.


Quote:

In English: This whole thing is ridiculous.
In Spanish: No tiene ni pies ni cabeza.

I would translate that as "I have neither feet nor head." Come again? I'm sure it is some kind of idiom, but what does it mean?



"Tiene" is third person. So "it has no feet nor head." it means "it makes no sense," and is a fair translation for "this whole thing is ridiculous." I'd ahve translated it as "Esto es ridículo," or "Esto no tiene sentido." But translation depends heavily on context. Sometimes you need more complicated or idiomatic expressions to preserve the feel of the overall work.
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