Lotus and Topher welcomed us with open arms, and Harry and I spent two wonderful days with them and their kids in San Diego (one of its beaches is pictured above). Topher and I are friends from graduate school times in Boston, and it was great to catch up and get to know his peeps. Harry had to pay a visit to a vet in order to obtain an international travel certificate, and it turned out that he has an ear infection that required cleaning and treatment. He was a tough cookie and tolerated the unwanted attention without tantrums.
On Sunday morning we met up with Reynaldo who recently started his new job as an assistant professor. He and his wife are happy to be back in San Diego where they already lived for two years before moving to Pittsburgh. We then crossed the U.S.-Mexican border around noon. Of the three administrative tasks awaiting us–immigration, temporary import of la bestia, and getting Harry inspected and admitted–we could only accomplish the first since the card reader for the vehicle deposit was broken and the veterinary office was closed. However, the immigration officer was very kind and suggested driving to Tijuana airport where another office also handles temporary car imports. I punched the address into my GPS, which thankfully also works in Mexico, and we were on our way.
Twenty minutes later I realized that there are exactly five streets in Tijuana that bear the same name, and the office for temporary imports was on the other side of the city… We eventually got there and received the temporary permit. We also learned that Harry could get inspected in other major cities and that, as long as I carry his vaccination certificate, there’s no need to get this done first thing tomorrow. Relieved that we thus won’t be held up, we drove to a nearby shopping center where, after 45 minutes of waiting to be seen by a “telecommunications adviser” (I was somewhat familiar with the outlandishly bureaucratic procedure since cell phone companies in Thailand operate similarly), I obtained a cheap Mexican smart phone (+52 664-547-5420). Now we’re ready to explore Baja!