Tijuana, Mexico

I was down in Mexico yesterday.  Things have changed quite a bit over the years.  The Mexicans have tried to clean up the city.  The roads are paved and have sidewalks.  But the economic slowdown is very visible.  There are no longer as many people in TJ as there once was.  Many restaurants and shops are boarded up.

One good thing is that there are fewer people living  on the street and fewer street scammers, guys who would walk around looking  to prey upon tourists.

The main difference, and this was a change that began the day after Sept. 11, 2001, was the wait to get back into the USA.  It took me 1 full hour!  I can remember when 15 minutes or less was normal, now you can expect at least an hour.  One time, back in late 2001, I suffered a 4 hour wait! 

MONEY ISSUES:

The dollar is stronger than the peso, so I suggest changing over to pesos. I normally change over my money at the cambio (money exchange) located to your left as you walk into Mexico.

Here is how it works: In general, the Mexican prices are just US amounts times 10.  So 100 pesos is in general 10 dollars.  A Big Mac combo that is $6 in the US, will cost 60 pesos.

BUT when the US dollar is worth more than 10 times the pesos, as it is now at 12.6, Mexicans do not adjust their prices, so you wind up spending less.  For example, if you change over a $20 bill at the cambio, right now they give you 250 pesos, which, if you have been following me, is worth US$25.  So you get an extra US$5 just for  changing to pesos.

Bascially, just check the exchange rate online at http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi?Amount=1&From=USD&To=MXN&image.x=65&image.y=6.  Wow, it is up to 13 today, if it was not raining I would go down!

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