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Monday, December 12, 2016

Oh, Tijuana… Tijuana…

On a recent trip to Tijuana, my first trip ever to Mexico, I was followed by the Mexican police, stopped by the Mexican police, and accused by the Mexican police of smuggling pills.

Let me tell you what happened…

My heart was overflowing with excitement to visit Tijuana. Sure, I was warned by some people about the downside of Tijuana but, not being one to listen to other people’s opinions, I decided to see Tijuana for myself.


Two friends and I drove from Los Angeles to San Diego to catch the train to the Mexican border. While waiting for the train we befriended a man from Vancouver who was also making the journey into Tijuana. He joined us and spent the day with us.

We spent the afternoon wandering, talking to people, eating a nice meal, enjoying Mexican coffee, listening to live music, and as evening descended upon us, we went shopping for coffee beans (Veracruz coffee…. Delicious!), and then jumped into a taxi for the ride to the border. What we didn’t know is that the police were following us.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

We hadn’t driven more than half a mile when we were stopped by the police. I assumed the taxi driver was getting a speeding ticket. He stepped out the taxi and talked to one of the officers.

Seconds later there was a tap at the window. I rolled it down. The other officer asked me if I spoke Spanish and I said no. I rolled up my window. I thought nothing of it…

The officer tapped on the other window and my friend who speaks Spanish spoke with him. Because I was in the front seat and my friend behind me, the officer positioned himself so his hip was in my window where I could prominently see his gun.

Then I heard my friend telling the officer what we all did for a living. Then I heard the word “farmacia” which I knew meant pharmacy. This was followed by questions about what we bought and where we went. 

About 20 minutes later, the driver got in the taxi and we sped away.  He drove us directly to the border and walked us to the gate. I said, “muchas gracias.”

It wasn’t until we were at the gate that my friend said the cops accused us of embezzling pills from the farmacia and said they had video to prove it. What?!?

It was a shakedown for money, but somehow, and we don’t know why, the police let us go. No bribes were paid.

I can only imagine what would have happened if the police pursued their false claim… Would they have planted pills in my backpack? In my coffee beans? Would we have been sent to jail? Prison? Would I have become the bitch of Cell Block 7?

It was quite the (scary) adventure and one that I will remember forever.

And yes, I still love Tijuana.


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