At the Border of USA and Mexico

Thrift shops have become my favorite thing, not only because of the very low prices but also because of the unique pieces of clothing I find everytime I decide to go hunting for new fun clothes. Luckily, San Diego has some amazing thrift shops, some of which I have visited with my friends. We always spend hours and hours searching for cool and almost always cheap clothes.

The past weekend, my friends Natalie, Lauren, Hina and I decided to visit this thrift shop called Auntie Helen’s and then we would go to the Outlets at the Border. It was one of those days. Going to the thrift shop was definitely a success since I left with two of my new favorite shirts and I only paid $2 for each of them. My mom would be proud! We had already decided that after that we to go to the Outlets at the Border — for more cheap clothing of course, because is it ever enough?

And let me just say, I had not anticipated how much of an adventure it would be.

“It was incredible to see the influence of the Mexican culture’s influence grow as we went south.”

To get there, we took the trolley, since there is a station at SDSU and the full day pass is very affordable. I had only ever taken the trolley to go to Old Town and that was the farthest I had ever taken it from campus. This time we were going until the last trolley station, San Ysidro. After 30 stops and what felt like an hour, we got there.

Even though the trip there on the trolley may not sound very fun, I have to say, it was so interesting to see the different landscapes on the way and the different people coming in and out of the trolley. I got to see Old Town from afar, the huge convention center and some of the tall buildings in Downtown. Then, after that, the view started to change as we passed through more residential areas and the naval base.

It was incredible to see the influence of the Mexican culture’s influence grow as we went south. There was a change in some of the neighborhoods’ style and we could see more and more billboards all around with advertisements in Spanish. As the people watcher that I am, I paid attention to everyone in the trolley. For the last four stops, everyone around us was speaking Spanish and I am not exaggerating when I say that my friends and I were probably the only ones speaking English. It was very interesting.

Two situations at the trolley caught my attention the most, one of them being a guy who entered the trolley and was trying to sell a single pair of shoes; he was asking $20 for it. He spoke Spanish, but I understood him. Everyone in the trolley seemed to just ignore him as if he was not even there, but the guy persisted.

The other person who caught my attention was an old lady who chose to sit by the door so that she could be right next to her cat, which slept in a pink kennel. She sang to her cat the entire way. I thought that was the sweetest thing.

As we walked out of the trolley when in San Ysidro, we could see a social mobilization happening on the other side of the street. Some people held a sign that read “Americanos for Trump” and received protests and middle fingers from people passing by. To say the least, I was very curious about this and I certainly thought it was intriguing that this was the first thing we saw when we got there.

We crossed the bridge to the outlets and there was a road sign that said “Mexico right lane only, No USA return.” It was all so new to me but I was glad I got to experience all of that and see it all with my own eyes.

Shopping at the outlets was fun too. The place is huge and there are so many offers; I would definitely recommend it for someone who wants to go on an adventure and is on a budget … the trolley pass is only $5 for the whole day.

Days like this remind me of why I came to San Diego: endless opportunities. Can’t wait to discover new places with my friends.

Julia Bertassoli is an international student from São Paulo, Brazil. She is a first-year television, film and new media production pre-major. Before coming to SDSU she was an exchange student in the Los Angeles area.

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