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September 19, 2016

Trolley to Tijuana–and a dental visit

I know that many in the RV community chose to have their dental work done in Los Algodones.  And really this is an excellant choice when travel includes the Yuma, AZ area.

However, it makes sense for us to go to Tijuana as it’s an easy trolley ride to the San Ysidro border crossing.  Not only did Rufus suffer some abuse on the Alaskan adventure, our dental hygiene was also somewhat neglected.  Today our destination is the Washington Dental Clinic just south of Tijuana Centro.
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An all day Senior Pass on the trolley is $3, compared to $5 for an Adult Pass.  Not a big savings and the hardest part of this adventure was trying to find how to buy the Senior Pass!  There are ticket kiosks at every stop that only dispense Adult tickets.  A few stations have a manned ticket booth to obtain the discount (Old Town, Downtown and South Bay).

We found it easier to use the trolley stop at the bottom of our hill and pay the extra fee to the kiosk and hop on the Green Line to downtown.
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In theory only two bicycles are allowed on the trolley, but that appears to be only a suggestion.  I saw as many as 5 in one trolley car, and none of those in the designated area.
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The trolley line follows the railroad tracks south, through some of the older sections of San Diego.  These are some areas we have not seen in many years.  Despite having lived here for 40 years this was our first trolley adventure.

The artwork crossing over the San Diego River is pretty lame, there is much nicer work in the Barrio as you'll see in a bit.  Kansas City Bar.B.Que is famous for the piano scene in Top Gun, is an easy walk from the Convention Center or Gas Lamp trolley stop.
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Reaching the end-of-the-line for the Green Line in downtown, we need to change to the Blue Line.  Depending on the stop and distance between stops the trolley can be expected every 15 minutes.
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The artwork in the Barrio is truly mural quality.  It was obviously not done in the middle of the night with a spray can.
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As I mentioned in a previous post the pedestrian crossing into Mexico is now on the East side of I-5 near the trolley stop.  Look for the signs, which can be easily missed in the confusion and bustle.
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All persons entering Mexico must have a visa (FMM) in their possession.  This can be obtained online or filled out at the Immigration Station.  I obtained our forms online and paid for the 6 month multiple entry, we only needed to have them stamped upon entry.  Note that BOTH the FMM and the bank receipt are needed!!!  The FMM (Mutliple Migratiry Form) can be filled out here at the Nacional de Migration.
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Once in Tijuana things moved quick!  A well-dressed cab driver, speaking fluent English, offered us a ride knowing we were going to Washington Dental.  He explained that Washington Dental would pay the fare ($5) and refused our money.  Sure enough!  Although he did accept a tip … This is definitely an E-Ticket ride – sit-down, shut-up and hold-on!
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Washington Dental is a large building among other medical buildings and banks.  It is clean, modern, friendly.  They offer a large screen in the waiting room, free beverages and snacks.  The reception area and dental liaison are all fluent in English.  The dentist and hygienist are ok … better than my Spanish, but not fluent.
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The offices are on the south side of Zona Centro on the famous Av Revolucion.  Our plan was to walk back to the border to take in the shops, raunchy bars and street tacos of the tourist area.  However, they had a cab waiting for us at their expense!  And with it waiting and with Hurricane Paine creating a hot and muggy walk, we took the cab.

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The cab could take us to either the old East entry or the new West entry.  We chose West as it is typically faster and Fran needs some new tennis shoes.  There is an Asics in the Outlet Mall.
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And had I only known, there is also a husband baby-sitting area with free WiFi, big screen, free beverages, cushy chairs …. ARG! – next time!
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If you happen to remember when the West side was southbound and East was northbound, and Google Maps still shows it that way;  here are what the old West (southbound) parking lot and Duty Free shops looked as we took the pedestrian overpass back to the trolley.
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Since we missed the street tacos we decided to get off the trolley early in Old Town for one of the excellent Mexican Restaurants Cafe Coyote.  The Margarita for Two comes in a convenient single- serving carafe, ok we shared and still didn’t finish it!  My Chili Colorado and Fran’s Taco Salad were both too much, we could have split something.
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Financials:
Cleaning by our local dentist is now $150!!! up from $125
Washington Dental $40, Fran has a partial - she was charged $20!  not bad

I need a crown replaced:
local $750
Washington Dental $250

Not sure what’s up next.  There’s been lots of changes in Tecolote Canyon, more of an interest to the locals.  I’d like to again start my Friday ‘Urban Hikes’.  Stay tuned.
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