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April 22, 2009

The Mexican Border

Tonight, I drove down to the border with Mexico to see what I could see. I really wanted to get a shot of where the Mexican border fence goes into the Pacific Ocean, if such a place exists. I'm not 100% clear if it does or not. In theory, it should, but for some reason, I have a hard time imagining a beach with a razor wire fence across it, dividing the world into the have's and the have not's. I'm not an open border advocate. Don't get me wrong. But it's just hard to imagine a place where people are drinking margaritas on the beach, and behind them is an 18 foot high razor wire fence where they're auctioning off children in a 3rd world bazaar just a few meters away.

But maybe that is the case. I'm not clear.

So I drove across the Coronado Bridge, past the North Island Naval Air Station, and south along the peninsula on State Highway 75. Past Hotel Del Coronado. Past the US Naval Amphibious Base Coronado to the south end of Imperial Beach where the Black Hawks were swarming like horseflies at a swimming hole.

At this point, the road ended and although I was technically at the beach, I found myself on the north side of the Oneonta Slough (pronounced 'oh-nee-AHN-tah slew') and the Tijuana River estuary.

I asked some surfers how to get to the Mexican border and they suggested that I drive south on Hollister. So, I skirted along the northern border of the Imperial Beach Naval Outlying Field, and eventually found Hollister and headed south.

Presently, I found myself at the edge of the Border Field State Park. The signs said "No Vehicles Beyond This Point". So, I got out and started walking. I saw lots of border patrol, of course. And the helicopters were swarming overhead like bees on a crab apple tree, I kid you not. But, I figured that I wasn't breaking any laws and I just proceeded like I knew what I was doing. The road I was walking down made a big loop and basically took me right up to a group of 4-5 border patrol agents on four-wheelers around a campfire, believe it or not.

The skies are really gray here because the "May Gray"/"June Gloom" has set in where the clouds roll in off the ocean. So I guess they had a fire for warmth. Either that or to warn the illegal immigrants of their position so they wouldn't have to waste a lot of energy chasing them through the Oneonta Slough.

So I walked up to the Border Patrol and told them I wanted to get a shot of where the border fence goes into the ocean.

"They haven't finished that part yet. It doesn't go that far." One of them replied.

"Well, not the secondary fence, anyway," he clarified.

"How far do you reckon it is down to the beach?" I asked.

"About a mile."

"Well, I probably wouldn't make it before dark then. I don't suppose you'd give me a ride down there on your four-wheeler, huh?" I asked.

But they said they couldn't so I returned to my car without getting the shot I wanted. I did snap some photos of the border fence, with Mexico in the background, but it was pretty low light and the focus is pretty soft.

In this last shot, notice how the international border divides the image almost down the middle. The lights on the right show all the development on the Mexican side of the border. The darkness on the left side of the image shows the lack of development on the U.S. side. Which side of the border you're own when the sun goes down is up to you.

Posted by Rob Kiser on April 22, 2009 at 10:49 PM


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