The Mexican border is only a few minutes from San Diego. Crossing the border was surprisingly easy; we drove right through. It was dark and we were so tired that the actual trip (about an hour and a half) to the campground is a head-bobbing blur. I remember stopping three times to pay tolls, and feeling the alien-ness of being in a foreign country close in around me. Hearing spanish instead of english, seeing the spanish signs, and simply sensing the difference of it all. I was glad Kimmie was driving.

We arrived at the Villarino Campground at about 5:00 a.m. We dragged our things into the cabins, and crawled into whatever beds were available. As we were going to bed, several of the workers were getting up and preparing to go to the job site.

Lyndon and the two older boys settled into the guys’ cabin. Carter came with me to the girls’ cabin. It didn’t take any of us long to crash, and we didn’t get up until around 10:00 that morning. I kept thinking, throughout the night, that I was at home and it was storming outside. I realized in the morning that I was hearing the ocean surf crashing on the beach, just down the hill from our cabin. What a view as I brushed my teeth outside the cabin the first morning. The campground is on a little bay, and I could see fishing boats and sailing boats in the water. The bay is framed by cliffs, beautiful.

The shower felt great. The water is from a mineral spring, and our hair and skin felt wonderful the entire time we were there. We had our first breakfast, made sandwiches to take to the job site for lunch, organized our luggage and beds a little better as we hadn’t realized we would be split up into separate cabins, and finally headed out on our first trip to Zorrillo. So many things to see on that first ride…

The road from the campground is mined with horrendous speed bumps. As we soon learned, the driving technique consisted of speeding along until almost upon a speed bump, braking suddenly and then bumping over the speed bump, and then accelerating rapidly until encountering the next speed bump. This was, we discovered during the time we were there, especially tricky at night, as the warning signs were typically spray painted and were therefore not reflective. Hence, several bone-jarring, whiplash-producing encounters with speed bumps were experienced. But I digress…

The half hour drive from the campground to Zorrillo was a study in cultural differences. The first part was along a resort area, with several campgrounds and what looked like holiday homes crowded between the road and the beach. It reminded me a little of driving along the Shuswap in British Columbia. We even saw horses tied up to a fence at one spot. A tourist opportunity, I assume. Because it was winter, most of the roadside tamale stands and shops were boarded up. I am sure it would be a much busier place in the summer.

Before long, we were driving through little communities, interspersed with fields and hills. There was little activity in the fields, again because of the time of year. We saw some vegetable crops, and a few bony cows here and there. Winter is a tough time for the people in the villages. Most of them are farm labourers, and there is not enough work during the cold season. I heard that those wanting to work stand along the roads in the mornings, hoping to be picked up by a work truck going to the fields. If they do work, they make about $13.00 a day. Many people are hungry during the winter.

As we drove, the land became hilly with sparse, shrubby trees. The roads were littered with garbage, and mangy-looking dogs wandered everywhere. And then we arrived at Zorrillo…

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