July 2, 2004 by Allen George
As I promised Scott, I hunkered down today and started to put together an entry about Mexico.
First, the backstory.
We have a colleague named Neil. A fellow Waterloo-ian (?!) he’s a CS alumni who interned once at Qualcomm and took a permanent job here. Some weeks back Neil got in touch with me and suggested that the four of us (me, Allister, Mike and Justin) head down with him to Rosarito and Puerto Nuevo in Mexico. As you can imagine, I was gung-ho about that idea ;-) Anything to expand the list of places and countries I’ve travelled to… We settled on the 26th as the day we’d head down.
Fast forward to the 25th. The day before. I’d already clarified with our visa sponsors that there’d be no complications. There was _one_ hangup though. We had no hotel at which to stay on Saturday. For a good portion of Friday Mike, Neil and I researched up hotels in Rosarito.
Note: Most of them are shit. Either you get robbed, the rooms are horrible or they are ridiculously overpriced. Don’t expect anything spectacular and definitely remember that most of the places will be highly run down.
I encountered bad luck at every hotel I called. First I had to somehow discover the country and area code for Rosarito. That was…interesting. (01152661+ 7 digit number I believe). Then, the first hotel I called resulted in a wierd sinusoindal tone. Puzzled, I thought this was a Mexico specific tone.
Now, imagine me thinking this. Now, even better, imagine me trying to describe this to a Mexican tourist official. I knew I’d sound like a fool even before calling them about that. I just underestimated how much like a fool I’d sound ;-) The best they could suggest is that I’d been disconnected.
I tried repeatedly until I somehow managed to get a Spanish woman on the phone. Haha…oh boy. That was an interesting conversation. I started talking in English, she in Spanish and obviously _neither_ of us understood each other. I then mentioned the name of the hotel and she started saying “No, No, No” and listing out a number in Spanish. I followed all the way until the last 4 digits when she dissolved into some weird gibberish.
Then she hung up.
I still have no idea what happened to that hotel. I tried other hotels. Three were booked solid and the fourth stated that they “never made Saturday reservations”. I had to get to the hotel as early as possible and reserve a room when someone left. Great. I ended up calling another hotel outside of the city (in the hope that it would have rooms free). Cue another horrible telephone story. Ten calls later I had seven sinusoindal tones, two busy signals and one disconnection. I gave up.
Since I had _no_ other options, I decided to recommend going to the hotel that refused to make Saturday reservations. I figured that even the glimmer of hope was better than nothing. Imagine that: going to Mexico with nowhere to stay. Trust me – not the brightest of ideas.
In case you’re interested, the median price for 4 people/room in Rosarito is $150+. Yeah. I paid a _whole_ lot less for a much, much better room here in San Diego. But, Rosarito’s a party down and a whole lot of American tourists with money to burn makes a big difference.
We ended up having to pay $168 for one night. No breakfast, nothing included. The floors were damp but the place was remarkably clean (for Mexico). If you ever travel down to Rosarito and need a place to stay, consider the Brisas Del Mar (#22 Blvd. Benito Juarez). It’s towards the North of the ‘city’ and you have to deal with the fact that they won’t do any reservations for Saturday.
More tomorrow :-)