Monthly Archives: September 2009

Sand sculptures in Rosarito Beach



Rosarito Beach  held a sand sculpture contest this weekend, and the builders were still busy at work by the time I got there around 2:30 p.m. that Sunday. Shortly afterwards, the mayor of Rosarito Beach, Hugo Tores, inspected the 30+ entries as journalists chased after him with their cameras. The winning entry for the Baja Sand contest was an octopus. Second place went to a version of the Titanic and third place went to a design with an eco-friendly message created by employees of the Baja California water agency. Here are a few of the other entries:

A face with a mohawk hair cut…


A snowman made of sand…



An Aztec pyramid…


Sand castle and bike event in Rosarito Beach this weekend: Sept. 26-27


The twice-a-year Rosarito-Ensenada bike ride – celebrating its 30th year –  takes place this Saturday,Sept. 26.  About 5,000 riders are expected to participate in the event, according to a press release from Rosarito Beach’s communications office:

Participants can register online for $45 through, or they can register on the day of the event for $50 at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. More information is available at as well as

If you are more in the mood to loll around than to flex your calves, another option in Rosarito Beach this weekend is a sand castle contest on Sunday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in front of the Rosarito Beach Hotel

According to Rosarito Beach’s communications office, registration and further information is available at or by calling 661-612-0200 or 661-612-0396 in Mexico or 619-730-1871 in the United States.

Video of Rosarito-Ensenada bike ride posted by BajaGeoff on YouTube.

Readers’ responses to U.S. passport regulations at the border

passportOne of the more popular entries on this blog has been about a certain U.S. policy that requires U.S. travelers returning from border towns like Tijuana to show a designated travel document, which in most cases means a passport, at the land ports of entry.

 It used to be  that many cross-border travelers could just flash a driver’s license, but potential terrorists and other border security concerns seem to have put an end to that – or maybe not.

The U.S. government started the policy this year. However, the reality and the rules don’t seem to be matching up. I have yet to hear from a  reader who has been prevented from re-entering the country for not having their passport. Here are a few recent postings  – in case you didn’t see them in the comments section – from readers who shared their own experiences of travelling sans passports. 

Hey Anna,
well i just got back from my vacation to San Filipe and had a blast. Check this out, all the stress and worry over not having a passport, for nothing. they let me right back over no questions asked. so i stopped at a jack in the box and ask two border patrol agents whats up with all of this… you know what they told me? they said that they cannot and will not deny any U.S. citizen entry back into the states. they said its in the constitution. they said “if you just have an I.D., you will just go to secondary and be questioned.” thats it!, they said that the passport is preffered but not “REQUIRED” its a bunch of media B.S. even they said it got alot of money moving for people were so scared to not have a passport. bottom line your a real citizen your aloud back home.

And here’s another note from a frequent border-crosser called “Chris.”:

I cross 2 -4 times a week at the san ysidro crossing with nothing but my DL and birth certificate.

If your a US citizen you have nothing to worry about its a new rule not a codified law.. The consititution forbids keeping a citizen from returning. Yes got sent to secondary once but that was within the 1st week of the new policy.

Furthermore its a dumb rule it will not stop terrorists or border jumpers.

I personally use a special travel card called the SENTRI, so I’m not affected by all this, and I’m not advocating pushing your luck with the U.S. government, but it does raise an interesting question as to how feasible this policy really is. 

To read more reader comments go here:


Tijuana’s Tepoznieves a tasty ice-cream spot


Have you ever craved some prune ice cream?

What about a dollop of coconut with gin, celery – or pineapple with chile pepper?

These are the kinds of funky flavors you can find at a Tepoznieves ice cream store. It’s a Mexican “gourmet ice cream” chain with two branches just across the U.S. border in Tijuana. The ice cream originated from a Mexican village called Tepoztlan where it was dedicated to the son of the God of Wind sometime before the Spanish conquest of Mexico, according to the Tepoznieves website.

When it gets hot like it has been in Los Angeles lately, I find myself thinking about Tepoznieves ice cream. The stores boast more than 100 ice cream and sorbet flavors. Sure, you can get your traditional ones like chocolate, vanilla and bubble gum. But why not try something more adventurous, like fig, cheese, rice – or tequila!

 The stores are cheerily decorated in a way that emphasizes the confetti-like colors of the ice cream itself. I spent a good hour tasting eight different flavors during a recent visit. The offerings include ice creams that are outlandish mixes of various flavors. “Xilone’s ice cream,” for example, includes the following flavors: corn cake, mango, peach, cherry, pine nuts and chocolate. And for those who find ice cream a little – bland – there are several specials that use chile pepper flavor to add a kick to the flavor.


If you go: There are two Tepozneives in Tijuana. One is at the MacroPlaza anchored by the WalMart at Plaza los Antojos, near the Morelos Park. The one closest to the border is in the Zona Rio along Blvd. Sanchez Taboada. It’s near a Sam’s Club. You can find them on this Google map:



ancient times.

Most defense lawyers for Mexican drug traffickers have shortened life spans – Americo Delgado outlived most


The striking thing about the fate of Mexican defense attorney Americo Delgado, who defended various Mexican drug traffickers over the years, is not so much that he was murdered recently – but that he had apparently lived to be in his 80s.

The Los Angeles Times’ Ken Ellingwood reported on Delgado’s killing in this story, which explains how  Delgado was stabbed to death by a group of men in front of his home in Toluca, Mexico.

I remember reaching Americo Delgado by phone once when I was a reporter at The San Diego-Union Tribune, covering border news. I was seeking a quote from him in regards to the U.S. government’s efforts to extradite his client Benjamin Arellano-Felix, the former high-ranking member of the Arellano Felix drug group (Arellano was eventually extradited). The fact that he even took  my call was somewhat amazing to me.

Over the seven years I worked in Tijuana, I interviewed or talked to several other Mexican defense attorneys who represented people who were either directly or indirectly involved with major drug groups. One of them was gunned down shortly after I chatted with him (no connection). Another one ended up being killed and stuffed inside a car trunk.

I occasionally wondered how Americo Delgado  – who defended some of the drug world’s top lieutenants –  managed to avoid the fate of his less-fortunate colleagues in this shadowy world where “just doing one’s job” is complicated by the deeper symbolism and loyalties that the drug trafficking world operates on. Delgado had most recently been defending suspected drug trafficker Alfredo Beltran Leyva, according to newspaper reports.

Video originally posted by Multimedia on YouTube.