I explained the situation to the Mexican immigration officer. He inspected the car, saw two kids in the back seat and
he gave verbal directions on how to head back. I didn’t understand the directions completely when he explained; I thought it might be okay as I have the mobile app to show the directions. So now I entered in to Mexico for first time in my life. This is the first time I am crossing any country’s border on road.
It was just a like a magic – same geographical conditions, same weather conditions, but roads & economic conditions were looking drastically different. Traffic was moving inch by inch. Traffic lights were only acting only like a guideline, no one took it seriously. It was very sad to see kids begging on the streets, mothers with infants also to be begging. I wondered: Wow, what a difference a fence can make.
There were no English sign boards, in fact no boards in most places. And the most fun part was: map application in my mobile phone was routing me all through the city. I was roaming around 30 minutes in the city and still couldn’t find my way. In the meantime, I started to get fear about following “if” conditions: What will happen “if” someone stops the car?, What will happen “if” I have car accident? – how is insurance going to cover it, what will happen “if”, I couldn’t figure out direction. To keep a full stop to all these conditions, I stopped the car near a Mexican police officer and explained my situation. Through his half English & half Spanish he started to communicate. He looked at the mobile map and told that US map won’t work in Mexico. He was kind enough to draw the direction on a paper on how to go to San Diego.
Now following his direction, I started to drive. Finally I saw the sign for San Diego. Oh, thank god. I thought all is set now. Time was around 4.00ish, I thought I can still make it to the user group.
But then there were so many cars lined up in front of us. Every 5 minutes, our car was moving by an inch. By the time when we got to immigration counter – it was 5.40pm. Still I thought I could make it to the user group. But now US immigration officer in the counter dropped the bomb. He told that since I don’t have all the documents, I have to talk to CBP (Customs and Border Protection) office. But he basically told CBP would give me 3 choices:
1. Go back to Mexico and have someone mail me the documents to Mexico. I can produce that documents and get back to USA.
2. Pay a waiver fees of $585/person
3. I don’t recall now what it was.
After few minutes of wait, an Armed officer escorted us from our car to CBP office.