Hello again…! San Diego is great – definitely all it’s cracked up to be. Lovely beaches, stunning women, relaxed atmosphere…we could stay here for ages! After a morning on the beach, we moved hostel, this time to the “Banana Bungalow” (nowhere near as dodgy as it sounds!) a little futher north – this time actually on the beach front at Mission Beach (cheers for the recommendation, Barm…the beach was superb!) – the epitomy of summer cool. The backpackers in the hostel are really cliquey, and apart from a couple tend to keep themselves to themselves – maybe turning up with a decent method of transport got up their noses – and seem to be staying for 4-5 weeks at a time, rather than our token couple of nights. With that exception, people in general round here are really friendly – must be the english accent! – eager to chat about the bikes, keen to recommend places to see, places to eat, drink, etc. – and also where not to go – i.e. Tijuana. After a couple of days tinkering with the bikes, dealing with hangovers (etc) – thanks David and James – we made one final trip back to LA to pick up Will’s wallet that he’d forgotten in the UK (doh!) – thanks for posting it out Claire – means I’m not buying EVERYTHING any more! We left San Diego on the 27th, heading south for the Mexican border about 20 miles away. We were somewhat apprehensive about our first “real” border crossing – strangely enough it went very smoothly – we were just waved through. On the other side of the border we realised that we’d forgotten to hand over our US green cards (they get really funny if they think you’re still in the country!) and we hadn’t got the mandatory insurance or temporary import licence for the bikes – DOH! Cue three hours of traipsing from office to office, producing documents on demand like a kid’s magician at various windows. The guy who sold us our insurance was most helpful – he showed us which office to go to, what documents to produce, even told us how much it’d cost…we were initially really dubious about him, but having subtly checked his story with the tourist office we realised he was being genuine…he wasn’t getting anything more out of it, just wanted to help. He drew us a map of the area, showed us the best road to Ensenada and even wrote out or names in Spanish – mental note, must not be so suspicious in future! Finally ready to go, we headed into the centre of Tijuana, having decided not to stay there on the advice of a couple of guys we’d been speaking to in San Diego. It was a shock, to say the least…the contrast between the American wealth and the (relative) Mexican poverty is massively obvious the minute you drive through the border, especially in Tijuana which primarily serves as an under-age drinking hangout for American kids. Rubbish blows around the streets, gaudy neon signs advertise cheap beer and tequila and there’s a general air of dilapidation and seediness that’s really unsettling. Once on the “scenic road” that heads due west from Tijuana to the coast, we cut south on a lovely new tarmac toll road, sweeping down the west coast in a seemingly unending run of spectacular coastline and dramatic scenery. The coast road slices along the edge foothills of the northern Baja desert, through cuttings blasted out of the rocky foothills and bridging sandy inlets and dry riverbeds. We got bored of the endless smooth tarmac and dived off the main road where possible, taking the “old” coast road that’s a lot more relaxed and conducive to (many) picture stops to appreciate the dramatic scenery. One detour led us down a maze of sandy backroads to bypass the construction site of a new bridge – our first off-road run! Brilliant! We rolled into Ensenada, a well-worn industrial port, about 5pm that evening and after a misguided attempt to find accomodation in the town centre (very busy, and we didn’t know the “dodgy” areas!) we swung briefly north to a hotel we’d seen on the way in. Accomodation is a whole lot cheaper now we’re in Mexico – the $24 a night (each) for a bed in a sweaty, crowded hostel in San Diego now gets us a decent hotel room – and food is the same – $40 meal bills have shrunk to $7. We’re constantly surprised by the quality of the food – that night, what looked like a run-down diner by the road served us the best Mexican food we’ve had…all freshly prepared. Next stop – the Baja desert.