Mexicali Global Entry Chinese Food

If you’re considering getting Global Entry, and want to do it fast, you should make a mini-vacation to Mexicali, BC out of it.

Appointments at LAX can take months, Calexico appointments are available within weeks. After your quick interview, you could drive all the way back home, or you could spend the night in the capital of Baja California.

We stayed at the Real Inn Mexicali, for $75/night, which is about as nice as staying at a $160/night hotel in some other North American state capital’s downtown. We hung out at the pool for a while, because it’s very very very hot there, then we got ready for dinner.

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Mexicali has over 345 Chinese restaurants, serving Cantonese food with uniquely Cachanilla additions: chile güeros, a bowl of limes, and ubiquitous caguamas of Tecate and Tecate Light. We walked five minutes to Pekin, which was a little fancier than Nuevo Canton. We ordered the $208 MXN combination, where they kept bringing out rounds of food…

Carnitas Coloradas (Char Siu), Res Estilo Mongol (Mongolian Beef), Sopa Tipo Aleta (imitation shark fin soup), Pollo Mandarin (Orange Chicken), Arroz Cantonés (Fried Rice with shrimp and Chinese sausage), Pollo a la Plancha (grilled chicken in a teriyaki sauce) and Combinacíon China (which was like all the meats and all the veggies in one tasty dish.) We got 2 bottles of Tecate Light and an order of Chun Cun (Egg Rolls.) — We left very full, and had enough leftovers for the next two meals for about $44.

Then we walked a block to Cinépolis Centro Cívico, where the concession line almost wraps around the block. We saw Mujer Maravilla (Wonder Woman) in English with Spanish subtitles for 90 pesos. That’s a blockbuster on opening day for $2.45 per ticket. If you’re a film buff, it’s almost crazy not to cross the border to go to the movies.

The next morning we walked to Sanborn’s in the Plaza Fiesta. There will always be a place in my heart for this Mexican institution. They have a wide range of comfort food on their menu, and each month they celebrate a different region. I got San Luis Potosi-inspired arranchera on my chilaquiles, and Maureen got a club sandwich. We walked out full for about $25.

There’s obviously waaaaay more to do in Mexicali, but we wanted to get back, so we checked out of the hotel at 1pm. We took a 50 peso cab ride to the border, we crossed in 15 minutes, which was faster than I’d ever crossed before (and that was without using Global Entry VIP status.) We stopped at a shop to buy a $5 fidget spinner, and we walked back to the car at Double AA, a few blocks from the border. It’s only $4/day or 100 pesos/day. I’d recommend paying in dollars, unless you really want to get rid of your pesos (cuz it’s like you’re paying $6)

Then we went to the Nike outlet in Calexico, and I got some pretty cool pink & purple running shoes on clearance for 40 bucks. There are some good deals over there.

Then we drove north to Brawley, California, and went to his gastropub in an old building downtown called Inferno. Which has really tasty barbecue and pizza, and they sometimes have concerts — Snoop Dogg played there once. Anyway I got the manager’s info, and maybe we can throw a party there some day. Then we stopped for a date shake in Westmorland, California before driving back to LA.

So that’s a pretty good cheap Southern California / Baja California mini-vacation, that let’s you cross a border, and also take care of some business.

Tchüss,
-HELLER

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In The Dominican Republic

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Dominican Feast

I was invited by the Dominican Republic to explore the country’s north coast. In recent years, the all-inclusive beaches of Punta Cana have grown in popularity. But Puerto Plata and the north coast wants to make a name for itself as a low-key alternative to the southeastern resort beaches. It has an incredible beach, but it’s also a good central point from which to explore local adventure and cultural activities.

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Why is There So Much Art in Winnipeg?

I ARRIVED IN WINNIPEG ON FRIDAY MORNING, 18 hours late. A car picked me up from the airport and drove me towards the tall buildings I’d seen on my descent. We passed hastily built chain stores, which reminded me of The Weakerthans’ lyric… “this brand new strip mall chews on farmland as we fish for someone to blame.”

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I Want to Live in NYC Until I Hate it Again

1924166_677182189313_8048_nRETURNING HOME, I spent a few days with old friends that I hadn’t seen since I’d last lived there.

I jumped between late-breakfasts, and espressos, and brunches, and beers, and late-lunches, and overpriced cocktails, and dinners, and house parties in neighborhoods that I’d never really spent time in before. Moving around New York makes me feel like I’m on a backpacking trip; I end up covering a much smaller geographic distance, but I end up doing way more things in a single day than I would otherwise.

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Blending In With London Tourists

AFTER MY GIRLFRIEND LEFT LONDON, I stayed on Rowan’s couch for a week. He was the first person that I’d met at my transglobal internet television job. We bonded at 12am PST / 9am BST over our mutual interest in Art, Spanish, and The Sugar Hill Gang.

He’d regularly send me inexplicable pictures of lions, links to mixtapes, and info about art openings in Culver City. We were good friends online. We’d only really hung out in real life for 45 minutes the last time I was in London; now he was handing me the keys to his house, and the keys to his beloved blue bicycle.

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Quit Your Job Abroad and Move Back Home

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On Mexican TV

YOU’VE JUST GRADUATED from college and you have absolutely no idea what to do with yourself, so you drive from California to Alberta for no other reason than someone invited you to serve beer at a music festival.

Somewhere between Jackson Hole and Missoula you get word that a family friend is looking for teachers at a high school in Mexico, no experience required. Hey, you have no experience, you should apply.

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Through the Sonoran Desert to a Baseball Game

WE LEFT LOS ANGELES at 6am. Dad was driving, so I was asleep before we even merged on to the 134. I woke up just outside of Beaumont. A billboard emblazoned across the highway in Old West font read: “Gramma’s Country Kitchen — God Bless America.”

I live in a multicultural liberal bubble; I sometimes forget that our country is currently embroiled in a debate about which kind of Republicanism should dominate conservative thought. God or Capitalism? That discussion hasn’t quite reached the blue corridors of LA, but we found it at Gramma’s. Just 80 minutes outside of LA you realize you’ve hit the middle of the country.

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Quit Your Job and Travel the World

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Donkeys in Medellin

YOU SEE THOSE PHOTOS OF YOUR FRIENDS frolicking around Phuket or Goa or Barra de Navidad. You decry these people as dropouts and slackers who’ve rejected modernity. They look like they’re having too much fun and not getting anything done!

You are sitting at your desk eating a turkey sandwich from the cafeteria. It tastes like it was made weeks ago, defrosted, and put into a plastic container. You hate this daily routine: lunch in front of your computer pretending that you are somewhere else. After months of jealousy you finally decide to take the plunge and join this itinerant kingdom of voyagers.

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Why San Francisco Hates Los Angeles

I’M FROM LOS ANGELES, and I love San Francisco. I’d never call it San Fran or crowd the streetcars on my way to eat Ghiradelli chocolate and Boudin bread bowls of clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf. We’re Californian too! We respect your vibe man!

But many San Franciscans see it differently. You can be brutally attacked (read: coyly judged) for merely mentioning that you’re from Los Angeles.

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