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First Trip to Ensenada; an Experience Everlastingly Remembered

First Trip to Ensenada; an Experience Everlastingly Remembered

My first trip to Ensenada was in June 2005. Coming from a Mexican background, I was quite familiar with poverty stricken towns deep in Mexico. My father grew up in RioVerde, a very small town in San Luis Potosi. At 12, I experienced for the first time, life outside the United States. I was quite amazed at the lifestyle of these people whom I considered very different from me, even though, we were all Mexican. Even though getting picked on in school for not only being Mexican, but also being a Mexican who didn’t speak Spanish was bothersome to me; my first trip to Mexico made me extremely proud of my heritage and made me see how hard working and true to their family roots these people really are.

When I arrived into Ensenada from a long flight from Chicago, I was anxious to see Ensenada but also a bit skeptical, after all, I was visiting for the first time, a place I would soon be calling “Home”. As we drove in from Tijuana and started our drive along the coast, I must admit, I was initially judgmental of the lifestyle I was seeing, that I would soon be adapting to. It made me realize just how spoiled I am back at home and how I may take things more for granted than I realized. As we kept driving down the scenic highway, I could see lots of building and growth coming to the area, and I certainly noticed this area was much wealthier than the areas I’ve visited in Mexico. After an hour or so on the road and one pit stop to the bathroom, we arrived. Ensenada was more beautiful than I had expected it to be. We stopped at the first hotel we came across and decided that was where we were going to stay. La Misión Santa Isabel. It was a nice hotel and a ridiculously low price. It wasn’t too luxurious, but we knew we weren’t going to be spending much time in the hotel; the city is what we came to see. Our first day, we ventured out unto the main “drag”; Lopez Mateos, which was clearly a touristy street. Our goal was to try as much food as we could, and experience as much as we could.  We stopped at every cart on the strip to try what they were selling; ceviche tostadas, cócteles de mariscos, fish tacos, carne asada tortas and fresh fruit cups. Ahhhhh… This was the Mexico I had remembered as a kid. The remainder of the week spent there, we drove aimlessly around Ensenada to see what kind of stores, homes, communities, etc. were there. We knew the “strip” wasn’t a lifestyle for the locals, and since we were going to be living in a “local” community, we needed to experience it first hand.

Needless to say, we loved Ensenada. The food, people, culture, lifestyle, and scenery were exactly what we loved; not to mention the weather is MUCH better than Chicago.

I recall my first contact with a friend when I got back from my trip to Ensenada. I was explaining all the differences and was bragging about the wonderful food we ate from the carts on the street. My friend Jeff, looked at me with almost disgust, and said, “You ate food off of a street cart?” I said, “Yes, it was some of the best food we ate in Mexico, you’ll see when you come visit.” Jeff quickly replied, “No thank you, I’m not eating off of a cart.” To my surprise, his first visit here, he DID try food from the cart (simply cause we made him); needless to say, he LOVED the food and now visits us here in Ensenada every year for his birthday, and the first stop when he arrives from the airport, is the taco stand near my house.

Ensenada is locally, referred to as the “Cinderella of the Pacific,” and with reason; visit once, and the impact is eternal. Ensenada is being sought out by many baby boomers looking to retire. If they chose Ensenada, then they’ve chosen the best spot.

Francia Vela-Gramaglia

Published Thursday, December 7, 2006 9:13 AM by Zinnia Q.

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