Home Travel A Day Trip To Tecate: My Peasant Salary Goes Far In This Sleepy Yet Stunning City

A Day Trip To Tecate: My Peasant Salary Goes Far In This Sleepy Yet Stunning City

by Dewan Gibson
Ahi tuna on top of lemon, as seen in hotel restaurant in Tecate

We’re at the ass-end of summer and have but two Airbnb guests left on our schedule. Maybe that’s a good thing. Prior to this trip, I began to feel as if we were running out of places to visit that financially justify renting out our home for the weekend and all that comes with that, like: cleaning, getting over the image of couples less sexy than the Gibsons doing it on our bed, and feeling bad about ransacking hotel rooms when the kids come along for our weekend getaways.

But then we took a day trip to Tecate.

The 40-minute drive through the mountains (State Route 94) and to Tecate felt like an obstacle course. Maybe more so for Amber, who sternly reminded me to stay three car lengths behind traffic, which seemed excessive being that our car has brakes.

Then I saw a roadside memorial dedicated to someone who presumably died on the route. Then I saw another. Soon after, traffic stalled. A pickup truck had crashed into the roadside mountain. There was blood splattered on the door but no sign of a driver. I took Amber’s advice for the remainder of the drive. Well, sort of. I stayed, by my estimate, 2.75 car lengths behind the driver in front of us. Marriage is about compromise.

We parked behind a convenience store on the U.S. side and walked over to Tecate. The crossing is a sleepy part of the border patrolled by a single Mexican agent with a big ass machine gun. He did not acknowledge us. From there, we caught a cab and took the five-minute drive to El Santuario Diegueño, an ultra-luxurious hotel fit for royalty, or P. Diddy, or even me at just $184 a night.

The ceilings in our room were probably 30 feet high. The balcony was covered with flowers (and thorns for any haters below). The bathroom were as nice as the ones at Bloomingdale’s. The bed was soft but just firm enough, like a giant titty. What did we do to deserve this! Nothing much besides having the good fortune to live in the U.S. and benefit from a strong dollar. Thanks, Barack.

Shortly after check-in, we took our peasant funds to Asao, the hotel’s restaurant, and ate like kings. Ninety minutes of joyous gluttony: tuna carpaccio, ribeye steak, seafood pasta, sweet duck tacos, beer, more beer, and wine, and more wine. All for $55, including a $15 gratuity I gave for the great service and to help rid the stereotype that we hyper-melanins our shady tippers.

We retired to the room with plans to rest and hit Bar Diana. From what I hear it’s the only dive bar in Tecate. But as been the trend during recent trips, we passed out. We would awake around 3 a.m. to the sound of firecrackers, or gunshots, depending on where and how you grew up. My instinct was to stay in the room and mind my business. However, Amber’s Caucasity took over and she went to have a look on the balcony. There was nothing of concern, just overgrown kids satisfying the innate male need to blow things up.

The next morning began at the pool. But things run a little slower in Tecate. It was supposed to open at 9 a.m., but as of 9:30 the pool crew had just started cleaning. We left and went back to Asao for breakfast.

I typically don’t eat breakfast. If anything, maybe some water and a banana. My digestive system is in exit only mode till about 11 a.m. But Amber’s big on it, and it’s how she keeps her curves so I’m down to support.

But again, things run a little slower in Tecate. We sat in Asao for nearly an hour before our food was served. But when it came…goddamn! I had chorizo with red peppers, potatoes, beans, and two beers. Amber had eggs benedict in tiny tortilla bowls that made the dish look like flowers, with orange juice freshly squeezed by caring, elderly hands. We got stuffed, and surprisingly, my stomach held its own.

Checkout time after our one-night stay was near. We passed on a cab and walked to the border, worn leopard print suitcase in tow. We stopped in the city center and at the famous El Mejor Pan de Tecate, a bread joint that has no AC and only employs people who do not visibly sweat.

There were only two other people crossing the border by foot. We were back in the U.S. within seconds, and back with our three feral kids for an upcoming one-night stay in Orange County. We’ll soon return to Tecate, though “we” may be too strong a word. Amber’s already made plans for a girls’ night out at El Santuario Diegueño.

Day One Expenses: $326.83
El Santuario Diegueño Hotel: $184.06
Dinner & Drinks at Asao: $55.00
Housekeeping For Our Guests: $57.00
Gas: $12.95
Pre-trip manicure: $12.00
Credit Card Foreign Transaction Fees: $5.82

Day Two Expenses: $272.81
Breakfast in Tecate: $18.63
Bread in Tecate: $2.50
Hilton Garden Inn Irvine: $167.16
Hotel Parking: $12
Banana Republic Daisy Dukes (for Amber, duh): $12.53
Snacks: $28.18
Japanese Food: $31.81

Total Expenses: 599.64
Airbnb Payment: $685
Profit: A measly $85.36, but we had a damn good time.

Wanted poster at Tecate and San Diego borderRoom in El Santuario Diegueño in TecateAhi tuna on top of lemon, as seen in hotel restaurant in TecateSteak from Asao Restaurant in Tecate

-Dewan Gibson

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[…] Had No Business Eatin’ This Good In an earlier post about Tecate, Mexico, I described how I was able to eat like a king despite my peasant salary. Obviously the same was […]


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