When I started planning my first ever pilgrimage to the San Diego Comic Con (oh, don't worry...that blog is coming soon) with my friend Jarrett, the chief concern was cost. A four-day pass to the convention is about $100. Plane tickets back to the states looked to be a minimum of $600, and hotel reservations that coincide with a big event (i.e. SDCC) can set you back a thousand or more.
A little research determined that I could fly into Tijuana and hoof it across the US/Mexico border for around $300 bucks. Evan, an old friend from college that currently lives in San Diego, was kind enough to let us mooch some couch space. And Jarrett, giddy at not having to pay for a hotel room, footed the bill for my convention tickets (At least I think he did. If I was supposed to pay you, just let me know...).
Sounded great! My only concern was how, pray tell, I was supposed to get from Tijuana to San Diego.
That's when I decided to contact my good Facebook friend and blog buddy, Lisa. Lisa is an EFM like me, accompanying her husband on his Foreign Service adventure to glamorously exotic foreign locales. Current post: Tijuana. Blog: Click Here.
Lisa and I hold the distinction of stalking each other online and having attended the same FS events without having ever officially met. So it was a complete surprise when we had the following conversation:
Me: "Hey. I have a question."
Me: "What is the easiest way for me to get from the Tijuana airport into San Diego."
Her: "Having me drive you there. Send me your flight details."
On Tuesday, July 19th, Lisa not only picked me up at the airport, but drove me to downtown Tijuana so I could see what I have always felt is the most awesomest thing she has ever blogged about: A Zonkey! Now, I find it hard to believe that I could say this any better than Wikipedia, so I won't try:
A zonkey is a cross between a zebra and a donkey. "Zonkey" is not the technically correct name for such a cross. The most commonly accepted terms are zebonkey (or zebronkey), zebrinny, zebrula, zebrass, and zedonk (or zeedonk). Another name that is sometimes used is "zebadonk".
Zonkeys are very rare. In South Africa, they occur where zebras and donkeys are found in proximity to each other. Like mules, however, they are generally genetically unable to breed, due to an odd number of chromosomes , disrupting meiosis.
Okay, so now we know that they aren't a total fraud...but the Wikipedia post says nothing about Mexican zebadonks. A quick Google search turned up something of interest from tripandom.com:
Going back to the thirties some bright entrepreneur in Tijuana Mexico decided to paint their donkey with black and white stripes to look like a Zebra, the idea was to make the animal look better on black and white photographs. Most of the donkey’s were white or fairly light and photographed badly in the bright Mexican sun. Like any good idea, others followed and decades later the tradition continues. The zonkeys or painted donkey are there for the tourist, it’s amazing how many people will spend the $10 or so to have themselves photographed wearing silly Mexican hats and ponchos with these dopey striped animals.
I bet your pardon. It may have been fake, but I only paid $5 for my photo, thank you very much.
After humoring my adolescent curiosity, Lisa was gracious enough to not only take me to the border, but also a little further into San Diego so that Evan could find me more easily.
Oh, I should also mention our friend Vicente. He doesn't have a blog, and I've seen him in person lots of times. But he's still super cool because he drove me to the airport, bought me breakfast, and helped me check in. No, i'm not airport-ically challenged. I'm capable of checking in on my own. But he works for the airline I was flying on, so he was able to expedite the process.
Honorable mention to our friend Serch, who offered to take me to the airport when it looked like Vicente might not be able to.
Lisa, Vicente, and Serch. Such great friends The hospitality on the southern side of the border is amazing, and I am eternally grateful.
And yet, I was soon to learn that the northern side can be a bit more...difficult.