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Archive for May, 2009

>Border crossing rules in effect June 1, 2009

>New rules requiring passports or new high-tech documents to cross the United States’ northern and southern borders took effect Monday, June 1, 2009. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say they’re confident the transition will be smooth.

“Our research indicates approximately 80 percent of the individuals coming in now, U.S. and Canadians, are compliant,” and are crossing with proof of citizenship, said Thomas Winkowski, assistant commissioner for field operations at Customs and Border Protection. The higher noncompliance areas, he said, are primarily U.S. citizens in the southern border region. Travelers who do not comply with the new requirements will get a warning and be allowed to enter the U.S. after a background check, said Michele James, director of field operations for the northern border that covers Washington state. “We’re going to be very practical and flexible on June 1 and thereafter,” James said.

Under the new rule, travelers also can use a passport card issued by the U.S. State Department to cross land borders. The card does not work for air travel. At $45 for first-time applicants, it’s a more affordable alternative to the traditional passport, which costs $100. More than 1 million passport cards have been issued since last year. Identification documents available under the “Trusted Traveler” programs are also accepted. Those require fees ranging from $50 to more than $100. These programs, developed by the U.S, Canadian and Mexican governments, allow vetted travelers faster access to the border. In some cases, members in these programs have their own lanes at border crossings.

There will be some exceptions. Children under 16 traveling with family, people under 19 traveling in youth groups, Native Americans and members of the military will be able to use different forms of identification. Also, travelers in cruises that depart from a U.S. port, sail only within the Western Hemisphere and return the same port do not have to comply.

The rules are being implemented nearly eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks and long after the 9/11 Commission recommended the changes. They were delayed by complaints from state officials who worried the restrictions would hinder the flow of people and commerce and affect border towns dependent on international crossings. In 2001 a driver’s license and an oral declaration of citizenship were enough to cross the Canadian and Mexican borders; Monday’s changes are the last step in a gradual ratcheting up of the rules. Now thousands of Americans are preparing by applying for passports or obtaining special driver’s licenses that can also be used to cross the border.
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Excerpted from the Associated Press. Writers Eileen Sullivan and Matthew Lee in Washington, D.C., and Christopher Sherman in McAllen, Texas contributed to this report.

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>Tijuana gay bars

>This is a current listing of the most popular cruise bars and dance clubs in Tijuana.

MENS BARS & NIGHTCLUBS

PLAZA SANTA CECILIA (map below) is located in downtown Tijuana between 1st Street and Avenida Revolución and 2nd & Constitución. Ave. This plaza is easy to find because the famous Arch is at the end on Av. Revolución while the other famous arch (Mc Donald’s) is at the other end on Constitución. Revolución is Tijuana’s main tourist spot full of souvenir shops, restaurants, bars, and night clubs.

The following bars are within Plaza Santa Cecilia. They open daily at 10:00 a.m. and remain open until at least 2:00 a.m., and even later on Fridays and Saturdays.

El Ranchero is Tj’s most popular men’s bar for cruising. It has a ground floor and upper level. The upper level gets the busiest. Clientele consists of men of all ages and all economic backgrounds from both sides of the border. Some hustlers work it as well.

Hawaii a few doors to the right from El Ranchero as you look at the front door. It is most popular for its nightly male stripper shows.

Villa Garcia is just to the right from Hawaii and under the same ownership as El Ranchero. It usually doesn’t get very busy, but often has drag shows on a small stage.

Bar D.F. is several doors to the left of El Ranchero. Clientele mainly consists of older locals and younger macho types who hustle them.

DANCE CLUBS

The following clubs open at 8:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays:

Zky Blue is a spacious two-story, upscale dance club located in downtown Tijuana on Avenida Madero between 1st and 2nd (Juarez) Street, just one block east of Ave. Revolución. The building sits back from the street due to its front parking lot. It is particularly popular among other things for its long, spacious dark room. Clientele primarily consists of middle-class twinks and middle-age men, middle-class on up, from both sides of the border.

Directly across the street from Zky Blue is El Rincon de Bobi, or just Bobi’s a smaller men’s cruise bar with a small dance floor.

Colibri is similar in atmosphere and clientele to Sky, only it is not as large and does not have a dark room. It is located at the corner of 2nd & Revolución. The entrance consists of a stairway accessible from Ave. Revolución. This club is also called Cameleon

Club Fusion (map below) is approximately one block west of the San Ysidro border crossing on Calle Larroque just west of Av de la Amistad. This area is called Plaza Viva Tijuana and is where the Mc Donald’s is located just inside Tijuana at the pedestrian gate.

If you cross the border on foot through the turnstiles, keep walking until you see the large “Tourist Information” booth slightly to your right, where you will then make a sharp right turn and walk to the next set of turnstiles. After passing through those turnstiles, keep walking across the street at the crosswalk, and continue in the same direction along the sidewalk for about a half a block to the entrance to the club.

Club Fusion was once two separate clubs (Extasis and Cahuamamama’s) until the owner of both”fused” the two together. The club is spacious, upscale, and includes male stripper shows and long, narrow dark rooms. Clientele primarily consists of twinks and middle-age men, middle-class on up, from both sides of the border.

LESBIAN BARS

El Closet Bar is located on Ave. Revolución between 1st & 2nd. Clientele and staff are mostly lesbian, but includes some gay men, and drag shows for entertainment. Opens at 8:00 p.m.

Yadira’s is located on Ave. Madero between 7th & 8th. It includes a number of pool tables and draws some straight clientele. Open from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.


>Border Crossing Stations

>Border Crossing Stations to the northern part of Baja California:

San Ysidro Station: (619) 690-8800 (open 24 hours)
Otay Mesa Station: (619) 671-8000 (open 24 hours)
Tecate Station: (619) 938-8330 (open 5AM-11PM)

Wait time recordings: (updated hourly)
San Ysidro Station: (619) 619-690-8999
Otay Mesa Station: (619)671-8999

Tijuana local (664) 700-7000 – recording is in Spanish
Cell phones by Mexican service provider call: *LINEA

Remember, you do not need a tourist card (FMT) if staying in the country for 72 hours or less and if not traveling south of Ensenada. You will need a Passport or Visa to re-enter the US. See this post: Travel Requirements

information in this post was reviewed and updated May 2010

>Cruz Roja (Red Cross)

>

If you reside in Baja, or plan to, it is highly suggested that you seek out your local Cruz Roja delegation to learn more.

The delegation in Rosarito Beach is very organized in how they supply services to the local community. More information can be found on their website: Cruz Roja Rosarito,

>Send us e-mail

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>Helpful tips series > Part 1 – Tijuana

>

Tourist Assistance in Tijuana
– find consular assistance
– find your towed car
– file complaints about police
– locate police stations and jails
– find government services
–> English –> Español

Tijuana Phone Numbers
Emergencies: 066
Tourist Assistance Hotline: 078
U.S. Consulate: 622-7400
State District Attorney: 638-5206, 638-9184
Visitor Assistance Office: 973-0424
Office of Internal Affairs, Complaint Department: 688-2810

(dialing from the US use 011-52-664+number)

>Travel requirements for entering the US from Mexico

>The WHTI (Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative) will go into effect June 1, 2009 for land and sea travel into the U.S. WHTI requires U.S. citizens to present a passport or other document that proving their identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. WHTI went into effect for air travelers in 2007.

Information about the WHTI ‘Get You Home’ program appears below. Check for updates on their website: Get You Home.

On June 1, 2009, U.S. citizens returning home from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, by land or sea, will be required to present one of the travel documents listed below.
U.S. Passport – This is an internationally recognized travel document that denotes a bearer’s identity and citizenship. It is accepted for travel by air, land and sea, per the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

U.S. Passport Card – This is a limited-use international travel document valid for entry into the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, per the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. It is not valid for international air travel.

Trusted Travel Card > SENTRI – The SENTRI Card is for pre-approved travelers who cross the U.S./Mexico border frequently. It has the added benefit of access to dedicated commuter lanes on the southern border.

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