SANDCamp 2017

Feb 19, 2017
San Diego, California

Not my usual run to San Diego this time. After SANDCamp ended, I took Sunday to mostly explore on my own. I drove south on Point Loma down to the Cabrillo National Monument, but found the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery first. It stretched a great distance down the point along both sides of the road, seemingly endless hills of memorials and grave sites.

Cabrillo was beautiful. Follow the access road downhill immediately past the entrance for the “Tide Pools,” but the cooler areas are further down the road than the first parking area. Ultimately, most of it connects with walking trails.

After a quick trip up north to the rocky beaches of La Jolla, I turned around and headed south toward Border Fields State Park at the south end of I-5. I didn’t realize the road would be flooded, so the walk to International Friendship Park ended up being about 2 miles each way, some of it through the overflowing Tijuana river.

Along the beach, visitors on both sides of the border can walk up to the fence itself, though signage seems to indicate that’s discouraged if Border Patrol thinks you look suspicious. Back up the hill, we’ve built a second fence about 30 feet back from the original fence. For four hours, twice per weekend, the outer fence gate opens and under the watchful eye of several Border Patrol agents, guests are able to walk up to the fence. I don’t know if it is a regular occurrence or if this was a special day, but there were gentlemen on each side with a makeshift PA hosting a gathering.

I showed up only minutes before it ended, but I heard folks telling stories of their struggles and dreams. Others asked immigration questions or sought resources for their visa issues. Families on both sides had been separated and were trying to reunite, a few didn’t even seem to care which side they reunited on, as long as they could be together again. Further from the talkative gathering, there was a couple, separated by the fence, in dilapidated porch chairs whispering to each other like it was the only opportunity for personal contact they had. On the other end, there were two young people whispering to an older woman on the other side. The gathering ended with a bilingual prayer as everyone put their hands on the fence.

As a generally reserved individual, cameras offer a useful instrument of detatchment from events like this. Then a small boy walked up on the other side of the fence and reached up in my direction. Who was being kept from him?