WELCOME - BIENVENIDO
This is a group to take advantage of the activities, entertainment and food related to Latin and Spanish Culture in San Diego and just across the border to provide an opportunity for the participants to enjoy Latin, Spanish and Mexican culture (to include Portuguese and Brazilian) both in San Diego and across the border. International trips include daylong trips to visit the Vineyards of Ensenada, overnight trips to Ensenada, and longer trips into Mexico. It is hoped that long range trips will also be enjoyed to such places as Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco, and Cancun, maybe even European trips.
RULES FOR PARTICIPATING IN GROUP EVENTS
I want you to know that I take the responsibility of taking you into Mexico seriously. I want everyone to enjoy themselves, but I want the experience to be fun and social for everyone as well as safe. Accordingly, I have set up the following Rules and information about our trips. These are Rules, not mere guidelines and for the safety as well as the enjoyment of the Group it is expected that they will followed.
PROFILES AND PROFILE PICTURES
Make sure to answer all the questions when you first join the group. If you don't, you will be asked to correct it and go back and answer all the questions. If you don't within 7 days, you can be dropped from the group for non-compliance.
Your profile should have a clear visible picture of your face. Often, we meet at a location with many people around, and I need to be able to locate you. If you come to an event and no one recognizes you that is a problem. Also, I want to prevent people from using fake profiles in the group. If you have a profile with no clear picture of your face, you will be asked to fix it. If you don't within 7 days, you can be dropped from the group for non-compliance.
QUESTIONS ASKED AT SIGN UP AND SEPARATING FROM THE GROUP AT EVENTS
Questions posed at event sign up online are important and mandatory, particularly providing phone numbers. First, if you are late and I cannot reach you, there would be no reason to wait. Second, if you get lost or need help, it is important that we have your phone number.
If you separate from the group and you are nowhere to be found, then we cannot just wait around for you, EVEN IF WE ARE DEEPER IN MEXICO THAN TIJUANA. If you go off on your own without telling anyone, then you may get separated and maybe even will need to find your own way home, even if you paid for transportation. If you want to go do something on your own, then tell an organizer, and be mindful of the rest of the group.
READ THE EVENT INFORMATION, STAY CURRENT AND RESPOND TO EVENT QUESTIONS
I cannot tell you how many time people ask me for information that is already provided, particularly what time and where are we meeting up. The Mexico trips have a great deal of information already provided. So please make sure you read the information.
Also, event information can change. Make sure to review the event page and your e-mail the day before and the day of to check on any new information and changes. Mexican events can require last minute changes that cannot be avoided, so please make sure to stay on top of new information.
Finally, please respond to event questions. Only organizers can see responses, and it will only ask for relevant and/or necessary information such as contact information needed for events.
PAYMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION, EVENT TICKETS AND OTHER EXPENSES; AND REFUNDS
Trips farther than Tijuana will usually incur some cost for transportation for gas, insurance, parking and tolls. These costs are relatively cheap and expected of members on trips. Usually such costs will be required when you RSVP. If payment is required and you RSVP and do not pay, then you will be dropped from the RSVP list.
On occasion, some trips will use professional transportation. In such cases, use of private vehicles will be limited and generally excluded at the organizer's discretion as use of private vehicles when professional transportation will be needed will undermine and unnecessarily increase the professional transportation costs. Members who do not cooperate when professional transportation is used can be removed from the group for failing to cooperate or undermining the group goals. Do not even ask if professional transportation is being used unless you have extenuating circumstances.
Some events require tickets for concerts and other events. Do not RSVP for an event that needs a ticket unless you have actually bought the ticket to ensure an accurate count for the event. I will usually get the tickets for the members attending, but members need to be prompt with advancing fees for the tickets. I will set a time to get he tickets, and if you do not pre-pay by then, your tickets will not be purchased. Afterward, if you want to attend the event you need to get the tickets on your own.
In regards to refunds, as a matter of Group policy, they are not given except at the discretion of the Group organizer. However, refunds should never be expected except if another paying individual takes your space and all other seats or places have been sold out for the event. Further, there is a $5 fee charged for all refunds.
TRANSPORTATION, CARPOOLING AND PARKING AT THE BORDER
Parking should be thought out at the border. Make sure to note the duration of the events. Many of the parking lots charge for 8 hours of parking at a time, and most of our events are longer than 8 hours. It is suggested to park at the UETA parking lot which is 24 hours. You can get there by simply going straight through the traffic signal at the last US exit and it is on the right This also where we will meet for events to drive across the border.
If anyone can drive to help with taking people, that would be really helpful to keep costs down. (Drinking obviously should be limited for drivers.) I must approve all drivers for the group. If you have not attended any events before offering to drive, I must approve you first.
The trip capacity can be limited due to transportation concerns. Volunteer drivers will be helped with costs. I would like to see everyone contribute and drive at least once a year, if possible. It is not mandatory, but part of the experience is to get comfortable and confident driving in Mexico.
I will try to secure professional transportation on certain trips at my discretion, usually when the trips involve a large group. If professional transportation is used, do not undermine it by offering to drive on your own as you will keep costs up for others. (See the no drama and cooperation provision below.)
Finally, you are responsible for your own transportation to and from the meet up point. Do not show up at an event without a plan to get home. Most of our events run late until 11:00 pm and later. You also need to consider for time necessary to cross the border back to the US. Persistently relying on others at the last minute to take you home and making them feel guilty in doing so will not be tolerated. (See the no drama and cooperation provision below.)
ATTENDANCE, NO SHOWS, LAST MINUTE RSVP CHANGES AND BEING LATE TO EVENTS
I am going to require that you attend at least one event per 12 months. If not, I can't see that you really have an interest in the group, and I will remove you from the group. If you are removed for this reason, then simply e-mail me and attend an event and your back on board.
Lateness to US events is usually not an issue. However, lateness to Mexican events are a problem. If you are late you can can be left behind. Make sure that you provide enough to time to get to the meet up, including taking the trolley and parking. For various reasons, we cannot wait a long period of time for people being late. For Tijuana events you can just cross on your own and catch up by taxi. However long distance events such as Rosarito and Ensenada are time sensitive. You need to be on time.
Late RSVP changes from "Yes" to "No" are frowned upon. However, RSVP's will generally close at 11:45 pm the night before an event. Do not RSVP unless you are sure you can attend. It is better to try and RSVP "Yes" at last minute then changing your RSVP to "No" last minute. We have to schedule things in advance and wrong counts are problematic and embarrassing. Persistently RSVP'ing "Yes" and then changing it to "No" on a repeated basis can be a basis for removal from the group. Remember multiple no-shows are a basis for removal from the group.
However, no shows are a no-no. We are all adults here and trips across the boarder need planning such as carpooling and other transportation arrangements. So repeated no-shows will require that I drop you from the group. Two no-shows and you can be dropped at my discretion, particularly if they include a Mexico trip. If you are dropped and would like back in, we can talk about it.
Further, attending events and not checking in with the organizer or the group is generally considered a No-show. What is the point of RSVP'ing and then attending the event and not participating with the group? group participation is important in the group. We also want to make sure that there are accurate counts for attendance at events. You are free to attend events that are open to the public that we attend as a group on your own, but please don't RSVP if you do not plan to participate in the event with the group.
SPLITTING RESTAURANT, BAR, ETC., BILLS
As the group will incur bills as a whole which we will need to split it at various locations. Your cooperation and patience is needed during this process. During trips, group form slips will be provided with pens to keep track of your order for quick bill calculations. It is important to note that menu prices in Mexico include sales tax but the bill will not. Sales tax in Mexico is a flat rate of 16% across the country.
PICTURES AT EVENTS AND POSTED ON MEETUP WEBSITE
This is a social group, which means that photos will be taken. By attending group events, you are giving implied consent to have your picture taken. However, be mindful of the fact that the general legal rule is that if you are in a public setting, there is no expectation of privacy. This includes public situations on private property, such as restaurants, bars, etc. Further, not participating in group photos is frowned upon.
Further, when you post pictures on the Meetup website for this Group you are expressly giving license to Baja Culturistas and Baja Culturista use for promotional purposes. This is includes for uses in print and internet in promoting Baja Culturistas and Baja Culturista.
INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR, PUBLIC INTOXICATION, DATING AND REMOVAL FROM THE GROUP
Finally, this is a no drama group. Going into Mexico requires planning and cooperation from group members. I always want to make sure that members have a good and safe time. These trips have a plan and we need to stick to the plan for maximum fun, efficiency and safety. Please act appropriately on trips and like an adult.
Public intoxication can be a problem on some trips by some member. I know that going to Mexico sometimes is all about the drinking to some people, but our trips require generally require restraint. We go to nice restaurants, museums, theaters, etc., where intoxication is highly inappropriate. Some of these places we go, I have a personal or professional relationship with the owners, chefs, etc. So please don't embarrass me or the Group as that will have consequences.
While there is no general rule against dating in the Group, as in anything, act appropriately. If there is drama or someone who appears to always be chasing other members in the group, to the point that you make a spectacle of yourself, it won't be tolerated. You can make other persons feel uncomfortable, even spectators, so please keep it low key to avopid problems.
ADDITIONAL HELPFUL INFORMATION
BORDER CROSSING DOCUMENTS
Participants are advised that they should have a passport when crossing the border as it is required under Mexican law. This is in addition to any passport card, Global Entry or Sentri card when crossing to avoid problems going into Mexico as well as returning to the United States. At minimum, and if you are a US citizen, you should cross with a birth certificate and a drivers license or other type of government identification. However, the law does require some sort of passport identification when returning to United States. If you don't have any of these types of proper identification for border crossing, then act now as it takes a minimum of about a month to at least get a passport card.
HOW MUCH MONEY TO BRING:
My recommendation is to bring at least $100+ per day of the event for food, transportation and other activities in addition to any other fees set beforehand and Hotel accomodations. ATM's work in Mexico for US ATM cards, but most only give Pesos--yes some rare ones due give Dollars.
RECOMMENDED ACCOMMODATIONS IN TIJUANA:
If you would like to spend the night in a hotel the day before, I recommend the Ticuan Hotel at the top of Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana. You can share a room relatively cheap and the accommodations are great. You can book it online at Booking.com and possible other similar sites.
You can find other sufficient accommodations on Trip Advisor, Hotels.com and similar websites. It is recommended that you stay in the Zona Rio area of Tijuana for safety and closeness to events.
If you stay in TJ then the meet up point is the Costco in Zona Rio 15 minutes after above meetup time in the US. Just take a taxi from the hotel. DO NOT PARK YOUR CAR THERE AS IT MAY GET TOWED.
CELLULAR PHONE USAGE
DATA ROAMING: Make sure to turn off your data roaming on your phones as international roaming data charges are outrageous. Smart phones use data on a continual basis for notifications and updates, so even if you do not use your phone they charge you. Don't wait until a trip, you can do it now without affecting your normal cellular data nor wi-fi capabilities. You can also still use wi-fi with data roaming off in Mexico.
VOICE ROAMING: If you do not want to use your phone for phone service, then turn it off. However, unless you actually pick up a call or dial someone you should not incur phone roaming charges. You can simply screen your call if you would like to answer any calls. Roaming charges is a $1.00 per minute for ATT.
TEXT ROAMING: Turning off data roaming will not affect texts. Text roaming charges for ATT is 50 cents per text plus more if attachments. You generally cannot control receiving texts unless your phone is off.