Hello Friends and Family,

Mexico and California, 1972, Part 1

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

In 1972, I was given a challenging assignment by my employer, Control Data. I say "challenging" because I was only four years out of college — one might expect that a more experienced engineer might be selected instead. Regardless, another engineer and I were to fly to Los Angeles and assist a customer who was wanting to modify his computer system to have two CPUs (back when such things were quite rare). Our manager joined us at the very beginning of the trip to meet with the customer and detail our assignment. It turned out that they did not have space for us to work during the day so our work hours were from 6:00 PM to Midnight. Therefore, we decided to be tourists during the day then work the "second shift".

Our first touristy thing to do was visit Tijuana, Mexico just south of the border near San Diego. Fortunately, our manager went with us to take charge since he had visited there before. Here is the border crossing going south on an overcast, rainy day.

Here are the two engineers (Chuck and B. David) enjoying an exotic adventure to a new land — albeit one that is nearby to the USA.

Here is downtown Tijuana — not so different from a typical US city of the same size — but enough different to be interesting.

Our manager, Ray, took us to a typical tourist marketplace. Lots of interesting things to look at — but I don't recall finding anything I wanted to purchase.

We were not the only customers — both locals and Americans come here for haggling over various goods both quality and some not-so-good.

Ray drove us past some of the poor folks housing — you couldn't help but feel sorry for these people — their lives were quite challenging.

Next on our manager's tour was the bull ring. I understood from him that it was not the season — and I am not sure I would have wanted to go even if it had been — it is a rather brutal sport.

Another stop, this one at the beach. Again, the weather was not optimum for beach activities but it was fun to see anyway. After this stop, we took Ray to the airport for his return flight home. Chuck and I began our assignment.

The next day, we were free until 6PM, so we decided to visit Disneyland then maybe Knott's Berry Farm and possibly a third attraction before reporting for work. Now naive we were thinking that one could "do" three different theme parks in one day. Even in 1972 (Disneyland was opened in 1955), Walt's original theme park was huge with lots of attractions to see or ride (plus places to eat). This is the train station seen (I think) from the Monorail.

If you were a fan of the Disneyland TV show, you knew that Walt Disney loved trains — and showed that love with this train that circles the park. It is beautiful and a fun ride.

Once you enter the park, you encounter Main Street and one of its star attractions is "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln", the animatronic 16th President stands and gives a short speech — impressive stuff back in 1972.

Walt tried to capture the nostalgia of small-town America with attractions like the horse-drawn streetcar. Even though that was before my time, I still felt the allure.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com