Thursday, January 27, 2011


I read recently that the town of Tijuana is a shell of its’ former
self. That most of the buildings are boarded up. The sleezy
bars of yesterday and may other types of tourist attractions
are gone. All of this because the drug cartels have used it for
a battle ground, and tourist don’t feel safe with bodies laying in the
streets at night.

Which made me think of the days, years and years ago,
that I spent in the little town of Tijuana. Mostly going
over with my ex-sister-in-laws while they got their hair done
or went to the dentist. Both costing only a small percentage of
what they were done in the USA.

My first visit was more of an adventure because it was at night.
And yes, there was a vast difference between day and night in
Tijuana. I went over with 2 girlfriends and 3 guys. One of the
girls was going with one of the guys, but the other 4 of us were single
and free. Just went as a group. The others had been there before.
But they were taking this naïve 18 year old girl from R.I. to see the
sights. And sights they were. As we walked around the streets
trying to decide which bar we wanted to go in, we were proposition
by many Mexican men and women. The women for the obvious, and
the men were trying to get us
to go into darken places.. One offer to get us a divorce cheap… and when
we said none of us were married, then he switched it to he could get us
married really cheap. Another outside of a bar which was loud and lots of
lights, we had one tell us to come in to see the show. And when we shook
our heads no, and walking away, he shouted out “but you got to come
in and see my sister.”! We finally decided on two
different bars. Some of them were famous of back room shows, and
rumors of sex with ..well, let’s say you don’t want to know. We stayed
clear of those, but there was lots of men going in. The two we decided on
were funny. The comedian who was funny, with women who came out
to strip, the drinks flowed fast and furious. But they were watered down
as we could drink 3 and feel like we were drinking flavored water. The
second was not as much fun. And believe it or not, we 6 American of
age 18 to 22, decided to take in a Bugs Bunny movie in Mexican language ..
Too Funny … and we were back across the border by 11 pm. Real party people we were.

The day visits were shopping for gifts, or hairdresser and etc. We
had to have special insurance for over there, or we could lose our cars.
In Mexico, Mexico rules… So we were careful.

I left California in 1965. So my next visit was almost 40 years later.
We took the trolley to the border, walked across and I was flabbergasted.
It look like a shopping mall in the states…we all walked thru the many
shops and bought some things. But then we went about 3 or 4 blocks
deeper and found old Tijuana. The donkey on the
street offering pictures and the restaurants with sidewalk tables
and Corona beer. We went to one building and it was about 3 or 4 stories.
One, which was in the basement. We were walking from shop to shop
in the basement, when my husband stood outside of the store and us girls
went in. We looked at several pieces of jewelry, my cousin, aunt and I.
When my cousin told the man no, after 4 times of being asked to buy
something, he piped up and pointed out to my husband and said….
“go out and ask your father to buy it for you.” Of which we came
out of the store in hysterics, to the bewilderment of my husband.
See he is 6 years younger than my cousin. My cousin said she
didn’t know if she should be flattered or should the King be insulted.
Lol.. but it has given us years of ribbing for him. She writes her
cards to him… to aka dad..
or signs them aka as daughter after her name.

So to hear that Tijuana is mostly boarded up is sad… i
t sure was an eye opening education for this kid from the East.
And I am sure many, many from California.


The Real Tijuana said...

Reports of Tijuana's death have been greatly exaggerated.

Yes, the two-bit tourists have been staying home and the businesses that served two-bit tourism are boarded up. But Avenida Revolución is just one street in a very large city.

These days, younger tourists have been going to La Sexta for its pop-culture bar scene while older tourists have been going to the Zona Río for stem-cell therapy. Really adventurous tourists do both.

MarmiteToasty said...

I find it sad when revisiting places of years gone pass that they have changed so much... but I expect those that visit around here must say the same...