Tijuana: Reflections on the Border

Tijuana side.

The view from the border: Tijuana side.

“TJ? Really?” was the response from most people last week when they learned I was heading down south of San Diego for a research trip.

They were right to be cautious. I live in Mexico City — one of the biggest, baddest towns around — but still gave Tijuana a second thought. The world’s most famous border city has been getting some bad press of late due to the drug-related violence playing out on its streets.

But what struck me more during my brief trip was the border itself and how it is littered with evidence of its own casualties and conflicts, past and present. The wall is at the center of the current national debate on immigration, and I wanted to see it for myself.

Read on – this post was written for La Plaza.

Heading down to Tijuana

Heading south to Tijuana

Heading south to Tijuana

Report to follow shortly….

What the tourists miss

My folks just flew back last night after a month-long stay in Mexico. Amongst the places they visited, either with me or alone, were Oaxaca, Puebla and Acapulco.

‘I don’t understand it,’ my father kept telling me.

‘I mean you read all this stuff about violence in Mexico, and yet they seem like such a gentle, nice, kind people,’ was his assessment after a couple of weeks living in Distrito Federal, just off Reforma.

Just the ramblings of an average, non-Spanish speaking tourist, but I couldn’t help but appreciate the irony of this words as we walked along the street past a newspaper stand, where on at least three of the front pages I could see gory photographs of deaths by shootings that had happened over the last 24 hours. Continue reading