27 June 2014

The Beautiful and Not-So Beautiful

Tijuana has a reputation of being an ugly, crime-ridden no man's land full of homeless drug addicts, drunken debauchery, and violence. I know it was like this in the past, but it is really not like that anymore. Yes, there are unsavory places I wouldn't touch anytime after 7 p.m. But there are places in Portland that are the same way. One of the comments I heard most often before I came here was, 'Isn't it dangerous?!' Well, yes, I suppose there are places that are. But there are also places back home that were the same way.

But Tijuana does have it's nice parts and it's ugly parts. It's ugliest part is of course, traffic. The freeway on ramps and off ramps are rather ambiguous, there are more than a million of us ants coming and going around the roundabouts and rolling through stop signs. The other day as I was driving with Krystal to the Line, I apparently made my own lane because I didn't notice that mine had ended. There are unmarked one way streets and of course there is road construction in downtown, where we just park in the middle of a road because there is no through traffic. I swear, who designed this place?!

The second ugliest thing about Tijuana is the Line. I'm finding myself in the line more and more and I don't even have a job yet. Certain things cost less in the US, especially diapers. One time, I wanted to buy Hector a tool set so he could fix things; I went to the Sears here in TJ to see- they wanted the equavilent of $250 when the same exact tool set was at Sears in Chula Vista for $149. I buy diapers and wipes at Target in the US. I don't know if it is import costs or they just know that there are a lot of people who can't cross over the border that drives the costs of everything up. However, waiting an hour at the border idling your car eats up your gas! And Mexico's national gas company, Pemex, isn't any cheaper than San Diego gasoline and American gasoline is last longer. You know you're in trouble when Arco is good gasoline.

Tijuana has a few beautiful things as well; who knew that here in the desert, so many beautiful things would grow? I didn't. Tijuana always seemed a wasteland to me before I came here. Yes, nopales and the cacti are pretty, but so are the palm trees, and the flowers. I have always wanted to live where there were palm trees. When I was 14, my mom bought me a palm tree, but I killed it. I used to keep my wall plastered in PacSun ads and had maps of California framed all over the place. This was once a dream of mine. And I'm living it, sort of. I never imagined that Hector and I would be here because of immigration. I always thought we'd just live down here, have weekend trips to Disneyland. But oh well, I can just lay in the shade of the palms and dream my little dreams.

7 comments:

  1. I know what you mean- people have said things like 'isn't that dangerous' when I have traveled alone in various European and Central American cities- I come from NY! People just say stuff like that because it's different, it's unfamiliar and therefore sketchy. I think those people need to get out more ;)

    The flowers and palm trees are beautiful! I can't wait to be in that climate again when I visit Mexico!

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    1. Fear mongering on part of the US I think has a lot to do with it. I feel perfectly safe here, even if my husband doesn't think I am.

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  2. I'm following your blog as I am planning a move to San Diego / Tijuana. Could you tell me more about your neighborhood? PS, Have fun figuring out what is cheaper where. It seems you are well on your way to getting the hang of that one.

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    1. Hi. We live in the Buena Vista Colonia. Before we have lived in Postal. Both are nice neighborhoods, but I prefer this place. We're in the larger geographical area of Mesa de Otay.

      Yes, I'm getting the hang of this place, sort of.

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  3. Wow!! Hi Ladies so happy to see that there other women here in the same situation as my family. I lived in TJ (Reforma) for a year with my husband and then 8 year old daughter. We now live in Rosarito, and we have been a year in Rosarito. I too moved here from Oregon not that far from Portland. (McMinnville, Or.) I like Rosarito better just because it is a little slower paced. Also I was originally from Tillamook, oregon by the beach so the beach in where I am happiest.

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    1. Wow! Hi. Thanks for stopping by! I love Tillamook. I don't know where Reforma is, but I do know where Tillamook is. Are you on the Facebook Tijuana Mommies Group? If not, I can connect you if you like my Facebook page from your personal page.

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  4. I regularly visit my grandparents who live in the city with the highest homicide rate in the US--Flint, MI....so yep, there's dangerous stuff everywhere. And my husband has told me about the really long lines when his family used to cross the border back and forth--I imagine, though, that the lines have gotten worse since the 90s!

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