16 January 2017

The Rainy Season

The rainy season for the San Diego area is technically the "winter" months. It rains a few times usually December through March. Tijuana is not quite the desert, but it is a drier climate than Oregon ever was. I am more acclimated to the rain and cooler temperatures than my peers. Rainy days are the contempt of most natives of this area. I, on the other hand, relish walking in the rain. The cool droplets on my face give me a small taste of home. The cooler temperatures give me a shiver, but the feeling is one of longing for a life that's passed. The rain in Tijuana is rarely the same type of rain that would fall in Oregon. The air is not as cold. The raindrops themselves feel warmer on the skin, and wearing a damp hoodie quickly becomes suffocating instead of freezing. However, the real difference between the rain here is not what it feels like, but the effect it has on the city and its people. 

The major difference is the flooding. Oregon floods, sometimes massively. The rivers and creeks often overflow into wetlands surrounding the waterway. Tijuana is almost entirely concrete. The city is a topographical mess of hills, vallies, and mesas. The streets themselves are victims of the overcrowded, urban environment: there's garbage and debris all over. Usually, it's maybe a piece here and another over there. But come any day with more than an inch of rainfall, and the landscape and pieces of junk in the road become part of a recipe for disaster. The rain washes down to the slick cemented hills headed toward the Tijuana River. The bumps and potholes that can be treacherous in dry daylight become traps for all of this semi-floating junk. All of these things act like a dam, with water filling up behind it.

I don't know if the city was designed by people who don't usually deal with rain, but many places lack any type of drainage at all. The uneven walkways and roads turn into temporary ponds, as water flowing from the hills turns into muddy waterfalls. There's no where for the trapped water to go except wait for the sun to come out and evaporate. The road remain flooded and people have to drive through it, risking car engines, hitting potholes, or splashing pedestrians. Sometimes I wonder why the city was designed like this, but then I recall that it's Tijuana- there seems no point to road design or planning. How can a city just 'deal' like this? There seems to be no urgency or need to try and remedy this problem. No one seems to mind, except that no one really goes out when it rains, save the few of us idiots that still try to go to work. For all of the work Tijuana puts into making themselves seem like a "modern" city, they should at least come up with a solution for the run off.

The rainy season is just one of those annoying things that remind me that however 'modern' Tijuana seems, that it's really not quite. Tijuana is not the U.S. no matter how close the fence is. It's easy to forget, sitting in my living room watching a movie in English, speaking English with my kids and Hector. Sometimes I forget that we're not in Oregon. And then, upon stepping outside, I'm rudely reminded of the reality of my situation. Some things are very similar, like rain. Some things are not, like rain.


  1. I remember the rainy season in Leon lasted for months. Same issue with flooding. Just remember that you are blessed. I know that Mexico is not always ideal, but God put you there for a reason. It's a complicated country that is hard to love. hang in there!

  2. Not there right now, but Tijuana is the second city I have been in for a length of time with no storm drainage. As one who grew up in Houston where there is storm drainage, It took a lot of getting used to. Nowadays, I stay home when it rains knowing that sunnier days are ahead - and I can't wait to get back in February.