Gustavo "Jesupisto" Valdez
Tijuana, Baja. Mexico
"Welcome to Tijuana: Tequila, Sexo y Marihuana" is a little introduction you will hear a lot from locals if you come here for touristic purposes, but there's a lot more to it than just being a funny reference to the city's main attractions. Most people come here because we have the perfect ingredients to party like a rockstar for a very small amount of cash.
I was born in Mexico City and came here when I was 6 years old, and my family and I had a tremendous cultural shock. Yes, Cultural Shock. Yes, in our own country. The customs in the southern states of Mexico are very different from the customs of the north, hell... people here love Baseball, American Football, FOX News, and even tell weather in Fahrenheit degrees. We came from the biggest city in the world (at that time) to a weird-ass small town, where people said weird stuff like "Parkea la troca y ponle la breka" (Park the truck and put the break) in some kind of reverse Spanglish.
Tijuana is famous around the world, for being the absolute example of a "Sin City"... Sure we have more strip clubs than schools, but that is not the point. TJ is considered one of the biggest cultural spots in Mexico, because of its many cultural influences, and it's detachment from the traditional Mexican viewpoints in every way. It's like we're a different country between the States and Mexico, because we actually see situations happening from a distance, however, the things that happen in the US severely affect us.
For example, I can't think of one city in the world (except for NY, of course) that has been affected by 9/11 more than Tijuana, because California is a part of our lives. We crossed the border every day for the most simple things imaginable, such as going to the movies, or going for an In & Out burger... Now we have to make a 1½ hour line just to go put gas in our cars.
Aside from the American Culture, Narco-culture is pretty big down here. Everyone's dream is to become a druglord, drive a Cheyenne with spinners, and shoot federales with AK-47s while listening to Los Tucanes de Tijuana. 10 Years ago, the cartel was an elusive Mafia, who defied the government of both countries, and pretty much did whatever they wanted, and they were cool for that. But in the last six years 4 heads of the cartel have been captured or killed, leaving the cartel with no leader and turning the city into a war zone.
You can find these guys at clubs and fine restaurants, and you can tell they're narcos because they often dress as cowboys, have piles of coke a la Tony Montana on their tables, and they drink Buchanan's 18. If they're not drinking Buchanan's 18 they're not narcos, they're just drug addict cowboys. This guys tend to be pretty aggressive, and if you do as much as looking at them in a funny way, you can get shot.
Ever since I was 16 (got a California fake ID), me and my friends started kicking it at strip clubs, and tourist bars downtown, which are much safer than places for locals, a lot cheaper and a lot more fun. There are strip clubs where you can get a Corona for $1(USD), and a 10 beer bucket for $8. If you've ever been here, I'm sure you also remember the prices for lap dances and the tone of the announcer when he says "FLASH, FLASH, FLASH! Private dances 20, 40, and 60 Dollars! And remember guys...Don't forget your tips".
Downtown Tijuana, is one of the strangest places I've ever been to. I haven't seen so many clubs next to each other anywhere... There are about 20 hip-hop clubs,and 100 strip clubs, each one of them with its own 'Mexican Curious' shop, where they sell maracas, sombreros, and Bart Simpson T-Shirts. That is extremely weird because maracas and Bart Simpson are not Mexican, but Gringos feel in Mexico when they play them or wear them, or when take pictures of themselves riding a donkey that's painted like a zebra. Another funny thing is when Americans go to Señor Frog's and think they're getting a free shot of tequila, but what they're getting instead is $14 Peso/gallon shot of aguardiente with tangerine soda, and a check for $250 pesos.
The coolest thing about Tj in my opinion, is the ability it's society has had to overcome the problems of living between two entirely different nations... We love Mexico, because it is our home and our country, and love America because it is a part of our lives, and as my father would say "The nice thing about Tijuana is San Diego". There's only one thing that really bothers all of us, and that Is America not loving us back.