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Tijuana, Mexico - whats it like there

Lorne

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2005
Hi, I will be heading to Tijuana, Mexico in a few months but have no idea what its like there. I am thinking of basing myself there and getting a work visa. It nice and close to the States and its on the Baja California which I heard id great. Whats this place like?

Lorne

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2005
Tijuana is a large city that succeeds in keeping its charms hidden.

While most drive through it (on their way south) or visit only the dreadful districts set up to please inebriated American day-trippers, it also has shopping opportunities galore (a very interesting Costco!) and some agreeable dining.

It is a border town though, and, like most border towns, can generally be considered unpleasant.

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2005
Don't forget the cheap prescription drugs.

When did TJ become part of Central America, anyway? Lorne, your question might be best answered in the North America section.

static

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2005
Oh! Good point. I will move it.

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2005
wow, you're fast!

static

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I am merely half-fast.

salmo99

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2005
Tijuana? All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.

If you are into pre-teen hookers, cheap crap, and cops looking for bribes, you will LOVE that place. The lowest common denominators for both countries can be found in border towns.

Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2005
If you want a Mexican town close to the border and a lot safer, try Chihuaha. It is a truly mexican town and is a lot safer. If you want adventure still, you can insult the 'rancheros' wearing guns in the small of their backs.

Aside from trouble you make FOR yourself, its a lot better option as a long term place to stay. Heck, if you want to work in Mexico, you can teach English in Oaxaca or Mexico City.
Open your heart, and your dreams will follow

Endless-Summer

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2005
Here's someone who knows TJ:
quote:
Originally posted by Joe Ehrlich:
While most drive through it (on their way south) or visit only the dreadful districts set up to please inebriated American day-trippers, it also has shopping opportunities galore (a very interesting Costco!) and some agreeable dining.


And here's someone who doesn't know TJ:
quote:
If you are into pre-teen hookers, cheap crap, and cops looking for bribes, you will LOVE that place. The lowest common denominators for both countries can be found in border towns.


As a former resident of San Diego who visited Tijuana at least once a month, I have to stand up for the place. The vast majority of visitors to Tijuana take a bus from the US border to a central street called Avenida Revolucion, or Revoution Avenue. Revolution is a cheap, dirty, seedy place where tourists can find 3-foot wide sombreros, Texas-sized belt buckles, nylon string guitars, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, rat tacos (seriously), 6 oz. bottle of beer, bootleg CDs, and people that generally don't give a fuck about whether you live or die. The tourists spend about half a day on the Avenue, too frightened to go anywhere else, and then dash back to the border as fast as they can. They tell bad jokes about third world countries and congratulate each other on surviving Tijuana.

What they don't know is that Revolution is specially designed to give tourists everything they expect. The cheap souveniers, the bad food, and even the hookers and gang bangers are all there because the locals know that that's what the tourists want to see. It keeps the tourists from clogging up the rest of the city, and it relieves them of their money while giving them a good show. And that's what it is: a big show. Avenida Revolucion is to Tijuana what a Honolulu resort's "authentic luau" show is to Hawaii.

The best parts of Tijuana aren't advertised in the US. It's not that gringos aren't welcome. It's just that the loudmouth annoying tourists who ask for chicken nachos and pronounce the H in hola never find about them. Frankly, I wish San Diego would do the same thing: herd all the Arizona tourists into Mission Beach and La Jolla, and leave OB and PB and the Gaslamp for locals only.

If you want to see Tijuana, stay the hell off of Avenida Revolucion and visit the places listed below. You'll need to speak a little Spanish, and you might be the only non-Mexican there, but folks will be friendly and you'll have a good time.

-Tangaloo is the best nightclub I've ever been to, anywhere. Nothing I've seen in Chicago, San Francisco, LA, Rome, or Beirut compares. They have live DJs (as in mixing music, not spinning CDs), dancers, a big dance floor, about fifty tables, and waiters in tuxedos. It's fun and flashy, but it also feels exclusive. Like a cross between a rave and a speakeasy.

-Balak is another big club in TJ. Good techno music, an awesome light show, and talented bartenders.I like Tangaloo better, but a lot of people prefer Balak.

-Senor Frog's is a chain of bars across Mexico. It's a lot like an American sports bar, only the TV shows futbol instead of football, and everybody speaks Spanish.

-Zona Rio is a big shopping center near the Tijuana River (which is about as much of a river as the Los Angeles River). There's a pretty big mall and some nice restaurants. It's nothing unique, but it's a common shopping area for locals. That makes it a good place to meet or watch the people and learn how the locals live. Zona Rio is also close to a big municipal park which is turned into a festival area on important holidays (September 16!).

-The Tijuana Cultural Center is a combination art museum, history museum, and art-house cinema. The displays are all in Spanish, pero si hablas espanol, it's entertaining.

Some parts of Tijuana are dangerous after dark. There's a huge amount of drugs getting shipped through Tijuana, and there's a lot of crime associated with them. Zona Rio is safe at all hours, as is Senor Frogs. But the clubs I listed are near some shady neighborhoods. Taxis are safe and honest, so on your way home to the club, it's best to catach a cab back to the border than to walk. Overall, Tijuana is a fun and exciting city as long as you know where to go. I hope you like it!

One last note: If you happen to be near TJ on Spetember 16, get down to the city center. That's Mexico's Independence Day, and they do a big celebration with fireworks and 'El Grito' at 10pm that night. Tons of fun.

And don't forget the donkey zebras!
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Endless-Summer

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  • Added on: July 8th, 2005
A note about living and working in Tijuana:

It's very hard for foreigners to find work in TJ. Pay is low, jobs are scarce, and Mexicans are given priority. Many Americans (and many Mexicans) choose to live in Tijuana and work in San Diego. The commute is a pain, but the savings are amazing. One co-worker of mine earned $45,000 a year working at a help desk in San Diego and paid $300 a month for nice two-bedroom apartment in a good neighborhood in Tijuana. Another co-worker built a 4-bedroom, 2-story house with an ocean view just south of the city for $80,000. The same house with an ocean view in San Diego would have cost over a million.

In short, get an apartment in TJ, but get a job in San Diego.
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socalgirl

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  • Added on: July 11th, 2005
I agree, working in San Diego, live in Mexico.

Why not try Rosarito or one of the colonies between Tijuana or Rosarito. They're close enough and away from the city with an ocean view.

I know you used to be able to rent a nice house with a view for 300-500 per month.

Cheers
Kiss, Kiss, Kiss and still no prince...

goodlookinrebel

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  • Added on: July 16th, 2005
The alamo hostel in Rosarito Beach(about a 40 minute $2 cab ride from the TJ\SD border)rents longterm for around 200 a month. I stayed there before and it was very nice. Lots of great food and cool clubs and 30 second walk to the beach. Oh and all of the angry Germans really spiced things up.



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