Tijuana Gringo : Turinfo                         Gringo Diary 

Revolution Avenue
Avenida Revolución

2005: New, Wide Sidewalks!!

2006: Casino #1

WHAT To Do on Revolution Avenue?

: block by block description :

: a bit of history :

: nature of the beast street :

: nature of the visiting guests/clientele :

META NAME=description CONTENT=Rambling poetastric dissertation upon Revolution Avenue, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.  History, description, social control, power and rebellion, walking walking walking day and night change from painted donkey family to shaved head punk and Mexican cowboy wilding the ultimate paseo over ripped up streets and sidewalks come on in take a look gotta special price just for you...................!
First written 2000, up-vised re-dated 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.

ten block long (or twelve?)
mix of shops and bars with restaurants
ancient Mexican monument copies 
     on the sidewalk 
with those pulling, boisterous doormen

     come on in, take a look

character of the place
hornhonking holiday victory madness
social control power & wild release
m o n e y      m o n e y      m o n e y
habiting       habitus        habit

page looks like poem is only list
gone                     walking
the whole twelve-block enchilada
from new arch to old tower

below the arch: Coahuila, the red light
     zona de tolerancia

arch to third street : original center
of old west towne, olde Mexico village
where Tijuana was reborn 100 years ago

fourth to sixth streets: the center
of   the madness, narrow blocks
tons of shops and bars and noise

seventh to ninth: upper avenue
Jai Alai, Pulgas, Sanborns

10th, 11th, boulevard: beyond
around the bend to  the  end
     [    tower @ park   ]

.                            .

Top terms visitors used to find your page in a search  
tijuana zebra painted donkeys pictures  17.35% 
japangos san diego  17.28% 
visiting tijuana mexican prostitutes  15.68% 
las pulgas tijuana  15.40% 
revolution street tijuana  12.32% 
japangos  6.80% 
tijuana prostitutes  5.54% 
the revolution in tijuana  4.68% 
horseshit cigarettes  3.91% 
striped donkey in tijuana  1.05% 

WHAT FOLLOWS IS CONSTRUCTION RUBBLE PILED OFF TO ONE SIDE IN IMITATION OF MEXICAN STREET ARCHITECTURE and the constant reconstruction of this avenue where there is No revolution just people blowing whistles and yelling and screaming from half-bankrupt terrace cafes upstairs from hustle hustle sidewalks and FAMOUS DONKEYS painted like zebras.

WHAT's NEw ? 2006: Caliente Casino with Video Slots -- next to the mouth of Aztec Sun Stone Passage between 3rd & 4th.

2005: The New, super-wide sidewalks are complete all the way up to 7th Street!  Just in time for the wettest winter in 12 years... they have taken away the cement tables in the little plaza.


Other Turinfo Pages:

from old postcard tour
-- click to visit
another fine photo from Rubygro -- click to visit more

1. General Character of the Place.

"La Revo" they call it, Avenida Revolución, Revolution Avenue.  Often considered the heart of Tijuana, la Revo is a strange beast indeed, who seems sometimes to have nothing in common with the rest of the city.

If Salvador Dali and Walt Disney 
were identical twins separated at birth 
who grew up in Tijuana,
         then la Revo would be
the image of olde Mexico.    And yet she "is"...

(..."that depends of what the meaning of 'is' is 
or is what it means..." — [w/efg: Wm.Clinton])...

 .   .  . Yet "she" — "la Revo" (or "Revu") — is the image which many California yankees have of Mexico.  She - Revolution Avenue - is (don't bother to click) perhaps the best-known icon of this city and - as far as many visitors think - she is the icon and image of Mexico.  We can throw endless hybrid hyphens at her but won't change the fact here: she is the image of Mexico as huge tourist souvenir arcade with prostitutes and zebra-painted striped donkeys outside of raucous rocknrol or norteño salsa cantinas if you want'em and lots of goooood food to eat.  Well, some of it is good.  Some of it is excellent.

Yes, yes, we all know she - la avenida Revo - is not "really" Mexico, that she's only a mongrel, a bastard street dog dressed up in sparkly glass beads and tinseltown fluff, just a border hybrid that everyone loves to beat up and rape and abuse, a dead cash cow going bankrupt after Nine.Eleven but... well, she does have her wild charm, her uncertain "Mexican" UNrealities and um... er... dare we say it, some "disneylandia" deviations...?  Yes, we dare.  But first, how did she get to be like this?

Historical Development of This Street IN Tijuana

Revolution Avenue - Avenida Revolución - was the first main street of the old town, or the new town, rather, when the founders rebuilt it around 1892.  There was an earlier, older village down in the river bed, closer to the border gate, but the great floods of 1892 wiped it out.  (Keep in mind that the "town" we are talking about was only like two or three blocks long.)  The "original" village of Tijuana would have been roughly where the Mexican customs, weird arch building over the highway, the sea of Taxis and island of tacos are/is today, and extended toward the river into what is now Plaza Viva Tijuana.  In those years the river flooded every year, and every twenty or forty years there would come a hundred-year-flood which would fill the valley floor from edge to edge with rushing muddy water draining down from all the mountains.  Keep in mind that the Tijuana river watershed is bigger than any other river in this part of southern California.  Nowadays, of course, it's all choked off with dams and carries more sewage than fresh water, ever.  But back then, a hundred, hundred and fifty years ago, it was still pretty wild.

As you walk across the river along the "touristic corredor" up the little hill toward the big arch downtown, up the slope from the stinking cement river channel, perhaps you will understand why the old founders chose this spot - the "foot" of Revolution Avenue - to rebuild their town.  This here is the edge of a flat space close to the river, but just out of reach of its worst floods.  In those days there were under a thousand people around here (now there are two million) and the river was clean, the water table high, and the wells produced a good, un-polluted supply for drinking, washing, and agriculture.  Except in the dry years... but that is ANOTHER story....

In those days, the little town they built was only three or four blocks long. They had the "new" Mexican customs building (the old one, over by the San Ysidro border gate, was now melted adobe).  They had the "Big Curio Store" and a handful of cantinas that also served food, and a restaurant or two that also served drinks.  They had a bullring built to thrill the visiting Yankees - and the locals - with bullfights.  Tourists back then were called "excursionists" and they came across the river in big wagons, their high wheels a cut above the rocky water and dry sand.  They would dress up in sarapes and big sombreros and have their pictures taken.

Then, in 1911, a mix of semi-revolutionary labor activists attacked Tijuana.  This rag-tag "rebel army" was made up of mostly non-Mexican adventurers, but they took up the name of the Magon brothers to legitimize their "revolutionary struggle." The Magon brothers were, in fact, progressive Mexican reformers who later washed their hands of the filibusterers who'd used their names.  It is worth noting that the Magon brothers were in exile in Los Angeles at the time But They Never Came Down to Tijuana in spite of being only 125 miles away and in spite of the "Magonista" filibusters' claims to support them.  This extremely short-lived event is still an INTENSELY Controversial bit of local history and you should not believe anything we say here because someone will certainly disagree with both of the three or more sides to the story.

NEVERTHELESS the so-called "Magonista" filibusterers did attack, and after a battle in which a number of Mexican Tijuanenses were shot and killed, the attackers did occupy — and rule — Tijuana for a month and a half in May and June of 1911.  To raise money for their filibustering "revolution" they played the same game that every power-that-be would play: they taxed the cantinas and gambling halls (as can be noted in the San Diego Historical Society article on the history of vice here... [—PHILIP FIND AND LINK—], Please).

Following the recapture of Tijuana by federal forces and local patriots, the filibusterers ran across the river and were arrested by the U.S. Army.  This history is also expounded in the magazine of the San Diego Historical Society and is available on line, with photos.

Because of the instability and continuing fighting in central Mexico, this far frontier remained physically isolated and (after the abortive Magonista filibuster) politically quiet.  Because of its relatively peaceful situation, as well as economic opportunities, the frontier began to attract immigrants north, mostly from Sonora and Jalisco.  The population of Tijuana grew from 733 residents in 1910 to 8,384 in 1930.  And, of course, Revolution Avenue, the main street of the old town, changed from a village dirt street to a paved, modern avenue.

It was also during this period that the automobile (and the train, precursor to the much later trolley [which follows the same route but does not cross the border]) began to dominate the tourist trade.  Furthermore, the first wooden bridge — "la marimba" — was built across the river into town from the border gate.

Meanwhile, Mexican military governors were appointed by the shifting central governments in Mexico City (remember, this was also the time of the real Mexican revolution and civil war of 1910-mid1920s).  Memorable among these governors was Esteban Cantu (1911-1920), who began to pave streets, build roads (the first official highway over la rumorosa to Mexcali), public schools, put in street lights, etc., all paid for by taxes on cantinas and gambling halls.  The second memorable governor was Abelardo Rodriguez (192??-193??  MICHAEL: Check For DATE pleazz) who was the only Mexican partner in the otherwise gringo group that opened the Agua Caliente Casino Resort in 1928 (and the racetrack in '29).

During these years, the nineteen-teens and twenties, Tijuana in general, and Revolution Avenue in paticular, underwent a monstrous transformation, from quaint old west town to Roaring Twenties HotSpot. The primary motor which drove this "golden age" of tourism was, of course, the prohibition of alcoholic beverages (1919) in the United States.  Overnight, (January 1, 2000), thousands upon thousands of thirsty tourists descended on Tijuana from San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, and Baja California entered another "boom period" of development.  This was, coincidentally, also the time when Hollywood began to flower as a center for the production of motion pictures, and Tijuana — like a Mexican moon to the Los Angeles sun — now began to gleam in the reflected light of that particular form of celluloid glamour.  ("The problem with movies is that they are canned" —Orson Welles.)

Except for postcards, it is "virtually" impossible to find any remaining traces of the "old west" Revolution Avenue (or A Avenue), but you can still see buildings left over from the Roaring Twenties and Thirties.  At the corner of Second Street, two old examples face diagonally across the corner at each other.  The white arched bank building on the northwest corner is one — you can change your dollars for pesos here.  The old brick Commercial Building across the intersection on the southeast corner is another beautiful example of "golden age" Tijuana architecture.  The original Caesar's Restaurant (now moved up the street to its own Hotel on the corner of Fifth) was originally located here, and thus, we believe, the Caesar Salad was invented in that building on this corner.

Another example of "Roaring Twenties" architecture can be found a few doors down from the white bank, on the front street-wall of the Villa Colonial, with its curious art-deco archways.  This was originally the Cafe California, but is now a set of shops and entrance to a passageway "pasaje" arcade which will lead you through a fake-Spanish-village toward the back door onto Plaza Santa Cecilia.

The "World's Longest Bar" no longer exists, but it occupied half a block toward the corner of 3rd, where the Gigante parking lot now stretches around that little taco shop.  There is still a raunchy cantina with its name — la ballena — in Plaza Santa Cecilia, cheek by jowl with a bunch of other old & new bars.

The great depression (1929-1939), the legalization of alcohol in the United States (1933), and the outlawing of casino gambling in Mexico (1938), delivered a series of body blows that finally killed the golden age of Tijuana tourism, although the Caliente racetrack remained open (but faced stiff competition from new, legal racetracks like Del Mar and Santa Anita in California).  It was only in 1942, with the World War II mobilization and subsequent training of massive numbers of soldiers and sailors in San Diego (Marines, Army, and especially, the Navy), that Tijuana awakened again from economic slumber and entered its "silver age" of tourism.

Some of the older still-remaining bars along or nearby Avenue Revolución date from this WWII period, notably the Aloha Bar (you can almost picture the sailors shipping out for the Pacific war from here, just by its name alone) and La Estrella dance hall on sixth, down the little hill from Revolution.  We should note that the Korean War, and Vietnam, continued to send their boys down here to drink and get screwed.

It was beginning in the 1950s, with the growth of new families and the "baby boom" in Calfornia, that the business leaders in Tijuana began to turn back toward the original "excursionist" family-oriented tourist, hoping to attract the shopper for curios, souvenirs, toys, clothes, duty-free luxuries like perfume, as well as Mexican jewelry, leather, art and artisanry.  Fancy import shops like Sara's (at 4th & Revo) were opened. At the same time, the redevelopment of arcade-passageways, those labyrinthine corredors lined with little shops, largely dates from this period, although the tradition of a marketplace made up of little stalls is much, much older, dating back both to Aztec/Maya precolumbian tianguis as well as the Spanish/European market/fair.

Sometime in the late 1960s (WE ARE NOT SURE ABOUT THIS DATE), in keeping with the ancient Mexican theme, numerous cement copies of Aztec, Toltec and Maya monuments were set up along the Revolution Avenue sidewalks. The most stunning example is actually off the avenue in the Foreign Book Peanuts & Beer passageway between Third and Fourth Avenues.  Back toward the Restrooms and the Foreign Club Museum, near the elevators that take you up to the Penthouse nude-bar, you will find a huge painted copy of the Aztec Calendar Sun Stone.  If you stare at it long enough after a few dozen beers and tequilas, it will begin to move and spin and a portal into time and space will open up and suck you into an unconscious black hole until you wake up fifteen hours later with a splitting headache in a puddle of your own piss and vomit on the floor of the Tijuana Jail. Or at least that's how it went in one science fiction short story Michael wrote after worshipping the porcelain goddess himself, rendering up his precious ambergris puke.

The last, most notable trend in Revolution Avenue architecture took place in the 1980s with the opening of numerous "terrace bar-cafes." These are all up and down the avenue now, from the corner of Second toward Seventh — those raucous upstair semi-outdoor pseudo discoteques full of gringos howling and shrieking above the street.  You can NOT miss them boom Boom BOOM scream HA Ha heeeee.  Very popular with the 19 and 20-year olds.

Brief (?!) Description of Revolution Avenue by Sections

Where were we after scraping away the topsoil?  Ripping out the brick paving stones they are rebuilding the Avenue ONCE AGAIN.  But even with no cars running up and down the excavated streets, the sidewalks are still XLNT paseo blocks.  Generally speaking the center of the madness is in the three or four blocks from Fourth to Seventh.  By quirk of planning, these are also the shortest blocks, and walking the entire length of the avenue gives you a strange feeling of long stretches interspersed with brief outbursts, an impression partly fostered by the change in block-size at its heart.  Just another one of the weird truths of this place.  It IS a Metaphor for ITself itSelf yes.  That's why the bots dress themselves up in human eyes to go walking here.  No one can tell whether they're tatoos or real.

From seventh or eighth — where the Jai Alai palace sits across from the big disco club Las Pulgas (hot Mexican banda music), the avenue uphill becomes a little milder.  The cocktail lounge in Sanborns (entrance on corner of eighth is a sedately rocking place on weekend nights with their one-man band singer, and the restaurant is, well, palatable.  The store stocks bits and pieces of everything and is very popular with the local bourgeois and both new and old rich.  A place to see and be seen.  Good selection of books, although some hold it politically incorrect to shop there.  Whatever the world will end with a bang or a whimper....

South (uphill) from eighth the street is less insane, and finally bends left past Eleventh toward the beginning of Agua Caliente Boulevard, aka "the" Bulevar.  Here where Revo ends and the Bulevar begins, you will find a very pleasant park (reasonably safe in the daytime and early evening, but no guarantees after ten or so).  This park is the current site of Tijuana's favorite symbol: the old (rebuilt) Moorish-Spanish Tijuana Tower (copy of now-destroyed ex-Agua Caliente tower), which proudly sits dreaming of mythical gambling and drinking days amidst tall trees and roaring traffic.  The original tower was designed to serve as an airport beacon in the late 1920s and early 30s at the Casino private airstrip a couple miles out the boulevard (where the twin skyscraper towers are now, FYI).

You can actually walk under the tower — it sort of stands on stilts, as you can see at that site about the old casino etcet.  Upstairs in the rebuilt tower is a museum of local sports heroes, sometimes open.  This is a good spot to rest your feet after walking.  Although the park is reasonably safe, it is surrounded by busy busy streets.  Please be very careful crossing the multiple lanes going in seven different directions... eye contact.  Eye contact.  THEN RUNNNNNNnnnnn!!!

The big road going up the canyon is called Fundadores.  It will take you up past the Tijuana Beer (Cerveza Tijuana) brewery, with its antique-style pub and beer tasting specials.

At the opposite end, downhill (north) near the gigantic millennium arch, the street is still hopping but not quite as screamingly loud or packing them in as it is in the short blocks between 4th and 6th.  Here, between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, facing the Arch, the city has recently rebuilt new, broader sidewalks and narrowed the street, cutting down on automobile cruising and leaning toward more pedestrian experience.  In the course of laying down the new sidewalks this year (2003) they actually buried ("decommissioned") hundreds of drug pipes siezed from the very stores who... but that is another story... and one that reminds us of how the Aztecs and Mayas used to bury ritual offerings every time they rebuilt their temples.  But we are Mexilocos looking for ancient America, after all.  Eye of the beholder, what?  What.

WHAT To Do on Revolution Avenue?

In all the ten or twelve) blocks from the Millennium Arch at the mouth of Plaza Santa Cecilia up to the old Tijuana (ex-Agua Caliente casino) Tower in its park, there is much more to do than just drink and eat here... but that can be good, too....

First of all, there is just the walking... Avenida Revolución has become a strangely fashionable paseo (if you don't mind all the guys whining for you to come in and see their naked women and special jewelry and leather just for you).  People come from Mexico City to look at this crazy place full of Gringos and Chicanos and now Japanese.

And, yes of course, you Can SHOP!  A wide range of stores line the Avenue, from kitschy junk to smooth department store to retail label to swanky exclusive collector's items.  There's even a couple of decent cups of coffee and internet cafes here and there.  Oh yes, and pharmacies and liquor stores and did we mention bars and restaurants?  Yes we did and we do again.  Come on in take a look got a special price for you table dance and precious gold, silver, ceramic and papier mache and sports gambling and food and tequila and... the world famous Horseshit Cigarettes and are you into Leather...? Want your picture on a donkey cart behind a painted fake zebra?

In the search of that first or last really cool bit of whatever, one favorite activity of gringo shoppers is to wander off the avenue into the seemingly endless Mexican-style arcades (Hey! This IS Mexico, no?) or "pasajes" — passages — which turn into labyrinthine passages with hundreds of little shops hanging cheek by jowl.  We tried counting these various arcades in the blocks between 1st and 10th, but gave up.  Some of them actually seem to lead into and out of each other.  Go ahead, explore, wander into the twisty arcades with all their salespeople begging you to buy something as you go on, over, under, around and through... yep, we're hooked. 

Each of us writing here at Tijuana Gringo grew up in San Diego and ever since our childhood whether the 50s, 60s or 70s, we have discovered this wonderland of kitschy junk and true treasures — and there IS real Mexican folk art here, cheek by jowl with the cheap souvenirs... oh yes.  You can find it all here on the avenue, Cinderella and her stepsisters, Snow White, Elvis and Jim Morrison on velvet, Jesus and Che Guevara, solid, high-quality silver and gold and cheap (and very low priced) wash or plated junk.

NOTE: Many of these daytime shoppers' arcades and passageways close when the sun goes down.  Tis then that La Revo converts into a nighttime cruise, drink, party and paseo street par excelence.

Visit the Tijuana Sepiatone Photo Tour with only one click here...

Strange and untrue though she may be, Tijuanenses nevertheless love their weird little child, as much as San Franciscans love Alcatraz, New Yorkers love Times Square, or Los Angelenos love their freeways.

For better and for worse, "la Revo" is a symbol of this border town, an icon of "the world's most visited city."  Even her name, "Revolution," seems fortuitous, inviting rebellion and wild life — yet that too, is a lie.  There is no revolution on Avenida Revolucion.  Oh, there IS plenty of Plenty of PLENTY of PARTYYYYING but no revolution.  That was institutionalized many decades ago... heh heh small inside joke.  Party.Revolution.Institution... oh never mind.  This is all PAN country anyway around here.  Well, mostly... so far....UNTIL THE RED TIDE OF @))$ 2004 swept old Hank the gambler and animal lover into power     (Shut up, Danial and write.)

Ahem.   After watching this street for four years, we think that everything is closely controlled and monitored by the rulers and residents of La Revo, from the taxi drivers who strictly keep to their own corners, to the prostitutes who must carefully operate with moderate discretion vis-a-vis the tourists (or at least, in the daytime) and who between themselves appear to maintain their own territories of walking and rubbing men's crutches in the shadows at night. 

Historical studies also indicate that the "vice" for which Tijuana has been famous for over a hundred years now has always been carefully controlled and harvested.  The yelling and screaming from the balcony bars is carefully programmed and permitted only on private property upstairs, where it can echo harmlessly down to the sidewalk, and attract other customers upstairs to party and spend money.  The salespeople along the sidewalks all have their places and ambulatory vendor licenses.  The "jaladores" — pullers — hucksters at the doors of nightclubs and bars — may only go so far from their establishments, only be so obnoxious/polite and no more.  It may look like disorganized madness to you, but we believe That Everyone In This constellated HABITUS has their script and knows it well.

The police cruise up and down in their squad cars and special forces pickups, ready to intervene at any sign of fighting or "real" disturbance, and throw the miscreants into the trucks or back seats.  These police regularly shut certain blocks of the street to vehicular traffic on Friday and Saturday nights, and on holidays of special merit, even more force is displayed — like Halloween 2000 — Michael and his friend Maria saw army trucks of armed soldiers cruising up and down the avenue to forstall any outbreaks of "revolution." In a fit of creative madness, Michael said to a couple of decked out soldiers (complete uniform, combat helmet, automatic weapons) "Ay, your costume is really excellent!"

The look in their eyes said everything back.  Stupid gringos don't make fun of us in the army eh... and then they smiled when they finally understood us.

In early 2002, a new set of soldiers in grey uniform, from the federal justice ministry, descended on Tijuana and for months were on the street every day in groups of two to six or so, carrying their automatic weapons under their arms.  So then in the Year Two we had soldiers in green and grey and brown, as well as cops in brown and black and navy blue.  Or perhaps we exagerrate.  Shoulda Come and see for yourself. There is always the weird feeling that Somone SOMEhow just pulled off a latinamerican coup d'etat....  The tourist, as always, is VERY welcome... if you don't misbehave very much.... (Bring Money, of course.)

It was kind of touching to watch all these young kids from God knows where down in the south, half-Indians a lot of them, loose on the streets spending their paychecks on reputedly duty-free (dontask us wedont know no) electronic equipment fresh from the Otay Mesa maquiladora factories or off the boat from Korea and Japan... one began to see human beings with folks back home, under the grey federal uniforms that spoke so much of the power of Tenochtitlan the modern Aztec empire of New Spain....

And then just as suddenly, as the newspapers screamed NARCO BATALLION DISAPPEARS and the soldiers went away, whisked away in huge cargo airplanes back to Mexico city....  And, meanwhile, not by coincidence or anything, the new chief of police and a bunch of his officers all got arrested by the AFI (Mexico's "FBI") and swept into another one of those cargo planes that, yes, also, flew off to Mexico City where amidst more screaming headlines they passed a few days in the capital cooler before being released for lack of evidence.  Ooops, sooooo sorrrrryyyy Charlie.... Starkist wants tuna narcos that taste gooooood.....

But to get our feet back on the ground, here on this page, we mean, La Revo suffered a serious slump after "9/11" but things had almost begun to get back up a bit when ALL the marines and sailors in San Diego county were sent to Iraq.

COME HOME SAFE AND SOON boys and girls...

Your business would be very much appreciated, and there is a lot to see and eat and drink.

The Nature of the Controlled Beast.

With all the bands and jukeboxes blasting on top of each other, Revolution Avenue may sometimes look and sound like a street of madness and out-of-control lunacy — la calle de la locura — especially in the blocks between Fourth and Seventh Streets.  But don't believe it — that appearance is a delightfully rowdy masquerade, a mask of wildness to attract the crowds and urge them be free with their purses and spend their money.  Behind the revolutionary mask, everything, Everything, EVERYTHING is a Carefully Controlled Climate of — B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S — .... (and most prices are higher here than elsewhere in town — except for Sanborns, which is the same EVERYwhere Throughout the Known Universe).

Yet, la Revo does not fail in her mission: she upholds (?) her reputation: she provides escape and entertainment in her shopping and her bars and restaurants, and her sidewalks make a truly unusual and entertaining place to promenade.  Hundreds, sometimes thousands of locals and foreigners, Mexicans and Gringos, Japangos, Gabachos and Chicanos and Paisanos cienporcientos, all flock to Revolution Avenue for diversion and fun, to eat, and to drink, and most important: to walk up and down the street and talk, and see, and be seen.  It is the ultimate postmodern paseo of the frontier.  Definitely a place to walk and see.  Definitely a paseo.  A promenade par excellence ojalá sí vous me permitez parlez francais I DON'T NEED NO PERMISSION SLIP from the U.N. or any goddam country TO SPEAK WHATEVER LANGUAGE I Can or Want (a tip of the hat to old George W. ["nukulur"] the second - his wild daughters would fit right in spending daddy's money and getting realllyyyyyy stinking baaaaaaad just like he used to.  Maybe they'd even burn a couple Mexicans with cigarette tatoos and say oh now you are real Yale fraternidades muchachos [ooooo Mikey that is a little tooooo unfair... {okay, sorry, I take it back Mach 2 for the bot}] ).  Oh, and by the way, wraptaur, thanks for turning all those traffic lights green last week in Dago 4 uhs.  Yu no watt eye meen lles yew dew.  Luv ya.

The Nature of the Visiting Peoples/Clientele.

Depending on the hour, the tourist hordes come in two broad categories: the day crowd and the night crowd.  Their also tend to be a number of certain groups who stand out by their behavior.  The white and/or black U.S. tourist, short pants and t-shirt with someone vomitting beer, and the ladies with their hair but no ugly t-shirt... heh heh of course they are wearing shirts!!!!  Just not a vomit t-shirt.  Then there are the chicano men and boys come down from L.A. with tatoos and sweeeeeet looking babes on their arms.  Then the orientals who look like they only came to check out their factories that make more television sets than anywhere else on the planet but meanwhile let's go see Revolution Avenue... there even are shops with signs in Japanese, now....  And occasionally you hear a little tilting lilt of Cuban accent or something European.

Yeah there really is such a beast as A ZEBurro... The day tourist, generally speaking, is more family-oriented, more interested in shopping and eating.  The night tourist is more singles-oriented (although often arriving in a dated couple or tatooed, shaved-head pack with one or two retro-hippies in tow) and certainlyyyyyyy way more interested in partying than shopping although some shops stay open late to tempt them with hugeeeeee straw sombreros and fake Tequila-I.V.s....

Both types, the day crowd of many colors and the night groupies of shadow and light, both crowds walk up and down the ten block stretch of Revolution, from the big metal arch towering over the corner of First, at the Hotel Nelson and Plaza Santa Cecilia with its mariachi musicians and (gateway to zona norte watered down drinks and wh0rez), eight blocks up toward the Jai Alai palace, transvestite corner, las Pulgas Mexican disco, and Sanborns' island of bourgeois chic.

In between stretch seemingly endless doors into arcades, stores, bars, restaurants and hotels, punctuated by " zeburros" — a word we had to invent to describe those famous Tijuana landmarks, the donkeys painted with black and white stripes and standing around infront of gaudily decked out donkey carts, watched over by those antique box-camera photographers.  If you actually come HERE to Tijuana, they will greet you with their cameras from the last millennium and help you climb up onto their donkey carts decorated with ancient Aztec princesses and warriors etcetera and then happily snap your souvenir photo while the donkey nibbles on doggy chow chow doggy chow chow cha cha chow chow crunck crunch crackle snap pop (but only during the day... the zeburros all go away in the evening to sleep in canyons and we know where yes we do know where we do we do know where the zeburros go to sleep at night...).

Okay, Mikey, let's go have another drink now....

The sidewalks are perfect for promenading — almost broad enough to hold both the crowds and the vendors.  On busy nights the police close portions of the avenue to vehicles, which makes for less-smoky walking as well as easier crowd control.  Not to mention that this past year ago (2003) the City government began to rebuild the touristic zone sidewalks and host occasional concerts in the street under the giant metal arch or up the street in front of the Jai Alai palace...  (OCTOBER 2004 UPDATE - Street at 4th and 5th and 6th and 7th is RIPPPED UP.  No Cars.  Sidewalks are OPEN for walkers!).

Many of the arcades — those hallways of shops so fascinating to explore off the avenue during the daytime — close up their stalls and booths at sunset, folding their tents and throwing the focus solidly back onto the sidewalks.  Tis the daytime tourists who tend to buy more souvenirs.  The nighttime tourists are looking more for drinking, dancing, and other forms of "entertainment."

But now we are starting... or continuing, ha ha... to repeat ourselves.  Time to fold this tent and bid you wander elsewhere through our own little wonderland of cyberspace xibalba... mmmm or better yet, come and see the real thing.  Just a trolley ride from downtown San Diego and then over the river and through the streets to old TJ town we go.  We are certain you will agree it is somehow... not... quite really... real.......

You'wanna see what one of us gringoes is scribbling today or yesterday about our life in Tijuana...?  Yes, yes, another fracking weblog, I know, I know, there's a million of 'em but, but... well...?


Send Daniel or Michael e-mail at tijuanagringo@yahoo.com

Copyright 2001-2004 Daniel Charles Thomas