“Mercado HIdalgo” by Kinsee Morlan
This was first published in San Diego CityBeat’s Summer Guide 2008 issue, which came out Wednesday, May 21.
10 reasons to go to Baja California
1. Lots and lots of wine: In Season 4 of South Park, Kenny ends up in Ensenada and is convinced he’s in Hell. But the Ensenada Wine Harvest Festival/Fiestas de la Vendimia shows just how wrong Trey and Matt can be. With wine events happening in Ensenada’s gorgeous Valle de Gaudalupe from Aug. 1 through Aug. 17, the port city is waaaay closer to the fluffy clouds of heaven than the fiery pits of hell. E-mail fiestasvendimia@hot mail.com for details.
2. Dogs running after cute little fake bunnies: The dog races at Hipodromo de Agua Caliente are entertaining whether you bet your hard-earned cash or not. Experts check the stats of each beautiful greyhound for betting purposes, but we recommend putting your money (or just your gentleperson’s bet with a friend) on the dog wearing the cutest little jersey. The stripes! The stripes! Check out bet.caliente.com.mx.
3. Mercado Hidalgo: This open-air farmers market (corner of Sanchez Toboada and Avenida Independencia in Tijuana’s Zona Rio neighborhood) is fun and functional. Go for the produce and homemade Mexican candy, but stay for the strange Mexican curiosities, the excellent food at little taco joints tucked here and there and the totally Tijuanense atmosphere.
4. D-Town Tijuana: This new arts and music fest is being shaped as we speak, but with Sigur Rós and MSTRKRFT already booked, it looks like things are taking the shape of awesomeness. The events are going down June 6 through 8, but you should get your tickets now at http://www.dtowntijuana.com.
5. Julieta Venegas: A beautiful Mexican girl who can play the accordion and the piano while singing heart-wrenching love songs—that’s more than enough reason to cross the line, right? Venegas is the pop princess of Latin America, but unlike Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson, this woman has a soul and a brain and a heart and a little something they call talento down south. The lovely lady takes the stage at El Foro in Tijuana July 19. Call 619-734-2333 for tickets.
6. Sweet treats: El Mejor Pan de Tecate, the fabulous bakery located at 331 Av. Juárez in Tecate, has a mouthwatering selection of cakes, donuts, conchas, breads and other colorful, fresh-baked delicacies. Founded in 1969, El Mejor Pan has been a staple for Tecate residents and tourists alike. Bread is still warm and the quinceañera cakes are to die for, so grab a tray and load up with goodies before you head back to the border. Visit http://www.el mejorpandetecate.com for details and recipes or call 011-52-665-0040.
7. Camping: Fresh air, stunning mountains and an abundant wine country are just a few reasons to abandon the beach and set your tent up in Tecate. Rancho Ojai is a working ranch and campsite located in Tecate’s countryside, about 13 miles from downtown. The site has room for tents and RVs, or you can rent a wood cabin with full electrical service if you’re into that whole camping-with-amenities thing. Call 011-52-665-3014 for reservations. http://www.rancho-ojai.com.
8. Fairs and fiestas: Art, culture and beer abound in Tecate in summer. The usually quiet town takes a few weeks to celebrate with the Feria Tecate en Marcha, which falls in July some years and August in others. In addition to parades and rodeos, the annual fair showcases crafts from Tecate’s thriving arts community. To learn more, contact the Tecate Tourism Trust at 011-52-665-654-5892.
9. Dead bulls: That’s right—bullfighting. We know we’ll get some concerned e-mails from the PETA folks, but the Mexican consulate called and won us over with the old cultural-importance argument. The season kicks off May 25. http://www.tjbullfight.com.
10. Men in masks: Tijuana’s Lucha Libre fights feature some of the sport’s most voracious men in spandex. The luchas smack down on Friday nights throughout summer. You wish you could easily order tickets online and show up an hour before to get to your seats, don’t you? Well, leave your sense of American privilege behind and drive down at least three hours early to purchase tickets (which start around $10) at the box office, located at the Auditorio Municipal on Agua Caliente Boulevard in Colonia El Parais (best bet: take a cab; otherwise, you’ll get lost). To find out when the fights are happening, call 011-52-664-250-9015 or 888-775-2417 or visit http://www.seetijuana.com.
—Kinsee Morlan and Athena Davis
Three ways to not get kidnapped in TJ
1. Don’t look too American. Get a dark tan, wear a straw hat and refer to everyone as “ese.” You’ll be brushed off as part of the local working class immediately.
2. Don’t flash money around. In fact, try paying for your 2×1 cervezas with Monopoly money (better to have them think you’re slow than well off; plus, pesos look a lot like Monopoly money so it may actually work).
3. Don’t wear Crocs. Just don’t. Trust us.
—Kinseee Morlan and Enrique Limón
Four ways to get kidnapped in TJ
1. Wear snake-skin everything and walk like George Jefferson while whistling the “Moving on Up” theme song loudly.
2. Go ahead and let that annoying guy with a whistle poor tequila down your throat, then walk along Revolucion at 4 a.m. proudly yelling at natives, “Si yo quiero, te compro, cabrón!” (“If I want, I can buy you, fucker!”).
3. Wear Crocs.
4. Visit the Red Zone and buy yourself a $30 hooker. When you wake up to find your wallet missing, get all huffy and indignant, find her pimp and threaten him with promises of how well-connected and important you are.
—Kinseee Morlan and Enrique Limon