Tecate tourism

Storyteller by Kinsee Morlan

"Storyteller" by Kinsee Morlan

The first thing you’ll notice about Tecate is the thick wheat smell in the air, which is pungent at first but becomes almost agreeable over time. The huge Tecate brewery is located right in the center of town, and if the winds are blowing, the smell of beer being made is blowing, too.

The second thing you’ll notice about Tecate is the park. Located smack dab in the middle of the town center, what’s amazing and mystifying about this park, at least to us gringos, is the fact that it’s actually used by the townsfolk.  The idea of a plaza is native to Latin America and the public life and interaction that goes on in this place in unparalleled to anything I’ve ever seen in small towns in the U.S.

During the day, young and old sit on the park benches reading, playing chess, listening to mariachi, drinking beer and letting their kids play tag and chase the pigeons.  At night, karaoke takes over as couples dance around the gazebo to the sounds of their neighbors voices.

My BF and I went to Tecate this Saturday with a somewhat absurd task in mind — we were going to find Daniel Reveles, the writer who lives in Tecate and gets most of the inspiration for his short stories from his neighbors and friends.  We started by asking some of the old men in the park, and it didn’t take long before we were pointed in the direction of Bar Diana, one of Reveles favorite haunts.

We headed inside, ordered two Bohemias and, after just a few sips, my BF recognized one of his old literature professors from Grossmont College in San Diego. The professor and his two fellow coworkers were at Diana’s trying to find Reveles, too.  They had the new Murakami book and they wanted to give it to Reveles.

The bartender at Diana’s was nice enough to call the old writer at his home in Tecate Ranch, about a three or four minute drive from the bar. I talked to Reveles and he told us he’d meet us in a few hours.

About four beers and one shot of tequila later, the man was there telling us stories about how he gets his stories, sipping fine tequila (his “life potion” as he called it) and greeting nearly everyone who walked into the bar.  The man is a living legend, and although I’ve yet to read any of his books, I already know I’ll likely love ’em.

Here are some photos of our beautiful day in Tecate:

This kid was fantastic.  He kept chasing the pigeons with his cotton candy, running in circles with a huge smile on his devilish little face.

This kid was fantastic. He kept chasing the pigeons with his cotton candy, running in circles with a huge smile on his devilish little face.

Fences wouldnt even stop him.

Fences wouldn't even stop him.

He came close a few times to actually swatting the pigeons.

He came close a few times to actually swatting the pigeons.

He made his mommy proud.

He made his mommy proud.

Inside Bar Dianna with a few of Daniel Reveless friends.  Apparently, he dedicated his newest book to them.

Inside Bar Dianna with a few of Daniel Reveles's friends. Apparently, he dedicated his newest book to them.

Theres Daniel Reveles, the old guy second from the left.

There's Daniel Reveles, the old guy second from the left.

Everyone who visits the Tecate brewery gets one free beer.

Everyone who visits the Tecate brewery gets one free beer.

Vendors add to the sense of a healthy public life.

Vendors add to the sense of a healthy public life.

A cowboy waiting for his cowgirl.

A cowboy waiting for his cowgirl.

The gazebo is the center of activity.

The gazebo is the center of activity.

Dancing in public.

Dancing in public.

Karaoke in public.

Karaoke in public.

Play time.

Play time.

About Kinsee Morlan

Arts and web editor at San Diego CityBeat. Interested in art and the Tijuana/San Diego border.
This entry was posted in Art & culture, Life. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tecate tourism

  1. d.a. kolodenko says:

    Loved this photo essay, Kins (as i love all your stuff since i am your biggest fan). It reminds me of a similar (but smaller park) off the beaten path in Ensenada. I hung out there one day with friends who live a block from the park & it was full of people, music, activities, relaxing etc. I had a frisbee in my car, so i pulled it out & we played, which all the people there got a real kick out of. My Mexican friends were not very experienced with frisbee but thought it was fun. they told me that it’s really unusual to play frisbee there.

  2. What a wonderful photo essay. I’ve never visited Tecate, but would love to someday.

    City Beat is great. Thanks for giving us a decent alternative in San Diego–

    :–)

  3. Jill Holslin says:

    Kinsee, fabulous story about Tecate! I just visited for the first time last month, and I expected it to be grungy and ugly–quite the opposite. It reminds me of charming towns and cities in central Mexico. And lovely photos–yes, the kids are amazing! good work! –jill

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