What do you do when the city you live in is in total disarray and violent chaos? Do you hide inside? Do you put padlocks on your door? Do you buy a bat or a gun and hope you’ll never have to use them? And even if you don’t really believe in God, do you pray that the week’s reported dead won’t be you or anyone you know?
While 37 adults and children, both guilty and innocent players in the drug war, were killed over the weekend, I was in Punta Banda, a tiny farm and fishing town located about 30 minutes south of Ensenada, at a beautiful house on a private stretch of beach that seemed to go on forever. While the rain poured down, my visiting family, my new fiance, my Tijuana neighbors and I gathered around a table inside, played stupid board games, ate entirely too much food (my fiance and I provided the mole and poblano chile sweet potato enchiladas, the recipe of which I’ll post soon since they were such a hit!) and laughed, sometimes, like when my own lovely mother revealed her surprisingly sick sense of humor in a board game called “Bubble Brain,” until we cried and gasped to get air between chuckles.
The day trip to La Bufadora, which sits at the end of the penisula, proved to be fun, but the Bufadora itself isn’t as grand as the tourism ads would lead one to believe. In fact, I liked walking through the Mexican market and being harrassed by the vendors more than I liked watching the water spurt out from between the rocks.
The mariachi guitar player who was hanging out at the overlook at La Bufadora was a nice touch, but I had envisioned a huge geyser rather than just the modest squirt we saw last week.
Drinking the magical margaritas at Hussong’s, the actual birthplace of the margarita, led to a fun night in Ensenada that ended with dancing at some kid’s birthday party in the wreck of a room that is the famed Papas & Beer bar. Shopping in Ensenada the next day was fun, too — my dad found a nice leather vest and my sister bought a $5 Mexican blanket — but when the store owners found out I lived in Tijuana, their responses were annoyingly all the same.
“Ug,” they’d say. “Tijuana is dirty and dangerous.”
I always argue when I get this response, so I kept up the routine and tried to convince them otherwise. How was I to know 7-year-olds were being shot while I was convincing people’s of Tijuana’s worth and looking through cheap silver rings?
Anyway, I haven’t read all the news reports yet because that’s all they are: reports. Nothing I’ve seen so far offers any sort of explanation as to why the nephew of Baja California’s tourism secretary was shot. Is the secretary involved with the drug cartel? Is he involved with the police who are fighting the drug cartel? Is the drug cartel trying to send the world-at-large a message, meaning, do they want us to completely stop all tourism??
And on that note, the six college kids who were shot at the Bar Utopia in Otay Mesa, were they meant to be killed: Reports say they were lined up before they were shot, which would make it seem as though they were the intended targets, is that the case? If not, is the bar a known drug-cartel hot spot? Were the kids family members of cops or cartel members? Was this some sort of message? Should we stop going out altogether?
This morning, I heard from a neighbor that the shooting at the Cinemax Plaza in Otay Mesa wasn’t actually related to the drug wars at all. He said the guy who was killed was a known pedophile and the killer used the city’s violence as an excuse to walk into a public movie screening and shoot the guy, execution style, point blank in the head. Is that true? I have no idea, because no one is giving us any explanations for the violence. We’re just left to assume that every death in TJ these days is somehow related to the drug cartel turf battle.
In the meantime, I suppose I’ll just go on doing what I’m doing. Next post will be about the wonderful time my sister, fiance and I had wine tasting in the Guadalupe Valley. I feel somewhat senseless, heartless and straight-up silly for saying so, but, really, what else can I do?