Yesterday, my fiance and I went down to Revolucion to buy engagement rings, cowboy boots and to pick up some antibiotics to treat a little non-serious illness of mine. The rings went from $130 to $35, the boots went from $750 to $120 and the medicine was just under $10. I know that bartering has always been a part of shopping on Revolucion, but the deals the shop owners were offering us were insane. They kept saying they needed the business; that this year’s been the worst ever and that no one — aside from the Asian tourists who still seem to be coming down in busloads — is coming to shop on Revolucion anymore. Tourism is down: People are afraid to get shot or kidnapped.
It’s a sentiment I typically laugh at: You’re not going to get shot or kidnapped, I tell people when they ask me if it’s really safe to come down here.
I still feel this way, mostly, but after we got home from shopping yesterday, my fiance and I saw a stream of police cars racing down Aqua Caliente. Then we saw a Tijuana police helicopter circling above, just blocks away from our home.
Turns out, some people had been kidnapped from Zona Rio. The police were called, a chase ensued and ended in a bloody crash. The kidnappers were arrested and the victims saved, but it was a scary reminder that this stuff is real. Thing is, though, the report we read didn’t mention the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping (UPDATE: El Mexicano reports that the kidnapped men are cartel members). Most victims are wealthy businessmen, not random targets, and I’m assuming this was the case in this instance. It doesn’t make it OK by any means, but it does help me decide how I’m going to continue patronizing Tijuana businesses.
Kidnapping is one way of funding the cartel’s drug war. I probably won’t be going on any Tijuana urban hikes for awhile. I’ll keep my outdoor walking confined to the busy streets during the daytime and I’ll have a heightened awareness and be on the lookout for anything outside of the norm.
As a less depressing aside; We stopped by the Cerveza Tijuana brewery after shopping, tasted five of their beers and had an unhealthy but good lunch (check here for deatials on the beer). We were one of three tables in the entire place. Tijuana is more or less a ghost town these days.
Below is the beauty I continue to see despite Tijuana’s current predicament: