Tijuas, TJ, Tijuana
My brother calls it Tijuas, an old term still used and seen in town. I recently crossed the California border and saw a man wearing a shirt with the name Tijuas sewn on his sleeve. Proud, brown and with a handlebar stash, he was staying cool as he sat under a tree. During this trip to TJ, the Haitan groups living at the border, stranded, looking for a way into the US were visible. They've adapted, many living in entire complexes, playing their African roots music and cooking food that smells different. Along with the Mexicans, they hustle selling goods as you wait in your car to cross back to the US. The wait is often very long, so you end up buying something like a souvenir, a drink, snacks or tacos. You can also get your windows washed or your car dents repaired. Quite a show before the border too of dancers, kids, beggars.
I imagine Tijuana center was once glorious, full of Americans spending dollars and having a good time. Being treated with a Red Carpet at many events. There are still remnants of beautiful buildings, but it seems very run down now, full of scabby prostitutes and drug addicts shooting up and nodding out on busy sidewalks during mid-morning hours. Comadre said it sounded like San Francisco, where she lives. Que Pena.