My buddy Rex gave me a shout yesterday morning and asked if we'd like to come with for a day trip to Tijuana; he had a house guest who'd never been to Mexico before, and he knows the city really well, so of course I said yes. The last time I was in TJ was probably over a decade ago; I remember being in San Diego on vacation (probably just after Christmas) visiting Dan's brother, and we thought it'd be fun to go for a walk around the city. And wow, things have changed. Sure, there are still touts and beggars everywhere, but they've really improved the overall look of the place; they've got fancy new paving, they've changed Avenida Revolution to have much more room for pedestrians, and overall the place looks really good.
After crossing the border, we walked over to Revo for a quick look at the tourist drag before trying to find cheap transportation to Macroplaza, which is a huge new shopping mall on the outskirts of town and home to the NaCo. store. This wasn't hard at all with the help of the TJ tourist office, but the folks running the shared minivans to that part of town were trying to charge extra for the trip (the price, $10.50, is on the window of all of their vans, but they wanted something like $50 a person instead (and those are pesos, not Dlls.)). Anyhow, Rex got it straightened out, and off we headed for the affluent 'burbs of Tijuana.
The mall was indeed huge and new, and they even had a pay parking lot (only!) to keep the riff-raff out. It felt like being in South Africa again, sort of, and we had a walk through the place to find the NaCo. shop, watching families out for a stroll, eating sweets, having fun. Dan bought T-shirts, I no longer fit any of them (sniff), and then we cooled off with a soda in the air conditioned food court (luxury!).
And then it was back into town for a quick squizz at the Cultural Center (in good repair, still not very touristed), a sort of nightclub outdoor mall (Fiesta Plaza), and then back to the border via taxi ($25) and home again on the trolley (US $5).
A great day!
More photos here. Thanks to Rex and Keith for taking them!