december cover

Tijuana Life on the Edge

“It’s not the Tijuana of yesterday,” says photographer Alicia Santistevan, who knows it well. As her photos in the following pages demonstrate, Mexico’s fifth largest city is more than just a bordertown. It’s a thriving financial and industrial capital with a vibrant cultural life. From examples of avant-garde architecture like the egg-shaped Tijuana Cultural Center, to quaint colonial streets and markets that resemble Morrocan souks, to hip young artists and fashion designers, Tijuana has a magic all its own. In her blog below, Alicia describes how it captivated her.

Up on Revolución, there are still the burros painted like zebras, merchants trying to lure you into their stores with lines like “100% discount for you today!” and, yes, the occasional drunk gringo.

But literally underground lies another Revolución, one that is ruled by the youth and thrives on art and making new out of old…in every sense. In this Tijuana, the stew of change simmers on the brink of boiling. The new generation of Tijuanenses, a talented group of young 20 and 30 somethings, try to change the perception of their town and their beloved country. They demonstrate what their parents taught them about work ethic and combine it with the new trend of activism as they rebuild and reinvent. Their goal? To create a new art community, to band together and help each other, to make Tijuana a place where they want to be…a place to be proud of.

They show their wares with pride and, admittedly, their very vintage looks seem to represent the flavor and unique energy present in the city itself. You can see see up-and-coming fashion designers sewing, art galleries glowing with local talent, and hip cafés with local musicians singing poetic melodies of possibility. This is what I imagine San Francisco might have been like in the 60’s. A definite vibe of love wafts by me along with the scent of tacos that invite me to stay awhile...