Is Tijuana the new Paris?

From the arch hangs a sign saying Image via Wikipedia

In the last century, some young Americans flocked to Paris in search of meaning in the aftermath of a world war. They were part of what was dubbed the “Lost Generation” for their general dissafection with the United States at that time. They wrote and partied heavily. Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald were among them.

Perhaps I risk overreaching with this parallel, but I like to think there’s some similarities with a group of young bloggers/artists from the United States who either live or spend time in Tijuana. I haven’t had the pleasure of hanging out with them, but I admire the work they are doing. Nathan Gibbs, Kinsee Morlan and Derrik Chinn all provide glimpses of life as an expatriate or visitor in this grand border city (forgive me for overlooking others who may be out there – just shout and let me know where you are). Kinsee is part of an art collective, Adapta Project, that is putting on what looks to be a fantastic art show in Tijuana later this month. Kinsee and Derrik will be showing some of their photos of Mexico at the show. In one of Derrik’s posts he highlights their photo introduction, partially-reprinted here:

“We live in Tijuana by choice. We live in Tijuana for love. And we live in Tijuana illegally… Our lives have become political statements, but we’re not trying to prove a thing. We call this city ours because here, among her people, her pockmarked streets, her anarchy, her gritty Technicolor, her humble innovation and inexhaustible persistence to grow and thrive against all odds, we feel more alive than we have anywhere else in the world. Our official status brands us as outsiders, but what we see through the camera proves the city has indeed invited us to be one of her own. Welcome to our Tijuana.”

These young voices have a lot to say and I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing more from them. Their Tijuana may not always be my Tijuana because we come with different perspectives and go with different experiences, and that’s just fine with me.

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4 responses to “Is Tijuana the new Paris?

  1. Hi, Anna. Love your blog. This was a very interesting topic. I hope you’re doing well. I’m still working on my new venture, which should become public sometime in August.

  2. Hi, Kathryn. Thanks for your message! Keep me posted on your project, too.

  3. Major breakthrough: Today, my mother, who was a bit worried when I first moved to Tijuana two years ago, said she’s starting to get sick of people pronouncing it “Ti-A-juana” and saying “oh my God, how dangerous” when she tells them her youngest daughter lives there.

    “I mean, I used to feel that way,” she said, “but all it took was me visiting you. Now I tell them it’s just like any other city that has a few places you stay away from. It’s not any more dangerous than cities here.”

    In short, my mother has joined me in defending Tijuana, the Paris of the southwest. 😉

    And thanks so much for bringing up my name in the same blog post as Hemmingway! Derrik and I are frustrated with the United States. With rent the way it is, we creative folk can’t afford to live there. Plus, the color, the friction, the culture and la gente aqui en Tijuana make us feel more alive than we ever did in the somewhat sterile United States.

    The “Home of the Free” simply has too many rules and regulations. And frankly, it’s embarrassing to live in a country that builds triple fences to keep others out.

  4. Pingback: Tijuana, the Paris of the southwest « Stairs to nowhere

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