Let's Talk About Tijuana

Let's Talk About Tijuana

The Untold Story of Party Town

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Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, is home to one of the most acclaimed gastronomic and cultural experiences. The epicenter of the ultimate road trip scenario, it becomes a link between beach towns and high-end nightlife. In the past years, the city has been stereotyped as a dangerous scene. Foreigners have deemed going to Tijuana as a fatality, missing everything the city has to offer. Tijuas, TJ, Tia Juana, call it how you want, contains an explosion of color, music, food, booze, and scenery. As Manu Chao sang in his 1998 rendition to the city of adventure, "Welcome to Tijuana."

Tijuana is home to the Caesar Salad

Photo by Brenda Colón Navar

Yes, people, the Caesar salad was born in Tijuana, Mexico. Created by Alex Cardini in the 1930's in his brother's very famous restaurant Caesar's. Still holding a gold medal decades later for it's decadent menu and historic presence to the city.

Set David Cameron's Academy Award film "Titanic"

photo by Kathia Borbolla

The late 1990's saw James Cameron and his crew traveling an hour off from Tijuana to the beach town of Rosarito. Baja Fox became home to various scenes of the movie "Titanic", such as the infamous sinking of the boat in the final scenes. It also became setting for other big films such as Pearl Harbor. The scenery is still intact for those who tour the water sides of Rosarito.

Valle de Guadalupe: Mexico's own Napa Valley

Photo by Abigail Quiroz

An hour drive from Tijuana takes tourists through a scenic drive through the ocean side and curvy roads in a rustic drive into the very prestigious vineyards of Valle de Guadalupe. The vineyards are home to one of the biggest wine cultivators such as L.A Cetto, Monte Xanic, Baron Balché, among many others. It hosts tours to those who visit, introducing endless gustations of wine and gourmet foods. Valle de Guadalupe offers countryside elite bed and breakfasts to enjoy the vineyards to its fullest. Because what could be better than endless tasting of wines, cheeses, and slices of bread? Mexican food. Fun fact: drinking age is 18, just saying.

Telefónica Park: Upscale food trucks

photo by Eileen Guo

These novelty food trucks have come to swoon the public for its gourmet dishes and breweries. Gastronomic options range from high-end poke tostadas to quality meats and cheeses dishes to accompany with wine. Its rustic display within a big storage room has become the ultimate hanging spot for the hipster millennials, booming Instagram stories with its new "it" place to hang out in.

Mercado Hidalgo: A farmer's market maze

Dulceria Don Max Mercado Hidalgo

This is no bs merchandise, this is legit Mexican products imported from all over the Republic. You have candies from the south, quality tequila and mezcal, and an exotic array of fruits, vegetables, and rare foods one wouldn't even know existed. On one hand, you can walk through displays of food, souvenirs, piñatas, candies, and whatnot. Then there are the witches who have their little shops with powders and herbs to cure your loveless life or beer bellies. What seems to be a square of shops proves to be one of the most intricate shop mazes, where you go through a door and end up in another hallway.

Puerto Nuevo: Pounds of fresh lobster by the seaside

Plex Online

Puerto Nuevo proudly serves its visitors one of the best lobster cuisines, accompanied by a concert of Mariachi while watching the sunset at the beach. Its most famous dish is constructed of pounds of lobster, freshly made flour tortillas, and refried beans while sipping on ice cold beer.

Feeling Bohemian? How about some poetic music, dim lights, surrounded by starving artists?

Joanne and Tony Dibonna

El Lugar del Nopal has been around for ages in Tijuana. It has been a hanging spot for those who did not yet make it into the music industry, but probably have more talent than those in it. You experience first hand, music with substance in it. It is a cocoon of artists exposing their talents in a dark yet serious air with deep conversation, good martinis, and amazing tapas. You have folklore, paintings, books, a Greek-like tree-filled garden with lights. The total combo... Fun fact, my own mom gave concerts back in the 80s in her hippie-like days of Hispanic singers like Silvio Rodriguez to music from Carpenters and Air Supply. The ageless room of talented individuals has made El Lugar del Nopal, a timeless hippie hole of bohemians.

CECUT: A cultural center offering paintings, theater, mummies, 360 Imax and the unimaginable

Photo by Isabella Moreno

CECUT, or "the ball" as locals have come to baptize it, is a world filled with culture and art. It offers theater and expositions of the latest art tendencies to timeless classics like Diego Rivera and Salvador Dalí. Within the CECUT are shops filled with books from all over the country ranging from biographies to Mexico's legendary hauntings. There is always a new event being hosted by CECUT, celebrities from Mexico come to bring artistic satire shows. Musicians bring their music to expose it to the people by playing outside on the premises. The infamous "Tijuanarte", is a festival that happens once a year, bringing with itself the rarest forms of art and food, bringing people from all over the city and San Diego to bring it to life. The Book Festival also lights up the floors of CECUT with the diverse and cultural texts it imports from around Mexico. Finally, CECUT has become a center of art and culture for its people, but not without the 3D Imax experience in "the ball", where one is submerged into the 360 film inside a dome.

Riochia 7: The jungle cabin

photo by CafeRioChia7

Offering a description of this place cannot be fully described. It is fair to rank this restaurant among the top cuisines in the city. Riochia's location adds to its mysterious allure in Tijuana, given it is next to graveyard where Juan Soldado, an alleged man was decapitated unjustly for a crime he had not committed back in the late 1930s. Riochia7's pathway is eerie yet drawing in its faithful customers every time. It serves traditional indigenous food from Chiapas, with its French pressed coffee, and maize drinks, to its mole tamale wrapped in banana leaves. The scenery within the restaurant is one that could be compared to Tarzan's treehouse, in a darker aspect. A piano accompanies guests, while the adorned walls show portraits of Mexican ancestry. The food is 10/10 and the ambiance in the room indescribable.

Need a caffeine IV? Das Cortez

Das Cortez is a relatively new coffee shop adorning the corners of upscale neighborhoods in Tijuana. Begun by a young businessman, it soon became a hit. Before you knew it, Instagram and Snapchat showed the stylish black letters on coffee sleeves. Das is not only trendy because of its black and white design, but because of the quality of its coffee. The taste of its drinks has a defined flavor that can be traced back to its origin. The difference between Das coffees and say, Starbucks, Peet's and such is that this flavor can be differentiated unlike the tendency of coffee to taste like, well, commercial coffee. One of the most beloved drinks at Das is its capuletto, a dark espresso for the strong stomachs. The iced latte, matcha, to its intricate yet delicious Lavender Mocha.

Obrasweb

Look, the list of places that are worth giving a visit to the great city of Tijuana is endless. The list above doesn't do justice to the wonders the city has to offer. However, it is important that one brings to light just how many hidden treasures this border city has to offer. It has been minimized by public scrutiny due to its proximity to the US and the polemic of politics in the past years. However, those who have dared to roam this city can attribute its magic to unforgettable spring break adventures, beautiful scenery, amazing food, and some of the best and liveliest people you will ever meet. May I say, one of the best tacos in the country as well are rooted here in Tijuana, because, well, not everyone in the country puts Guac in tacos, or put cheese in quesadillas, a heated argument all Mexicans know. All roads lead to Mexico once you decide to open your hearts to what I call the Mexican holy trinity: tacos, tequila, and tamales.

Cover Image Credit:

photo by Jav20 Wikimedia Commons

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I Am A Non-Traditional Student And GCU Odyssey Gave Me The College Experience I Was Missing

Go Lopes!

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I am not a traditional student. I have done a majority of my college education with distance learning. The one thing I have missed during that is the college experience. I have not been able to attend events or things that most traditional college students do. It was not until I joined Grand Canyon University Odyssey that I got the college experience I was missing.

I have an amazing group of writers that I work with and they deserve a shout out. I have never met them in person but I feel like I am a part of their lives and the group. I wanted to give a shout out to a few that have made an impact on me.

Katryna, my first contact, and president of GCU Odyssey. She made me feel welcome and included me when it could have been just as easy to not stress about it. She is an amazing writer and a Disney fan. On top of being president and keeping the group together, she writes some amazing articles.

Shannon, she has gone on to bigger and better things but she was my first editor at Odyssey. She heard me out when I cried about Grammarly (I really don't like it). She has her own blog and is amazing at what she does.

Amanda, my off-campus coordinator, she has prayed for me when I sent group messages about papers, given me feedback on my writing, and been just an amazing person to talk to. She stands strong in her faith and has encouraged me to do the same.

Lily, I have to say one of the most gifted people I have worked with ever. She is on point when it comes to creating photos, taking photos and coming up with article ideas. She has a future in marketing and will do amazing things. If I ran my own company I would hire her.

Bailey, can I just say, redheads, unite! When I see her posts about GCU game nights, it makes me feel like I am part of campus. She is an amazingly gifted writer, and although I have never heard her sing personally, I've heard great things about her singing passion.

I wish I could give a shout out to each one of you, but there are over 50 of you and I'm only allowed so many words. To each and every GCU Odyssey writer, on and off campus, thank you.

You guys are my college experience and I thank you so much for the experience. I didn't think it would be that tough for me as we have seen people move on from Odyssey and new life experiences. I have never met any of you but I feel like you are my people. I can send out a message and someone will always respond.

I know the time will come when each person will turn in their pen and move on from Odyssey. My life has been blessed by each one of you. For those of you moving on and upward, thank you for your contributions. Thank you to my GCU Odyssey group, you are all amazing!

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Kiss of Death: Callejon del Beso

The era of colonial Mexico brought with it one of the most tragic and chilling love stories to haunt the streets of Guanajuato.

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The story of Doña Carmen and Don Luis has pulled tourists from all over the world to visit the haunted stretch of Callejon del Beso (Alley of the Kiss), in Guanajuato, Mexico. This stretch measures 68 cm in width between two balconies, that saw the beginning and end of one of Mexico's greatest and most tragic love stories.


Doña Carmen was the daughter of a wealthy man, rumored to be violent and strict with his only daughter. Rumor has it that his strict ways and jealousy led him to raise his daughter in solitude and estrangement from the world outside. This had been the case for many years until Carmen met Don Luis, a humble and working man who captured her heart instantly. They began courting at the nearby church until word reached Carmen's father. At the news of his daughter's secret love, he threatened her to send her to a convent and went as far as arranging a marriage with an old and wealthy Spanish man, that would bring him great amounts of wealth.

At the news of this chaos, Carmen sent her lady in waiting, Doña Brigida, to inform Don Luis about the events. Desperate to keep their relationship, he began to look for solutions that would allow him to stay close to Carmen. He furiously looked, until he came up with a plan: he would pay whatever was needed to acquire the room whose balcony touched Carmen's across the stretch of the bricked alley from house to house. This brought a temporary solution for the lovers, seeing them talk for hours while holding hands, falling more in love every day. Life seemed perfect and everything had fallen into place.

One night at the sound of muffled voices, Carmen's father rushed to her room. Where he found Doña Brigida guarding the door. Her father tossed her lady in waiting aside and rushed into her room. Finding her daughter with her arm stretched across the window, he furiously rushed dagger in hand, pushing it into his daughter's chest.

A numbing silence came upon Don Luis, as Carmen's hand became limp in his. To which he placed one last kiss on her hand, bidding farewell to the woman he loved one last time.

The story earned this stretch 68 cm wide alley as the Alley of the Kiss, or better known as El Callejon del Beso. Legend has it that if a couple visits the place, they must kiss on the third step below the balconies to ensure seven years of perfect happiness. If a couple neglects to do so, seven years of doom will come upon them. It has become one of the most visited places in Mexico. And well if you are single, then you just don't apply to the criteria. However, if you are single and come across the enchanted steps and balconies, locals say you must return asap to the place and secure your kiss with your beloved to ensure your fate.

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