What Does a Travel Warning Look Like in Tijuana?
Travel Blog • Jim Benning • 04.20.10 | 1:19 PM ET
Something like this, snapped with my camera phone over the weekend.
I went there for lunch and took a stroll down Revolution Avenue, the main tourist thoroughfare lined with bars and curio shops. A few years ago, the street would have been hopping with gringos out for an afternoon of margarita drinking, taco downing and sombrero buying. Not these days, and especially after the latest travel warning issued earlier this month.
A number of shops and restaurants were closed. The sidewalks, at least on some blocks, were nearly empty.
I’ve been going down to Tijuana for years. The drug-related violence has been taking a toll on the tourism business for a long time. But this was, by far, the emptiest I’d ever seen Revolution Avenue. Strangest of all, I didn’t see another gringo on the street during my visit. I was less than a mile from the U.S. border but in some ways felt as though I could have been in central Mexico.
One shopkeeper told me he sees more European visitors than American these days. (Now that I think about it, I saw more German travelers than American when I visited the southern Mexican state of Chiapas several years ago.)
Revolution Avenue wasn’t entirely empty. There were people out having drinks and lunch in bars and restaurants, and some of them appeared to be having a good time. They just weren’t white Americans.
This street designed to appeal to gringos is now, it appears, catering almost exclusively to Mexicans.