Culture

20 Facts About San Diego You Have To See To Believe

San Diego’s history is truly cray. It has traded hands from its original peoples and been conquered by Spain, then reinstated as Mexico, then stolen by the U.S. and really truly given its life breath by the Mexican-Americans who inhabit it today. It’s seriously Disney for Latinos: taco festivals, Goya establishments, and city laws that only our abuelitas could dream up.

Here’s why we think San Diego is a hub for Latinos:

1. Almost 30 percent of San Diego’s population is Latino.

CREDIT: @alx.sf_ / Instagram

And of that population, 86 percent of them are Mexican, making for a culturally rich, artistic and hard-working community. Plus, it got skyscrapers, ayy!

2. San Diego produces more avocados than any other place in the country.

CREDIT: @lexberlin1 / Instagram

I’m sold, nos vamos! This is the fruit and weather of my people, so it’s no wonder there are so many happy Mexicanos in San Diego.

3. Oh, and it’s only an hour away from Tijuana, Mexico.

CREDIT: @bajabordertours / Instagram

Which is a better explanation for the Latino population. You can drive down to the homeland whenever you want, and get yourself some truly bomb pastelitos and a tan.

4. Like any very Mexican city, it has murals galore.

CREDIT: @sixdioz / Instagram

They’re honestly an afterthought once you’ve spent some time walking around San Diego. Frida Kahlo is with you always on the streets of SD.

5. You must check out Barrio Logan.

CREDIT: @price_one_ / Instagram

And try to find a car made after 1989. The Mexican Revolution and it’s refugees are responsible for making this neighborhood the culturally rich, art-centric neighborhood it is today.

6. Barrio Logan is home to the public artscape, Chicano Park.

CREDIT: @artfulfuego / Instagram

Caption: “One of the biggest reasons I became an artist I think is how influential my neighborhood was.I was a product of my environment. I grew up like most people in Barrio Logan in the 90s, we didn’t have much but we didn’t worry about what we didn’t have. The things we did have had a lot more value, we had each other. We were strong as a community and as people. Growing up in a place where the biggest collection of murals was my back yard and the streets were my playground. I would always stop and look up☝and stare in wonder and ask questions about the paintings. These paintings truly tell a story about where I’m from, im also very fortunate to have the pleasure of being part of some of these murals as a child and a teenager, an experience I wont ever forget, everytime I pass by i still stop and look up ?and remember my family my friends and all the wonderful memories I had.”

7. Some of the city laws sound like they were made up by our abuelitas.

CREDIT: @museinteriorsolutions / Instagram

Hypnotism is forbidden from being taught in San Diego Public Schools. The superstition is contagious, I guess?

8. It’s illegal to swim in any of San Diego’s lakes.

CREDIT: @photomack1 / Instagram

NO SWIMMING! I mean, the government has good reason: they’re man made lakes. Ask your mother what her reason is? Soy tu madre. K, thanks.

9. Residents will be fined for leaving Christmas lights up after February 2nd.

CREDIT: @mikebmcd1 / Instagram

You know this law isn’t your abuela’s because it would be January 6th, after Three King’s Day has passed.

10. Beware, though, SD has the #1 flea problem in the country.

CREDIT: @nika.balamut / Instagram

Stock up on flea meds for your pupper, and then let him roam the streets como es Día de los Muertos cada día.

11. Another place to check out is Old Town’s State Historic Park.

CREDIT: @grilledjournies / Instagram

Here’s some SD history: San Diego was the first European settlement in California, and it’s lack of access to water actually made the population flux so low that it lost it’s pueblo status. You can now visit the protected relics of the very first citizens in the 1820s and see people in traditional colonial garb.

12. Go on Cinco de Mayo.

CREDIT: @casadereyesrestaurant / Instagram

There’s still time, amigos! They host a massive Cinco de Mayo Fiesta complete with a car show, lucha libre matches and dance groups from age 7 and beyond!

13. Or don’t, there will still be Day of the Dead people everywhere.

CREDIT: @bucket_list56 / Instagram

Caption: “Waiting for him to propose marriage… day of the dead…”

14. Just outside the Old Town Historic State Park proper, you can do some good shopping…

CREDIT: @ladyjaque_line / Instagram

And yes, I mean both ornamental and pimiento peppers. You know why you can’t make your picadillo like your mom taught you? You’ve got to get the adobo from the right market, flaca!

15. Terra Cotta Ware is the definition of good shopping.

CREDIT: @ladyjaque_line / Instagram

I don’t care who you talk to, a good strawberry pot is the key to a happy and successful life. Plus, many of these are hand painted, artisan goods. Did I mention the artist community that you’re out there to support? Treat yo’self, mija.

16. You don’t actually have to go to Tijuana to get authentic Mexican goods.

CREDIT: @healingwave / Instagram

You just have to be smart enough to tell what’s quality, because don’t think some gringas aren’t trying to rip the culture off. OK, I’m being dramatic, but it’s only because Los Angeles has me wound up. Let’s move to San Diego.

17. P.S. Cameron Diaz is from San Diego!

CREDIT: @camerondiaz / Instagram

I don’t know how Cubana Cameron got all the way to San Diego from Cuba, but we’re glad to see her jet off into stardom. She’s been promoting her new book about how to age gracefully and love every wrinkle and I’m already thanking each gray hair on my head.

18. Plus, the annual Tacotopia is the event of the year.

CREDIT: @chef_lawless / Instagram

Hundreds of incredible Mexican chefs compete for the “Best Taco in San Diego,” which is effectively the best taco in the whole country. I’m hungry.

19. THERE’S A GOYA TENT.

CREDIT: @neosolmarketing / Instagram

OK, now I’m actually crying. Pack your bags, fam, we’re going to Tacotopia 2018. Whose going to be there? Comment below!

20. San Diego has the tacos, the art, and the beaches to make it worthy of so many Latino’s homes.

CREDIT: @earthmobs / Instagram

Whether you’re looking to never swim in a lake again, or just find a home away from home, San Diego is the place for you. What other incredible places did we miss in our list? Comment below!

This Bomb Cyclone Is Plastering The West Coast And Making It Tough To Travel

Things That Matter

This Bomb Cyclone Is Plastering The West Coast And Making It Tough To Travel

You may not have planned to stay home for the holidays—but our country’s current weather situation might keep you there. Two powerful storms have been forming on both coasts, which means that traveling for Thanksgiving may be a little rough (or even impossible) this year. As the severe weather culminates in blizzard conditions and hurricane-force winds, weather forecasters are warning people to exercise caution and brace for major delays. So instead of trying to venture too far out into the snow, it may be best to cancel everything and cozy up with some Netflix and hot cocoa. Or, better yet, some Netflix and coquito.

Those on the West Coast are at the mercy of a “bomb cyclone,” a rare weather phenomenon that has already happened several times this year.

Credit: NOAA

These storms form when the air near the surface of the earth rises rapidly through the atmosphere, causing an abrupt drop in barometric pressure. As the air continues to rise, currents are generated at the base of the storm, sucking wind into its spin and causing the pressure to keep dropping. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm. Really, a bomb cyclone is just a storm that intensifies at an alarmingly high rate, and the results can be catastrophic. Last month, a storm of this nature descended on the Northeast and knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of homes.

This particular bomb cyclone is expected to plaster California—from Crescent City to Bakersfield—with several feet of snow. If that song “White Christmas” is any indication, white Christmases don’t usually happen in Beverly Hills, so this forecast is obviously unusual. Many meteorologists have also described it as unprecedented. Some experts say that that’s the true danger of bomb cyclones: they can (and often do) sneak up on us.

Bomb cyclones are kind of like cold-weather hurricanes, with strong winds, heavy precipitation, and eye-like features at their center. Definitely not the kind of weather you want to fly through.

“Fundamentally, the impacts of a bomb cyclone are not necessarily different from other strong storm systems, except that the fast strengthening is usually a signature of a very powerful storm system,” said Daniel Swain, Climate Scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

So what exactly should people in the West expect from this cyclone? The National Weather Service office in Las Vegas has a storm warning posted from 5 p.m. PT on Tuesday until 4 a.m. PT on Friday and some places in Colorado reported as much as 30 inches in just 20 hours. As the storm develops, forecasters predict that at least a foot of snow can be expected across the plains by Thursday. This means that the central part of the country will probably experience the most flight delays, as airports in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul have already experienced widespread cancellations (as of Tuesday morning, nearly 500 flights out of Denver International Airport have been canceled).

As for the East Coast? There is no “bomb cyclone” predicted. Instead, wet and windy weather is in the forecast, paired with heavy snow. It doesn’t take long to realize that plunging temperatures and abundant showers are a recipe for ice, ice, baby – but so far, there are no severe weather warnings encouraging people to prepare for icy conditions. In fact, it’s expected that rain will clear the coast by noon on Thanksgiving, though wind gusts might grow to more than 30 or 40 mph in some places. All the more reason to sip a warm beverage and cuddle up on the couch.

If you’re bummed about the weather ruining your holiday plans, look at it this way: you’re bearing witness to some serious meteorological history.

Well, maybe—that’s yet to be confirmed. Still, isn’t it cool that California may experience its lowest-ever air pressure reading? No? What about the fact that temperatures throughout the state will be 15 degrees lower than the average? Not doing it for ya? Okay. Perhaps the real silver lining to all this climate chaos is that it’s forcing some of us to stay put and relax. The holidays can be a stressful time, and sometimes we just need a powerful winter tempest to make us kick back and chill. Regardless of what your plans are, stay safe out there!

READ: Get Ready For Some Much Needed Couch Time: 10 Latinx Movies To Binge-Watch This Thanksgiving Weekend

A Hospital In Mexico Was Keeping A Couple From Leaving Until They Paid Their Bill In Full And Tyler Perry Helped Them Out

Entertainment

A Hospital In Mexico Was Keeping A Couple From Leaving Until They Paid Their Bill In Full And Tyler Perry Helped Them Out

Tori Austin / Facebook

Imagine: you and your boo are on your dream vacation, kicking back and sipping chelas on a Mexican cruise. Suddenly, one of you gets sick—like, really sick, and you’re rushed to a hospital in Mexico in critical condition. It sounds like a nightmare, right? Well, this happened to an American couple about a week ago. When they were faced with a $14,000 medical bill, film mogul Tyler Perry took immediate action to help them out.

Tori Austin’s fiancé, Stephen Johnson, suffered a sudden medical emergency while on a Carnival Dream cruise ship. He was diagnosed on board with diabetes, pancreatitis, and a kidney infection that required urgent dialysis. He was rushed to Centro Médico Americano, a private Mexican hospital in the city of Progreso.

A health administrator told NBC News that Johnson was “near death” when he finally made it to the medical center on November 14.

Credit: Unsplash

“He suffered kidney failure and is currently undergoing dialysis,” the administrator said. Johnson received three days of intensive care, which included an endoscopy and dialysis. After everything was said and done, the hospital bill totaled $14,000 and the hospital, Centro Médico Americano, prevented the couple from leaving until the bill was paid in full. Austin even claimed that hospital staffers locked the windows to ensure that they could not leave, and threatened to call the police if the couple tried to take off.

Whether or not those steps were actually taken by hospital staff, preventing patients from leaving before paying their bills in full is not unusual for private hospitals in Mexico. Many of these hospitals require patients, especially international patients, to pay their fees upfront, because they don’t have an effective way of billing patients after they have been discharged. If they don’t have travel insurance, Centro Médico Americano does try to help patients find a way to pay through credit cards or money transfers, but what if you just don’t have the means to cover the cost?

Well, you hope that Tyler Perry gets word of your situation.

After seeing a news report on the couple’s dilemma, Tyler Perry contacted Austin and sent a payment to cover the bill, which by that time amounted to more than $16,000.

Credit: tylerperry / Instagram

Perry also offered to pay the couple’s travel expenses back to Atlanta once they were permitted to leave the hospital. According to NBC News, Centro Médico Americano said on Saturday that they had not yet received Perry’s payment. However, the hospital did note that international transfers typically take several days to process, and conceded that the couple would be free to go on Monday if Johnson was healthy enough to travel. In the meantime, Austin expressed her gratitude for Perry’s support.

“Today I am thankful for and will always be thankful for Tyler Perry,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. She also shared positive feelings about Carnival Dream, affirming that the company “has been great” and that she will continue to “only cruise with them.” Additionally, in spite of this chaotic experience, Austin wrote that she would definitely continue to travel to Mexico in the future.

“What is going on with Stephen has nothing to do with the entire country, it has to do with this particular hospital,” she wrote. “We were unaware that this particular hospital and administration staff have been known to take American passports and hold them for payment.”

“I love MEXICO and the Culture,” she added. “I’ll be back again but will leave on my own terms. We have no ill feelings for the country or the people, just this hospital.”

Credit: Tori Austin / Facebook

The website of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico informs U.S. citizens that unexpected hospitalizations in Mexico can be “a difficult experience.” They recommend that if a traveler ends up in a Mexican hospital, they should “obtain the estimated cost of proposed treatments, request an itemized bill every day, and, if uncomfortable with costs, change hospitals if medically possible.” The Embassy states that hospital quality in Mexico varies, and there are different types of hospitals with a range of protocols.  

The Embassy also confirms that the couple’s experience is not unique, warning that “while most U.S. citizens have acceptable hospitalization experiences in Mexico, some have reported hospitals failing to provide an itemized list of charges, withholding U.S. passports, and delaying medical evacuations.” The Embassy reiterates that “the U.S. government does not pay for medical care overseas,” but some private insurance companies do. So, if you have insurance, make sure to check with your insurance company before leaving the country, to know what services are covered in case of an emergency.

If you don’t have insurance, don’t let that hold you back from setting out to see the world — just do your best to stay safe, and cross your fingers that a good Samaritan steps in if something unexpected happens.

READ: Atlanta Will Be The Site Of The First Latino-Owned And Operated Production Studio