Culture

These Mexican Border Towns Are Quickly Becoming The Most Booked Weekend Getaways For Good Reasons

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One of the biggest harms that a certain politician by the initials of DT has done to Mexico-US cultural relations is to paint an apocalyptic vision of Mexico. However, things are creative, colorful and plain amazing as you cross the border, and the state of Baja California, just below San Diego, offers sights, sounds, smells and flavors that are to be experienced to be believed. In particular, the city of Tijuana is no longer seen as the party town for gringos borrachos, and is home to a cultural scene. Just head further down and you will find beach settings and a valley que no tiene nada que pedirle a Napa. 

The sites of Tijuana, Rosarito Beach and the wine region of Valle de Guadalupe are within driving distance of each other and showcase the wonderful diversity of a region. The area has been a bridge for millions of migrants and a home for proud and creative communities for centuries. No offense, but life in los esteits can sometimes be a little, mmm, predictable (shall we say aburrida?). In particular, la ruta del vino or wine route that leads to the pristine vineyards of Baja is a trip that offers sight that border paradise. Whether you want to take a trip with your friends or are planning a good old-fashioned viaje familiar, Northern Baja California is a great option to visit. 

Let your eyes wander because Tijuana is a visual and artistic feast.

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When it comes to street art and graffiti, Tijuana is one of the epicenters of the world. The mix of Mexican and urban American influences produces vibrant and often politically charged imagery that is perfect to capture on the Gram. If you are an artist in search for inspo, Tijuana is your spot.

Urban public art is plentiful and mesmerizing.

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Tijuana has long been a site of political and artistic activism, and the municipality often allows artists to decorate public spaces, as witnessed here. There is always a surprise around the corner.

Photograph every corner and you can capture the true colors of Mexico.

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Perhaps because it is right on the border, Tijuana folks are hyper-Mexican. Yes, they are proud of their cultural heritage and popular culture is expressed on the streets, in how houses are decorated, in kitschy but amazing public displays of creativity.

Head down to Rosarito Beach to get some more folklore.

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Rosarito is the perfect combination of a tourist site and traditional town. It has not let tourism gentrify it completely, and it is still possible to capture amazing shots like this one.

The sunsets at Rosarito Beach are pictures of paradise.

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There is nothing more humbling that witnessing a breathtaking sunset on the beach. The immensity of the ocean and the sky really gets you to reflect upon your life. If you have a media naranja, nothing beats kissing with this honey-infused backdrop.

Further down in Baja California, there are vineyards as far as the eye can see.

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Even if you are not into the vino, witnessing the care that growers take in producing the perfect grape is amazing. Just seeing how the vineyards in Valle de Guadalupe form perfect rows is humbling in itself.

Let your tastebuds tingle with the taste of real tacos south of the border.

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Damn, look at this tacos. Fresh cilantro, thick fried corn tortillas and spicy birria. Nothing beats Tijuana tacos, and taqueros in the city take an extra effort in showing that what you can get in the United States is just not that good.

Rosarito means lobster in culinary terms, langosta con frijoles.

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Rosarito is famous for the quality of its seafood, particularly of lobster with black beans, pico de gallo and freshly made corn tortillas, infladitas y calientitas. Life just doesn’t get any better than that.

Get your gourmet on in Valle de Guadalupe.

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Like in other wine regions in the world, Valle de Guadalupe has developed an artisanal food industry that benefits from local products and develops products that can be paired with the many wines from the region. El Cielo, for example, produces Mexican-influenced chutneys with ingredients such as chipotle. Stack up for those canastas de regalo come Christmas time.

Let your skin feel the warmth en Tijuana donde el sol es más sabroso.

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We can’t deny that the city has faced many challenges throughout the years, and that being one of the busiest border cities in the world has also brought crime and corruption. Tijuanenses, however, are a strong and proud people and the city’s famous sunsets, with the border barrier as the background, are engrained in everyone’s memories. Watch it, feel the sun on your skin and capture it for your Instagram.

Explore by Rosarito by horse and turn your trip into an experience.

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You can hire a horseback ride on the beach. Just look at these amazonas having fun. Girl power!

There is also the option of an ATV.

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It might not be as peaceful, but adrenaline will run when you get on an All Terrain Vehicle and feel the sea breeze caress your body. 

Or a camel?

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Yes, that’s right. You can also hire a camel ride. To be honest, this is the first camel we see wearing a sarape.

Valle de Guadalupe is one place everyone should experience.

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Places like Vinos Lechuza offer banquets al fresco that will fill your senses with wine, food, laughter, and sun.

Let your nose take it all of the smells Tijuana and its cocktails have to offer.

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Take in the amber notes of a whiskey sour, or the bitterness of a mezcal pizco. Tijuana has been taken over by hipster culture and that means cocktails! The city has some of the best barmen in the world. Your nose and your tastebuds will have a fiesta. Places like Moustache Bar and Adelita Bar are a must. Tijuana is no longer just defined by cantina culture but also by top-notch fine drinking holes.

A BBQ in Mexican wine country? Yes, please!

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Deckmans is a fantastic BBQ restaurant where you can have carnita asada and taste the delicious wines from the region. Let the smell of steak and caramelized vegetables fill your soul. Se nos hace agua la boca. A perfect spot for a tame and gentlemanish bachelor dinner party.

Let the border sounds fill your ears and your soul with global culture, music included.

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Places like the Centro Cultural Tijuana offer concerts, and the city’s music scene has generated legends like Kinky, the electronic band that has won worldwide fame. DJs of word stature often play in venues like Rouge Live Music Venue.

Can you hear that? No? Well, you are listening to the silence.

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Valle de Guadalupe features some of the most creative and dreamy accommodations in the world, such as this bubble hotel, Campera. Imagine waking in the middle of the night to meet the stars. Just enjoy the silence, or if this is a romantic getaway… well, you can make some noise. Prices are not that steep, with rooms available for $180 USD a night. Caro pero costeable.

READ: Mexico City Paints Its LGBTQ Pride Across A Pedestrian Crossing And The People Are Here For It

The World Is Not Ready For This Man’s Talent And Looks Bu Thank You Anyway

Entertainment

The World Is Not Ready For This Man’s Talent And Looks Bu Thank You Anyway

It has been more than a decade since Mexican actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna established themselves as power players in the Hollywood game. Other Mexican actors like Kuno Becker have also broken into the United States mainstream, but they are few and far apart. The new kid on the block is actor Luis Gerardo Mendez, an actor that has done it all in a few years: he has made indie films, a highly successful Netflix show, one of the most successful Mexican movies of all time and now films with Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler and the new Charlie’s Angels team of kickass queens. 

He was born in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico.

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Contrary to what some might believe, not every Mexican actor comes from the capital Mexico City! Luis Gerardo was born in the city of Aguascalientes on March 8, 1982. 

Remember how Jude Law seemed to be on every single movie released in the early 2000s? Well, that is what the very prolific Luis Gerardo is for the Mexican film industry today.

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From the beginning of his career, he has been willing to work with anyone who wants to tell a story. He has collaborated with first-time directors such as Ivan Morales, whose film Sincronia is available on YouTube (it is a delightful film about love and loss). He has taken on peculiar projects such as Camino a Marte, where he plays an alien trapped in a human body. He doesn’t shy away from challenges, ever. 

BTW, you just can’t miss his Netflix film Time Share (Tiempo compartido).

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Time Share (2018) is a dark comedy that explores the sect-like practices of the tourism industry and how it lures clients to get lifelong commitments to spend holidays in particular all-inclusive resorts. Filmed in Acapulco, it starts as a comedy of errors and soon becomes a much darker film: a true indictment of capitalism and its deathly methods for controlling people through impossible dreams and promises of achieving a higher social status.

Fame and fortune no se la ha subido a la cabeza and he remains humble and con los pies bien puestos sobre la Tierra.

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We love his Instagram account, where you can follow his daily life (how cool is this shot from a nightclub toilet in grungy Berlin?), from his trips to life behind the sets of his movies and TV shows. 

He is a true supporter of Mexican cinema.

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Luis Gerardo had one of the leading roles in the super successful film Nosotros los Nobles (The Noble Family), which tells the story of an upper-class family that suddenly sees its fortune evaporate. Luis Gerardo often collaborates with new and emerging directors and often takes an active role in the production. He believes in and loves the industry which saw him become one of the most recognizable of Latino filmmaking. 

We will always remember his character in Club de Cuervos, Salvador Iglesias Jr, Chava pa los cuates.

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Some actors are always linked to certain characters, and that is the case of Luis Gerardo, who played the extravagant and frankly kinda dumb Chava Iglesias in the Netflix show Club de Cuervos, which explored the world of Mexican professional soccer. Mendez revealed himself as a comedic genius, navigating the thin line that separates slapstick and high-quality comedy. He gave an apparently shallow character multiple layers of both dramatic and comedic depth. 

We mean, no one has worn a vest better.

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Chava Iglesias was so ridiculously full of himself that it was uncomfortably fun to watch! He left us plenty of memorable moments, such as successfully hiring the best soccer player in the world out of pure necedad!

He is an animal lover.

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The actor collaborates with PETA Latino, particularly in a campaign to treat domestic pets as they deserve: with care and respect. He particularly cares about dogs that are left alone in rooftops all day, a common practice in Mexico. 

He has his own collectible figurine!

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Once you have a Funko POP! toy made a tu imagen y semejanza you know you have made it! 

You can’t miss Bayoneta either (it’s on Netflix).

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The outstanding boxing drama Bayoneta is also available on Netflix. It tells the sad story of a has-been fighter from Tijuana that makes a living in Finland by training young boxers. He gives a deep, challenging performance that was physically tough.  

His movie Murder Mystery has been one of the most watched Netflix originals.

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Yes, of course, it is mainly because of his costars Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, but Mendez’ film was watched by more than 30 million people in the first three days after its release. That is much more than what many theatrical releases get. Streaming services are truly revolutionizing how movies are produced, distributed and watched, and are giving actors like Mendez a platform in which they can explore different genres. Netflix is very fond of Luis Gerardo, and we are sure we will see more of him in the years to come. 

Next up, a crazy scientist in the girl-power action film Charlie’s Angels.

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He will play a minor role, but he will give comedic relief to the highly anticipated remake directed by Elizabeth Banks. We just can’t wait to see him in this! 

His next project deals with US-Mexico relationships: Half Brother sounds truly amazing.

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In an exclusive interview for Mitú, the film’s producer and writer, Eduardo Cisneros (one of the leading Latino voices in the industry), said about the actor: “When Jason Shuman and I started fleshing out this story, I immediately thought of Luis Gerardo, because there aren’t many people out there with all the qualities the role required. First of all, he’s a gifted actor, capable of giving a layered dramatic performance, but at the same time, he’s immensely adroit at comedy. We needed a redoubtable leading performer, the kind people come to expect from a Focus movie, but also someone who had a great appeal within the Mexican and Latinx moviegoers. We approached him at the early stages of the project, and little did we know he had a personal, almost autobiographical, connection to the story. So it was almost kismet. He came on board not only as a star but as an executive producer, so we are lucky to have his input and artistry in this movie”. 

Cisneros explains what this movie is all about: “Luis Gerardo Méndez stars as Renato, a successful Mexican private aviation entrepreneur based in San Miguel De Allende, who is shocked to discover he has an American half-brother he never knew about, the free-spirited Asher, played by Connor Del Rio. The two very different half-brothers are forced on a road journey together masterminded by their ailing father, tracing the path their father took as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico to the US.  The central idea of the movie is the need for learning how to see things from your neighbor’s perspective, which is kind of an allegory for what we’re going today in our global society.”

READ: 8 Times Netflix’s ‘Club De Cuervos’ Reminded Us How Intense Sibling Rivalry Is

Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

Entertainment

Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has brought sweeping changes to the country since he took office last year. Whether it’s crime reform, government overhaul or even cutting his own salary. But according to the Washington Post, Lopez Obrador has also slashed the budget of the Mexican Olympic Committee. The cuts are a huge blow to the day-to-day operations of the sports organization which will now no longer be able to offer food, lodging, and medical services at its central sports training complex.

The budget cut is just the latest to come from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador administration which has already cut back on other services such as government jobs, researchers and archaeologists.

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The call for more budget cuts comes as a surprise to some as Lopez-Obrador, a self-described leftist, has consciously spent less on government-funded efforts. In just the first seven months on the job, the administration has pushed efforts to reduce spending, which even includes Lopez-Obrador’s own salary and plans to sell off the presidential plane.

The Mexican Olympic Committee says it doesn’t have the $4.7 million needed to operate the Olympic sports center in Mexico City with full resources due to these cuts. The sports complex has various track and pool facilities that include a gymnasium and velodrome. Just this year alone, government funding for sports is about 25 percent below last year’s spending.  

Critics of these budget cuts say the government is spending the same amount of money but instead reallocating it to different areas and needs. This has resulted in fears that the cuts will result in not having enough money to perform and essential tasks and duties. 

President Lopez Obrador has described his new financial plan as “republican austerity.” This is causing some concerns in Mexico. 

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Besides just athletics, there is increasing stress for other civic services. Researchers and archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History told the Washington Post that almost 200 employees have been cut since the year began. These latest announced cuts have renewed fears of more layoffs coming in the near future. 

“We have gone from republican austerity to Franciscan poverty,” Joel Santos, head of the researchers’ union at the institute told the Washington Post. Many of these employees are scarcely paid and are on temporary contracts, which already places a big burden on their pay and livelihood. 

Throughout the government spectrum, there has been visible cuts and elimination of positions like consultancy and management positions. All while thousands of more public servants have resigned or quit altogether. 

Some of these funds being cut are essential to certain projects being worked on throughout Mexico. 

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While Mexico’s budget, $5.8 trillion pesos ($304 billion), may look similar to last year, it just means that Lopez Obrador is putting it to use in different areas. These decisions are well in his power and are following his budget plan that he crafted back in December. 

“There is money,” Valerie Moy, an economist told the Washington Post. “It’s just being redirected to the president’s social and infrastructure projects, some of which appear to be almost whims that lack sound research to determine their viability or potential negative impacts.”

There are some concerns that these cuts are being made without proper consideration. Finance Minister Carlos Urzua left his position just last week due to what he says is the public policy decisions the administration is doing “without sufficient sustenance.”

“It’s what the president decides, what the president wants — and that’s what’s done,” Moy said.

There is no say when or what will be cut next but it may have a huge effect on things bigger than sports. 

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Back in May, Mexico City was hit with severe smog that was caused by nearby wildfires. Experts say that the looming air pollution could have been prevented if it wasn’t for the budget cuts to environmental services that deal with this type of detection.

“All of these activities could be seriously compromised if the austerity measures are applied indiscriminately,” Mexico’s Science and Technology Consultative Forum said in a statement this year. “If that happens, it would be an irredeemable setback in Mexico’s effort to achieve robust national development, and would make us even more dependent on what occurs beyond our borders.”

READ: The Peso Plummets After Mexico’s Finance Minister Quits And Calls Out Corruption In AMLO’s Government

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