Category Archives: MX Culture/News

El Grito and Mexican Independence Day

Grito at the Zocalo 2013 (Photo: Animal Político)

On the night of September 15, 1910, the special envoys stood on the illuminated balconies of the National Palace and watched the fiesta of all fiestas on the Mexcian civil calendar: the grito de independencia, the “cry of independence.” One hundred years earlier (less a few hours) at dawn on Sunday, September 1810 — while Napolean’s troops were occupying Spain and King Ferdinand VII was still in captivity — Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a fifty-seven-year-old priest from an old family ofcriollos (Mexican-born Spaniards) had suddenly begun to harangue his parishoners in the small town of Dolores in the state of Guanajuato, “seducing them” (according to a chronicle of the time) to rise up in arms – even with stones, slings, sticks or spears – in order to defend their religion against the “French heretics” who had occupied Spain since 1808 and now threatened to come over to the Americas.

What Hidalgo intended – and accomplished – was to launch his flock against the hated gachupines (Spaniards born in Spain and living in Mexico) “who had been exploiting the wealth of the Mexican people with the greatest injustice for three hundred years.” Within a month, he had been joined by more than fifty thousand men, mainly Indians from the poorest levels of society. Attracted by his religious magnetism and by other, less noble motives, this multitude devastated the cities of San Miguel, Celaya, and Guanajuato and were on the point of entering Mexico City when Hidalgo ordered them to retreat.

A few months later, in July of 1811, he was tried by the Inquisition, condemned by the civil authorities, and executed. But by then the seed had begun to sprout. It took the form of a long and violent social earthquake, almost without precedent in New Spain or the Americas: the Mexican War of Independence – a truly popular movement led by four hundred armed parish priests – only to be compared in its fury with the uprising of black slaves in Santo Domingo in 1801, and the Indian rebellion of Tupac Amaru (1781) in Peru.

Not many remembered the revolutionary aspect of the War of Independence on that night of nights in 1910. As in every other year, what really mattered was going to the Zócalo (central plaza) to participate in the ritual of the grito. According to witnesses pressent at the original event, Hidalgo and then his followers had shouted “¡Mueran los gachupines! Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!” (“Death to the Spaniards! Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe!”), but after one hundred years, time, good manners, and the secularization had transformed the ritual from the call for a holy war, to a peaceful, patriotic affirmation.

At 11:00 pm on that September, 1910, President Porfirio Díaz stood on the main balcony of the National Palace, and once again rang the same bell Hidalgo had rung in Dolores. He shouted several vivas: “Long Live the Heros of the Nation!” “Long Live the Republic!” Below him, in the majestic zócalo that, from the days of the Aztecs had been the ceremonial heart of the Mexican Nation, a hundred thousand voices shouted in reply “¡VIVA!”

But why had the President delivered this grito on the night of the September 15th rather than at dawn on September 16th, when it all really began? A minor historical licence: September 15 was the Day of Saint Porfirio (a Greek saint of the fourth century) and the birthday of President Porfirio Díaz.

Abstracted from “Mexico: Biography of Power”
by Enrique Krauze,
Harper Collins, 1997. pp. 11 & 12.


San Diego El Grito Dinner

El Grito de Mexico – Mexican Independence


Chef Flor Franco

Chef Daniella de la Puenta


Chef Doña Esthela



Cali v Baja Ceviche Contest Photos

by W. Scott Koenig

SUPER LATE POST! Here are some photos from the Baja vs Cali Ceviche Challenge over Labor Day weekend at the Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa. Since I was busy with emcee duties, I turned my camera over to Ursula Koenig, along with a verbal list of what to shoot. I think she did a great job! This round, Baja took the prize and Gilberto Morales of Restaurante Nómada – cocina Itinerante‘s Kumeyaay-inspired ceviche was the people’s choice. Thanks again to all the chefs from Baja and Cali who participated, to our attendees and friends, and to Michael Poompan and Aaron Obregon for organizing such a fun and delicious event!

Danilo B. Tangalin Jr and Zach Stofferahn

Julio C. Rodriguez Rodas

Aaron Obregon

Claudia Sandoval and Scott

Rael C. Rivera

Mauricio Parra and Gilberto Morales.

Baja Wines
Zach Stofferahn

Ensenada Water Challenges Continue

The financial crisis suffered by the State Public Services Commission of Ensenada (Cespe), and the purchase of water to the desalination plant from December, will force a strong increase in water rates in 2018, warned the director of that parastatal, Carlos Loyola Peterson.

He explained that the repeal of the Water Law aggravated the financial problems of Cespe, as it contemplated a 20 percent increase in tariffs this year and the metropolization of the service to the benefit of the parastatal.

The cancellation of the increase to the rates and also of the metropolization, caused Cespe to stop receiving more than 213 million pesos that were projected would be captured with both measures, said the state official.

Loyola Peterson avoided giving a percentage of how much the tariffs should be increased, but throughout his participation in the weekly session of the Embraer Early Bird Group, he reiterated the need for users to be aware that this rate adjustment should occur and be drastic.

In his presentation he emphasized the serious economic problems of the Cespe, which maintains debts to the Issstecali, the SAT and can not even retire employees who are already entitled to their pension.

Likewise, “he said,” Cespe owes thirty million pesos to the State Public Utilities Commission of Tijuana for the electricity used to pump water from the Colorado River that reaches Ensenada by the reverse flow.

In addition, added Loyola Peterson, in April 45 million pesos were paid to the company that builds the desalination plant, as this is agreed in the contract, and although the operation was delayed for the water supply, the causes are not attributable to the company.

The economic problems have also led to non-compliance with other agreements with the National Water Commission, which has had a number of repercussions on the operation of Cespe, the official added.

He indicated that for 2018 the purchase of water to the desalination plant will be for 145 million pesos, to which will be added the expense for the electricity that is used to bring the water of the Colorado River, 30 million pesos, which will increase the expense of the parastatal between 175 and 180 million pesos.

All this added to the other debts that has the parastatal would generate for the following year a financial deficit of more than 400 million pesos.

Loyola Peterson noted that much of this situation is because for political reasons in the last nine years there were no real adjustments to water rates.

“The boat has been kicking all those years, but now it is a” botezote “, which can not be kicked without breaking the foot,” he said in a colloquial tone.

Baja v Cali Ceviche Competition

Coronado Times by Coree Cornelius

On Sunday, September 3, 2017 my husband Mike and I attended our first ever Ceviche Challenge at the Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa. Hailing from the east coast, we had never even tasted ceviche until we moved to California. The first time I ever ordered it, I remember feeling confused because I had never eaten fish with a spoon before, and I wondered why it was served in an ice cream sundae dish. Of course, once I took a bite of it, I learned quickly that it doesn’t necessarily matter how it’s served as long as the fish is fresh and its accompanying ingredients are complementary and flavorful.

With San Diego County being just minutes from the Mexican border, a friendly rivalry has long existed between the chefs of Baja, Mexico and Southern California. The Ceviche Challenge would have been fun on its own, but when it was turned into a Baja vs. Cali cross-border challenge, it became even more intense. Chefs competed not only for personal bragging rights, but for national pride.


With so many ceviches to sample, Mike and I needed a plan of attack. I procured a high top table under an umbrella while Mike went station to station to procure two of each ceviche offering. While seven chefs were in attendance, Host Chef Aaron Obregon, who works at the Marriott’s Current & Tides Restaurant and Lounge, prepared two different ceviches, including one that was vegan. While it felt like there was a lot of food on our table all at once, it gave us the opportunity to readily compare and contrast each creation that was carefully and thoughtfully prepared by the chefs.

Ceviche Challenge

Ceviche Challenge
Which ceviche chef would get our votes? Each guest was given one ticket with which to vote.

Wow! What an array of flavors, textures, savory/sweet combinations, and beautiful presentations! I can honestly say that there were no ceviches I disliked, but there were definitely ceviches that I preferred a little more than others. I was thoroughly surprised by Chef Aaron Obregon’s vegan ceviche, made from beets. I know beets are healthy, and I’ve tried incorporating them into my diet, but I’ve never fancied them until now. It was hard deciding which ceviche I liked best, but, because this was a challenge, and we were expected to vote, Mike and I were “forced” to take additional bites of each one. We narrowed down our two favorites, noticing that one was from Baja while the other was from Cali.

Chef Zach Stofferahn's ceviche
Chef Zach Stofferahn’s ceviche with edible flower

Chef Zach Stofferahn’s ceviche looked stunning with its vibrant colors, and it had a zesty zing with hints of fresh citrus. To me, Stofferahn’s ceviche tasted like summer, and since we were outside along the bay in the midst of a heat wave, it tasted extra refreshing. It was interesting how Stofferahn, who works at Fire Pit Sushi in San Diego, incorporated Asian elements into his ceviche. Mike said, “The citrus and fish mixture paired with a fried wonton wrapper was very unique, and I liked how the chef was really thinking outside the box in terms of cultural fusion. I never imagined Japanese elements would fit so well with ceviche, but it not only worked, it was delicious.”

 Baja vs. Cali Ceviche Challenge
The Baja vs. Cali Ceviche Challenge was held outdoors on the bayside lawn.
Chef Gilberto Morales' ceviche
Chef Gilberto Morales’ ceviche

Our other favorite ceviche was prepared by Chef Gilberto Morales. Morales of Baja, did the opposite of Stofferahn, highlighting the commonalities between Baja and Southern California. Ceviche Challenge guest Clyde Van Arsdall, a chef and Coronado resident, shared, “I loved that the chip had seaweed and blue corn so it tied in the ocean and the Mexican aspect of it. I loved the fact that it had acorn oil from the Kumeyaay tribe, even made with local acorns. We have Kumeyaay descendants here in San Diego as well as in Tijuana, and if you judge it on the blending of the Cali-Baja tie, I think Chef Morales did it best. The crispness and saltiness of the chips went well with the ceviche.”

Clyde Van Arsdall (left), Chef Gilberto Morales' (right)
Clyde Van Arsdall (left) cast his vote for Chef Gilberto Morales’ (right) ceviche.

Mike and I weren’t able to articulate why we liked Morales’ ceviche in the same historical terms as Van Arsdall, but we both agreed its flavor was exceptional. With sneaky bits of heat, the ingredients practically melted in our mouths. “I could eat that every day,” Mike said.

music at ceviche challenge
Live music

While guests were there to judge the ceviches, there were also fresh shucked oysters as well as smoked oysters to feast upon, further delighting everyone’s palates.

Ceviche Challenge

In addition to the ceviche and oyster offerings, guests were also given the opportunity to make artwork from fish. Yes, you read that correctly. Fish. A local organization known as Slow Food Urban San Diego was there to educate guests about sustainable fish in the San Diego area. According to their mission statement, Slow Food Urban San Diego “seeks to create dramatic and lasting change in the local food system, rediscover food traditions and cultural heritage, and educate the community about the plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food.”

The ancient Japanese art of gyotaku was taught to those guests willing to get their hands a little dirty all in the name of good fun.  Jena Perez of Slow Food Urban San Diego shared, “Before photography, this is what the Japanese would do to document their catch, including the size and the shape. Now it’s a beautiful art method. We’re not professionals, but we’re letting people try it out here today. We have three types of local fish that were caught here today: sheepshead, mackerel, and perch, and the fishermen who caught them are in attendance today.”

Ceviche Challenge gyotaku fish art
Representatives from Slow Food Urban San Diego were on hand to teach those in attendance about sustainable food, including local fish. Jena Perez (left) helped teach guests like Coronado local Georgia Ferrell (right) the art of gyotaku.

Sarah Shoffler, Vice Chair & Seafood Liaison at Slow Food Urban San Diego, said, “We promote good, clean, and fair food for all. Today we’re promoting our local bounty from our local fishermen. We try to connect people to their food sources and food producers, and connect the food producers to the community.”

Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa’s General Manager, Nusrat Mirza, was in attendance, and was so excited as he discussed how it was just as meaningful to him to have locals such as myself and my husband attend the event at the Marriott as it is for him to entertain out of town guests. Locals frequently ask Mirza what events they can look forward to attending at the Marriott, and Mirza is proud of events like the Ceviche Challenge, where guests can enjoy the stunning bay views while feasting on world-class cuisine.

Chef DJ Tangalin's ingredients
Chef DJ Tangalin’s ingredients

When asked if he had sampled all the ceviches yet, Mirza smiled and said, “I’m going to, but, as always, the guests come first. I want our guests to be the ones who decide who the winner of the Ceviche Challenge is. Our goal at these events is to attract people from Coronado. While we love our guests from all over, we want our neighbors here in Coronado to feel at home here just like those who stay here over and over again do.”

ceviche challenge
The De Quillien Family

As we waited with anticipation for the announcement of which chef would win the Ceviche Challenge, Mike and I had fun mingling with other guests. The De Quillien family, who just moved to Laguna Beach from New York, were guests at the Marriott, and wanted to go to the Ceviche Challenge as soon as they heard about it. “We love seafood, even the kids,” Mrs. De Quillien shared. When asked which ceviche was his favorite, her youngest son chose the second of Chef Aaron Obregon’s ceviches, the non-vegan one. (For those interested in trying it, it’s a regular menu item found at the Marriott’s Current & Tides.)

ceviche challenge
Of being the only female chef to compete at the Ceviche Challenge, Chef Lety McKenzie said, “It’s really cool, and it’s why I wanted to do this. I’m excited to represent myself, represent other females, and represent my restaurant, Uptown Tavern.”
ceviche challenge
Latasha Al-Jarbua

Another guest at the event, Latasha Al-Jarbua, who’s staying in San Diego on business from Florida, was thrilled to attend the Ceviche Challenge. “I wanted to try some local California foods, and when I heard about this, I knew I had to come over to Coronado! This is as authentic it gets, and the food served here today is so different than anything I’d ever find back home in Florida,” she said. Like everyone I spoke to, Latasha also had a hard time choosing her favorite.

Also in attendance at the Ceviche Challenge was local food celebrity Claudia Sandoval, winner of the sixth season of Masterchef. Claudia, who’s just in nice in person as she is on TV, said, “I came today because I think it’s super important to support not only Baja chefs, but San Diego chefs too. I think it’s important to have borderless dining experiences, and I think that more and more we will continue to see the collaboration between Baja and California. It’s such a valuable thing, and, as a chef, I think competition is always a wonderful opportunity for chefs to learn from each other and push their creativity.”

Claudia Sandoval
With the season 6 winner of Masterchef, Claudia Sandoval
ceviche challenge winner Chef Gilberto Morales
The winner, Chef Gilberto Morales

Finally it was time to announce the winner of the Ceviche Challenge, even though those of us with copious amounts of ceviche in our bellies were technically the real winners. Chef Gilberto Morales was crowned the champion, and as the crowd cheered for him, his friends dumped a huge tray of ice on him in similar fashion to athletes dumping a cooler of water on their coach. Along with Morales’ win came bragging rights for all of Baja. The Ceviche Challenge, as advertised, truly was a friendly one, and it was wonderful to see so many people, including his fellow chefs/competitors, congratulate him on his well deserved victory.

Highway 1 Cataviña to Open Monday

The director general of the SCT in Baja California Alfonso Padrés Pesqueira informed that it will be until Monday 4 of September at 4 hours, when the circulation in the transpeninsular highway resumes again.

It should be noted that from Saturday to noon, the traffic on this road was interrupted due to the increase of water and azolve in the ford area located Km 175 + 200 and 180. + 000 of Cataviña.

At the moment there is surveillance in the above mentioned points and personnel of the SCT is working with machinery where it is possible to enter, to remove the azolve that dragged the current of the stream.

Although the rains have decreased, extreme precautions are recommended if they are scheduled to circulate in the south of the Municipality of Ensenada.

For its part the Federal Police Station San Quintin.

Following the information provided above and in relation to the contingency caused by tropical storm Lidia, in km.177 + 000 of the road (1300) Lázaro Cárdenas tip – Prieta same section, in the streams mentioned above, the water level has dropped to 30 cms. Allowing machinery of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation to fill with earth and stones.

In the place remains for monitoring and any support the CRP 9316, manned by the noncommissioned Guillermo angle González and Jack Omar cold Montoya same that they have provided water to take and they have lent the satellite telephone to the users of the way so that they communicate with their family members.


The remnants of the tropical storm “Lidia” caused the closure of the Transpeninsular Highway at the height of the San Quintín community, south of the municipality of Ensenada.

In a joint statement, the Federal Police and the Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT) reported that in “the stream that is located at kilometer 177” known as Cataviña “the crossing of water continues” at a height of one meter above the folder asphaltic, which makes impossible the vehicular passage.

The current situation is 25 units without being able to cross from south to north at the height of kilometer 196. The width of the channel ranges from 60 to 70 meters. There are dozens of vehicles stranded at nearby points by streams that formed due to precipitation.

Ask not to go to Cataviñá where the rains continue

BC ENSENADA SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 (AFN) .- The delegations of Bahia de los Angeles and Punta Prieta did not present major damages for the rains left by tropical storm Lidia and families that were evacuated are already returning home, reported the head of Civil Protection, Jaime Nieto de María y Campos.

“Fortunately it did not happen to the elderly and it is of note that the population that we had to evacuate in a preventative way agreed at all times, which facilitated the work of the authority,” he said.

The municipal official said that so far the rains continue in the town of Cataviñá, information based on reports from the Ministry of Communications and Transportation; so he urged the community not to move to that area and to keep alert of the reports issued by the authorities.

He emphasized that due to rainfall along the Transpeninsular road, two roadblocks are reported in the El Mármol delegation, which is the town of Cataviñá, so that only four-wheel drive vehicles can circulate in these stretches due to the flood of the streams.


Tropical Storm Lidia


Lidia is currently about 45 miles west of La Pax, Mexico and given the interaction with land, weakening is expected over the next couple of days.

Current Storm Status

Current Storm Status

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Baja California Peninsula from San Jose de Las Palomas to Isla San Luis and also for mainland Mexico from Altata to Puerto Libertad. A tropical storm warning indicates tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.

Current Watches and Warnings

Current Watches and Warnings

A track to the northwest is expected to continue into this weekend, essentially taking the center of Lidia up along or near the west coast of the Baja California Peninsula.

Gusty winds and heavy rain will affect Los Cabos through Friday. Impacts in the rest of the southern Baja will continue into Saturday. Keep in mind that wind speeds atop and on the windward sides of hills and mountains are often up to 30-percent stronger than the near-surface winds.

Projected Path and Intensity

Projected Path and Intensity

Rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches are expected across the Mexican states of Baja California Sur into Baja California, Sinaloa and coastal areas of Sonora, with locally higher amounts up to 20 inches possible.

This heavy rainfall may result in life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides.

Flooding impacted San Jose del Cabo on Thursday, with almost 12 inches of rainfall reported.

Ensenada Paella Fiesta

You can’t imagine what it’s like to be standing in a Baja California vineyard, under shady oak trees, inhaling the tantalizing scent of 100 immense paellas being cooked over wood fires.

And being very, very hungry.

I’d planned this visit for months after hearing about the Concurso de Paellas, a contest that pits restaurateurs and amateurs against each other, and serves as the culmination of Fiestas de la Vendimia, the Guadalupe Valley’s annual harvest celebration that promotes its burgeoning wine industry.

More than 90 teams of paella makers bring their pans and ingredients to Vino de Liceaga, a winery in San Antonio de las Minas. Over the course of the morning, fussing over rice, saffron and coals, they conjure their versions of the iconic Spanish dish. There will be prizes for best tasting and best looking paellas. But by the time they are announced, you will be full and won’t really care.

Before the gates opened at noon, ticket holders queued up after parking in a field. Well-dressed women in off-shoulder dresses teetered on perilously high heels, dodging dirt clods and stones. As Mexican families streamed into the vineyard, they scouted for tables in the shade. Some brought picnic baskets with hors d’oeuvres and drinks; some spread elegant tablecloths. Adults stopped by a table near the entrance gate to pick up wine glasses for tastings.

In the center of the vineyard, 60 local wineries had set up tasting stands, offering small pours of their surprisingly good wine. (I tasted at least three rosés that were as good as any Bandol I’ve had.)

At 1:30 p.m. sharp, then at 15-minute intervals until 2:30 p.m., the paella teams presented their works of edible art to judges before serving heaping bowls to the crowd.

I’m not sure whether the wine had made people mellow, but no one seemed impatient, everyone was in high spirits, and there was plenty of food to go around.

“It’s an important event in Ensenada,” said Munira Nassif, who owns a paella restaurant in Ensenada with her husband, Raul Zazueta. “All the families gather, and we see friends we haven’t seen for a long time.”

My daughter Chloe and I were second in line for Zazueta’s paella Valenciana. His mixture of saffron rice, seafood, chicken, pork, and chistorra (a Basque chorizo) was sublime.

There was of course, a smattering of Americans in the crowd of 7,000 on Sunday. But it was mainly a Mexican event, and a fabulous counterpoint to the vile nonsense being spewed these days at a country whose people help keep our economy humming. Not that I heard anyone talking politics.

“The main thing is, it’s a big, big party,” said Karla Lee, spokeswoman for ProVino, a trade association of wineries that sponsors Vendimia.


Jennifer Kramer, 34, began visiting Baja with her parents when she was 6 months old. When she was 8, her parents, Carol and Hugh Kramer, founded Discover Baja, a San Diego-based membership club/resource center that she described as a “mini AAA for Baja.”

I had emailed her website for tips about how to approach the Concurso de Paellas and was happy to be told to show up early to score a shady table under the oak trees.

Kramer also wrote the most recent edition of the Moon travel guide “Baja.”

Over the last decade or so, she has seen the Guadalupe Valley explode with more than 150 wineries now operating in the region. She got so many requests for wine tours through Discover Baja, that she and her husband launched their own business, Baja Test Kitchen, which organizes culinary and wine tours.

For years, she has fought the stigma that has kept many Americans away from Mexico and is happy to see attitudes changing.

“Even four or five years ago, people were still trepidatious about going to Baja,” she said. “But if you haven’t been to Baja to see what a wonderful place it is, and the warm Mexican hospitality, you can let the fear of what you are hearing in the media control your decision.”


I have always had a particular fondness for Baja.

Since the early 1970s, my family has owned a beach cabin at a famous surfing spot, K-55. It’s a funky little place in a funky little enclave, populated mostly by working-class Americans and retirees who can stretch their Social Security dollars in Mexico. Medical care is close to free, and top-notch dental care is very inexpensive.

A few weeks ago, a 10-year-old relative visiting our house stepped on a stingray in shallow water and was cut by its razor-sharp, venomous tail. It’s a particularly painful wound, and requires antibiotics. The bill from the Rosarito Beach clinic was 138 pesos, about $8. At the pharmacy, antibiotics and an oral painkiller cost about $9. Funny, but I have never heard a Mexican complain about Americans taking advantage of their country’s healthcare system.

What I do often hear is American friends expressing reservations about visiting Mexico. They worry (mostly, I think) about cartel violence, which has surged and abated over the years, and other forms of lawlessness, such as real estate chicanery perpetuated by people like Donald Trump.

I’ve never experienced any danger, and I’ve been regularly crossing the border since I was 14 years old. (Nor have I ever seen Trump in Baja, though I used to see billboards for his failed project that sparked fraud lawsuits that were settled for undisclosed amounts.)

In the last decade or so, I’ve made a point of venturing beyond the beach, and the shops and restaurants of Ensenada and Rosarito, into the Guadalupe Valley, which is only 90 minutes south of the San Ysidro border crossing.

I will always have a place in my heart for the margaritas of Hussong’s in Ensenada, and I never fail to stop for a carne asada taco (cooked over an outdoor wood grill) at Yaqui’s in Rosarito, but the Guadalupe Valley’s locavore restaurants and wineries are a fantastic new scene unto themselves — well worth your time and money, fears be damned.

Tunnel of the Month at Otay


Story highlights

  • US agents found a cross-border tunnel from Mexico to San Diego Saturday
  • They arrested 30 illegal immigrants suspected of using the tunnel

(CNN)US agents have arrested 30 illegal immigrants thought to have crossed into San Diego through a cross-border smuggling tunnel from Mexico, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.

The agents discovered the tunnel after encountering several people who had apparently just been smuggled into the California city, near the Otay Mesa port of entry, early Saturday, CBP said.
CPB said the group consisted of 23 Chinese and seven Mexican nationals.
“While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, they are more commonly utilized by transnational criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics. However, as this case demonstrates, law enforcement has also identified instances where such tunnels were used to facilitate human smuggling,” it said.
The San Diego Tunnel Task Force is investigating the tunnel in coordination with law enforcement in Mexico. “Preliminarily it appears this latest tunnel may be an extension of an incomplete tunnel previously discovered and seized by Mexican authorities,” CBP said.

Baja Travel Warning

A Gringo in Mexico’s 10 Travel Warnings for Baja California

Thinking of visiting Baja California? Check out our advisories before you go.
Poco Cielo Hotel & Restaurant, La Mision, Baja California, Mexico
The view from Poco Cielo’s restaurant patio. It’s a beautiful day!
Bajadock: Violent crime, car theft and burglaries have increased significantly in northern Baja, including Tijuana Rosarito and Ensenada.  No need to document sources, as any of the major newspapers here have regular articles.  But, your personal living, travel and recreational choices are yours.  “Los Angeles is more dangerous than Ensenada” bumper sticker quotes have no bearing on your personal safety and attitude, wherever you live on the planet. Make good choices and enjoy your adventures.

However, travel is never without its detours and potentially life-changing experiences. To make sure you get the most out of your trip, here are El Gringo’s 10 travel warnings to keep in mind when visiting Baja California…

1. You will be exposed to new and interesting cultures.

From the indigenous Kumiai to migrant families from all over Mexico, visiting Baja California may expose you to new and interesting people, food and cultures.

Community Museum, Tecate, Baja California, Mexico

Basket and plate weaving from the indigenous Kumiai at the Community Museum in Tecate, Baja Calfornia.

2. You may develop a decreased tolerance for boring wines.

The Valle de Guadalupe supplies 90% of the vino consumed in Mexico. It’s also home to a burgeoning artisanal wine scene that is producing some imaginative and delicious blends.

Adobe Guadalupe, Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

Wine tasting at Adobe Guadalupe, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California.

3. Street food.

El Gringo knows that street food in Baja California can be scary – scary good! From adobada(marinated pork) tacos and carne asada tortas in Tijuana to ceviche tostadas in Ensenada, there are many delicious and inexpensive options.

Tacos Don Esteban, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

Carne asada NY strip taco at Tacos Don Esteban, Tijuana, Baja California.

4. Tijuana has a graffiti problem.

Not really, but the city does boast a lot of thoughtfully rendered street art. Check out Pasaje Rodriguez, Avenida Revolución, Playas Tijuana and the parking lot/street art gallery at restaurant Verde y Crema for just a taste.

El Norteño, Pasaje Rodriguez, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

Street art from local artists El Norteño and Glow in Pasaje Rodriguez, Tijuana, Baja California.

5. Friendliness is contagious.

Baja Californians are notoriously friendly and typically easy-going. Locals welcome visitors with warmth and are always ready to help you with recommendations and directions to their favorite restaurant or cantina.

Puerto Nuevo, Baja California, Mexico

Taking a picture of the picture guy in Puerto Nuevo, Baja California, Mexico.

6. You will develop an aversion to frozen seafood.

Baja California has an abundance of fresh seafood. Fish and shellfish from the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez are found everywhere from vendors on the beach to several of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in Baja California.

Popotla, Baja California, Mexico

The day’s catch on display in Popotla, Baja California, Mexico.

7. You may notice an Increased tendency to relax.

The sound of rolling waves through an open window at night. A glass of wine in a vineyard on a warm summer afternoon. Baja California has a reputation for relaxation. If not alert, you may experience a siesta. In a hammock.

El Poco Cielo, La Mision, Baja California, Mexico

The tranquil view from restaurant El Poco Cielo in La Mision, Baja California.

8. You may be bitten by the Foodie Bug.

Tijuana, Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe have become culinary hotspots on an international scale. You may not be able to resist taking a shot of that perfectly plated dish and posting it to Instagram before devouring it.

La Terrasse San Roman, Alximia, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico

Blue corn tostadas with mussels and beans, La Terrasse San Roman, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California.

9. You will experience spontaneous occurrences of fun.

Baja California provides its tranquillo moments, but the peninsula knows how to have fun too. FACT: There are more festivals than days of the year in Baja California – from the Rosarito Art Fair to the Baja California Culinary Fest.

Rosarito Beach Art Festival, Rosarito Beach, Baja California, Mexico

The Rosarito Beach Art Festival, Rosarito Beach, Baja California.

10. You will develop an urge to return.

El Gringo’s señora is fond of saying that a single day in Baja California feels like three. Living in Southern California makes it easy for us to visit south of the border often. And we suggest that you do the same. Just heed these 10 travel warnings and it’s sure to be a great experience.

Your Gringo in Mexico,


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