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El Paraiso soda fountain
Avenida Niños Héroes, between 1st and 2nd Streets, Tijuana

You're pulling daisy petals. "She loves me, she loves me not." You can do better. You can come to El Paraiso. The place is a veritable repository of herbal and folk remedies. What you're looking for is, uh, one of the dead hummingbirds laid out in the display case. Pilar, who works here, says people have always believed these colibrí ($3 each) are powerful. "You put one of these in your pocket when you're going out to persuade somebody to love you. People believe they will help, as an amulet."

Hummingbirds go deep into this area's mythology. Aztec legend says the god of music and poetry took the form of a hummingbird. The Aztec sun and war god's name was Huitzilopochtli, "the Hummingbird of the Left," or south, meaning spirit world. Hummingbirds -- maybe because of the way they hover, hum, and seem to whisper into flowers' ears -- have always been seen as messengers of the gods. Ancient Peruvians carved an image of a hummingbird on the Nazca plain so large that it can only be recognized at about 1000 feet in the air. Still not convinced of their power? It beats pulling up daisies.

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