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El Lugar del Nopal
Callejon 5 de Mayo, Tijuana

On Thursday nights after 9, Tijuana's poets and artists mosey over to El Lugar del Nopal, a cafŽ at the start of Cinco de Mayo Street. El Gume, a raspy-voiced folk singer, belts out ditties about politics and love. Waiters and waitresses scurry about with bottles of dry Spanish wine and plates of salty white cheese. People stand and applaud when well-known poets enter the crowded room. Everyone gossips. If you don't speak Spanish, folks will nonetheless be pleased that you made your way to El Lugar del Nopal. If you can stay up till 2 or 3 a.m., and if you have a sincere interest in Mexican culture, you might snag an invitation to even more late-late-night revelry.

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