Tijuana citizens were ecstatic on June 14 when the Mexican national team, “El Tri,” defeated European soccer powerhouse France 2 to 0 in the World Cup. The surprising victory reverberated with the historical conquest of Mexico over the French army over 150 years ago (a date celebrated today as Cinco de Mayo).
During the match, the Mexican noisemaker known as a matraca chattered inside bars, bistros, and on the streets. This reporter saw the amazing feat at El Nuevo Perrico bar, a saloon on the newly renovated Calle Sexta, known for its international ambience; English, Spanish, French, and German speakers were in the crowd.
After the first goal was scored by Javier “Chicharito” (Little Green Pea) Hernández, television screens went black as electricity in the city shut down (too many televisions in operation?). Tijuanenses poured into the streets and blasted radios tuned to the game from parked cars. The entire city center was kept aware of Mexico’s tenuous status: during the blackout period, another goal was scored by Mexico, and once again the city erupted in a roar. Fifteen minutes later, power was restored, and people raced back into the bars to see the game’s end.
As the clock wound down and it became evident that victory was assured, the streets were filled with aficionados screaming “¡Viva Mexico!”