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Stories by Matthew Suárez

Latest Panca mural in Tijuana defaced

Neighbor in Colonial Federal takes action

"There's a generational gap," explains David Peña, who moved south of the border about a year ago with his brother after graduating with a B.A. in art from CalState Long Beach. David teamed up with ...

Greasy indie burgers and fries inside Colectivo 9

It’s as if the meat is sandwiched between two clouds

The Gastrocourt Colectivo 9 opened on September of last year and has grown in popularity and volume. What was once an empty hallway leading to the semi-hidden food court is now a bustling row of ...

Humo’s hot dogs

Revisiting the undeniable paradise for carnivores

Humo Avenida Ocampo between Boulevard Agua Caliente and Calle 11, Tijuana In his vegetarian days, Reader reviewer Chad Deal visited the Telefónica Gastro Park, didn’t try any meat, and still called the location an undeniable ...

Businessmen, public defender, and college professor humiliate a homeless man

Las Ladies y Gentlemen of Ensenada

The image of a businessman holding a cord tied around a homeless man's neck outside a bar in Ensenada's tourist district while his friends laugh was published on Wednesday, July 22. A clear abuse of ...

Chun kun!

Popular Tijuana spring roll vendor stops for an interview

“Chun kun!... Chun kun!” A Chinese woman yells as she pushes a stroller that holds a greasy cardboard box through the streets of downtown Tijuana. She stops as soon as someone shows interest and says ...

Argentinean empanadas, straight from Tucumán

When you’re short on cash and tired of tacos

Since my brother married a Tijuana local, most of the recommendations I receive on where to eat in Tijuana have come from the two of them. When I was short on cash and tired of ...

Pet-, anarchist-, and women-friendly

Tijuana publication fair hits all the notes of DIY

As the 33rd annual book fair in Tijuana was coming to an end, a completely different book fair was starting up. The first fair of independent publications hosted by Raices Infoshop, Food Not Bombs, Publicaciones ...

Borderland Noise

Keeping Tijuana weird

The second installment of Borderland Noisefest landed at La Caja Fuerte, a newer venue in the art and culture passageway of Pasaje Rodriguez, Tijuana. Featuring bands and projects from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Tijuana, ...

Mexicali's Hotel of the Deported Migrant closes

Baja governor blamed for lack of financial support

Since January of 2010, El Hotel del Migrante Deportado (Hotel of the Deported Migrant) in downtown Mexicali gave free shelter, food, access to showers, clean clothes, and general support to over 300,000 deported people and ...

La Brownie Girl partners with Munchin Donuts

From bike delivery to her own shop

Maria Fernanda (MaFer) Treviño, also known as La Brownie Girl, biked around Tijuana delivering brownies to customers and coffee shops that sponsored her products. Her popularity grew as she made appearances at music festivals and ...

Welcome to Mexico. $22.50, please

Indications of reinstatement of tourist visa fee

Entering Tijuana through the San Ysidro pedestrian border crossing is nothing like going to the United States. Instead of waiting in line for hours on a crooked sidewalk while beggars and salesmen of all types ...

Tijuana’s Bresca

“We have to ship the BBQ sauce for the brisket from Texas”

The corner of 6th and Constitución is near the epicenter of Tijuana’s active nightlife. Eight years ago this corner hosted La Chupiteria, an after-hours bar frequented by foreigners and extreme partiers. The bar got shut ...

Tijuana doesn’t want another 2008

Recent arrests could help quell recent surge in violence

On May 1, at around 1 a.m., a friend of mine, Danger Dave, got stabbed four times in the torso on Calle Sexta. He was rushed in an ambulance to Tijuana’s Hospital General almost an ...

Flavors that had never appeared in a folded tortilla

Tacos El Rey Calle Segunda (2nd) and Avenida 5 de Mayo, Centro, Tijuana Like many taco stands in Tijuana, Tacos El Rey has no menu anywhere. Except this is not a taco stand but a ...

La Gringa Jodida

My mother was born Jody Ann Teschner in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on July 9, 1957, and raised in the suburbs. I don’t know much about my grandparents, except that my grandfather fought as a lieutenant colonel ...

Get the TJ street dog that includes bacon

Memes and music follow closure of Chinese restaurant

The news of dog meat in a Chinese restaurant spread like wildfire. I overheard people in every corner of Tijuana talking about it — while eating street tacos or just walking around. Social media was ...

Adventurous eats near the puente negro?

Not-frog tacos and a day's worth of tostadas by Sinaloans for las paisas

A food truck near the Iris Avenue trolley station has caught my attention every time I go by. It has a painting of the same food truck crossing a black bridge and reads “Mariscos El ...

Where have all the squatters gone?

Tijuana government eliminates river channel encampments

I nicknamed the pedestrian bridge, the one near the vehicle bridge as soon as you come into Tijuana through San Ysidro (Puente el Chaparral) "The Bridge of Doom." Because if you found yourself underneath it, ...

You don't get the tacos, you get the meal

Even the Border Patrol knows the legend of Don Pepe

I have resisted the smell of Pollos Don Pepe for about 6 months. I work in the small soccer store next door from the taco shop in the strip mall next to Northgate Market in ...

Borderlanding

Tijuana’s nightlife is becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Baja and San Diego have a long history of partying together. These days, the atmosphere is less belligerence and more participants. Promoters from both sides work together to throw underground shows at new and inventive ...

Flat screen nation

Tijuana landmark gets monumentally sized TV set

El Arco Monumental de Tijuana is a similar structure to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, but a quarter of its size and with a hanging clock. Its official name is “El Arco del Milenio” ...

A virtually wall-less border crossing

San Ysidro's Sentri lane changes at least one life

“I am immortal. I got my Sentri card,” posted Erick Mark Cavadas on his Facebook feed in early December. “Don't get too excited, the sentri lane has been sucking,” replied a girl that I did ...

Down south in Estero La Bocana, Baja Sur

Wildlife and fresh seafood just a 12-hour road trip away in Baja.

Dolphins play near the shore at sunrise, whiplashing their tails to form a sand circle to entrap their breakfast. The panicked fish jump up directly into the dolphins' mouths – a nature event I'd only ...

"I don't think he understood my concept."

The naked lady house

Tijuana III Millennium or “La Mona” is an iconic giant sculpture of a naked woman that doubles as a house. The sculpture is five stories tall and weighs over 18 tons. La Mona is located ...

Meanwhile, in San Ysidro's pedestrian line...

Small improvements for people who walk with the same enthusiasm as cattle.

The opening of more car lanes at the end of September greatly improved the San Ysidro border-crossing experience…for those who drive. My coworker who used to cross on foot now drives to work with a ...

Across the U.S.A. in 80 days, on foot

Jamie Ramsay begins stage 2 of his run through the Americas

My college roommate from Minnesota recently paid me a visit in San Diego/Tijuana. It was his first time in California, so it was my responsibility to show off the amazing beer we have. My friend ...

Deported veterans help deported moms

"The Bunker" moves from downtown Tijuana to Otay

“We are having a meeting this Wednesday [October 1] with all the deported moms,” I am told by Yolanda Varona, the director of DREAMers Moms USA/Tijuana. “You are welcome to come. Hector says to bring ...

Hot girls love to cut

Fried chicken and needles — a morning border commute through Zona Norte

It's been a month since I got a part-time retail job at Sport Zone on Coronado Avenue in Chula Vista. The job is five miles away from my apartment, but sometimes it takes me up ...

What does Tijuana want?

Resident seeks answer for affection-deprived city

The pedestrian border-wait line at the San Ysidro crossing is like the longest line in an amusement park…only you reach the end and find out that there is no roller-coaster. There is usually no one ...

Less beefy, more scrawny

No endorsement for young Tijuana baseball players

At the edge of Zona Norte, the downtown Tijuana neighborhood that abuts the border, there is a small sports park, Unidad Deportiva Benito Juárez. Families play basketball, kids enjoy an above-ground pool, boxers train inside ...

Deported U.S. military veterans activate in Tijuana

"I'll serve a year in Iraq if I have to. I would do whatever it takes to go home.”

The Bunker of the Deported Veterans of America is located on 3rd street, near Parque Teniente Guerrero, on top of Baja Gym. Dark steps behind an iron door next to the gym's entrance lead you ...

Carnival of danger

Our border reporter braves a new Tijuana punk fest

“Someone will die,” posted Carlos Arreguin on his Facebook page minutes before the Carnavalito Peligroso I music festival began at Plaza Fiesta. The singer of the power-violence band Calafia Puta was one of the organizers ...

Mapping Tijuana

Dancing Intervention from NYC parks to Tijuana parks

A saxophone and an accordion play in unison, one female dancer and two male dancers freeze in a different position while the rest of Parque Teniente continues with its regular busy life. A couple of ...

Tijuana street art disrespected

Pepe Nacho mural and other artworks have been defaced

Tijuana's façade has never been a pretty one; there are not many green spaces, billboards are placed everywhere and with no clear building regulations. City folk have built whatever they want, wherever they want. In ...

Sunday in the park

Jardin de Arte celebrates Tijuana's 125th anniversary

Renovations are taking place at Parque Teniente Guererro, Tijuana's downtown park. The plaza with the gazebo in the middle and several grassy sections has been closed to public. A larger area on the corner of ...

Tijuana puppy rescue


Strays down south still have it rough

There are countless stray cats and dogs in Tijuana, and animal control is done mostly by accidental roadkill or by people who kill animals for pleasure. Pet-ownership culture is completely different in a country that ...

Ehhhhh…PUTO!

Tijuanense fútbol fans celebrate — one falls from Cuauhtémoc statue


“It's like something out of a TV commercial. Watching you guys celebrate the goals, hugging each other, jumping in front of the TV, and drinking Tecates. I don't really get you sports people, but I ...

Broken record, broken nose

Living the World Cup in North Park as US captain makes history

I was people-watching on the corner of 30th and University, wondering which would be the best bar to watch the upcoming World Cup game, United States versus Ghana. An older couple walked by, the white ...

World Cup, North Park-style

Live the World Cup as the rest of the world does

Of the 32 countries participating in the World Cup, only the United States carries on like nothing is happening. Despite hosting the Cup in 1994 and having respectable finishes in 2006 and 2010, most of ...

Calle Segunda, I hardly know ya

Tijuana road replacement necessary…but no bike lanes?

At 5 p.m., a homeless man in a wheelchair tries to cross Second Street but has trouble with the rubble; a transsexual hooker walks by wearing a short dress, stumbling around on her high heels. ...

They go all night at this park

“Oh, man! You moved to a place next to Parque Teniente? That’s where the male and transsexual prostitutes hang out, robberies happen, and deported homeless people sleep,” a TJ friend informs me. For a whole ...

Happy Vegan meal, kitten included

Animal-rights activists start food-delivery service in Tijuana

In my search to adopt a kitten in Tijuana, a friend of mine directed me to Claudia Lomelí, an animal-rights activist who spends some of her time rescuing street animals and finding them homes. The ...

Thirty samplers later, I was ready to pass out

Baja Beer Fest

I woke up in a mansion in Ensenada on Sunday morning not sure how I got there. My new next door neighbor, Freddy, had invited me to the Baja Beer Fest and told me not ...

Tijuana culture through screen printing

Mexican Fashion: Puro Tijuas

Mexican-American but Tijuana born and raised, Arturo Vázquez (29 years old) has been in the business of screen-printing since 2007. His store is one of the first to open in Pasaje Rodriguez (off Second Street, ...

Brownie Girl's bicycle recovered after being stolen

An act of kindness in Tijuana

Marifer Treviño, also known as La Brownie Girl, goes to music and food events in Tijuana selling her homemade brownies (including vegan, oreo, peanut butter, original, etc). When there's no festival or events, she goes ...

Memorial built where El Pozolero dissolved bodies

Tijuana art project constructed in vacant lot, site of remains

The story of Santiago Meza López is one of the most gruesome and well-known narco stories to come out from Baja. Meza earned his nickname of “El Pozolero” because he dissolved more than 300 bodies ...

Large mural unveiled at strip mall in Tijuana

Movimiento Artístico Red Mental has done this work before

It was a cold and windy Saturday evening when I made my way to the Otay area of Tijuana for the unveiling of a 70.5´ x 23´ mural in the back of a strip mall ...

Finding La Maguana, a homeless icon of Tijuana

Maria Luisa Castro was a dancer — is a dancer

Facebook post: “I'm in love with Tijuana.” Comment reply by David Duran: “Until you make love to La Maguana I'm not going to believe that you truly love this city.” If you have walked around ...

Distruzione Totale by Anti You

Hundreds of crust-punk enthusiasts showed up to Tijuana’s El Tigre bar for a night of total destruction. The bands DLT, New Breed, and Pornoestereos, from Tijuana and Mexicali, started the show before punk quartet Anti ...

Warning: Do not take weed into Mexico

A survey of who does and what happens if you do

“It seems like Border Patrol read your Tijuana junkie and dealer article,” my brother jokingly told me on Facebook. He had recently noticed a new sign posted near the border that reads “Medical marijuana prohibited ...

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