Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Feb. 11
Col. Cuauhtémoc: Perfect perch to watch the madness
Tiki Bar's an oasis hidden in plain sight near, well, the busiest crossing in the world.
Come here at sunset. Even though you can turn up any time of day or night. Because the Tiki Bar is open 24/7. And actually it's not a bar. It's a glorified coffee cart.
Whatever, sunset is the time. This is when Huey is sinking behind the lines of traffic waiting to cross into the United States, invisible behind a mini-forest of electric-green silhouetted palms. You settle in to this eddy in the madness of traffic and border-crossers under the canopy of two ancient ficus trees that have somehow survived development. You're sitting at the tall clunky sidewalk tables with others who are also sipping coffee, munching on tortas, taking a deep breath after a crazy day.
Actually, the Tiki Bar (9864 Blvd Padre Kino) is on the edge of Colonia Cuauhtemoc, where the path curving east from the border runs out of steam, and the taxis and buses gather to pick up mostly workers coming home from San Diego, to take them up into the colonias.
Victor, the guy behind the high counter...
...says the cab drivers and the guys touting for buses are a big chunk of his business. "The rest are guys waiting for their girlfriends, moms waiting for their sons."
So everybody has a coffee. It's from a company you see a lot here, Café Blak. Costs a buck, not bad too. But I do have a McDonald's moment: it comes at you scalding hot.
Victor says their ham tortas are the most popular. Cost 16 pesos, say $1.25. Except he's totally out right now.
No biggy. The pleasure here is jes' sitting like a row of cormorants, catching the slanting sun, sipping joe at one of these sidewalk tables under the trees, enjoying the feeling of being in the still eye of a hurricane, watching the passing parade. Don't need no torta. You're already being fed the best kind of eye candy.
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