Travel Trend: Authenticity In Tijuana

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

As I looked for my plaid flannel scarf and fur-trimmed moccasins before leaving the house this morning, I had a thought: If only I had a dog-sled . . .

Is this what it means to be Canadian?

No. These are just our romantic notions of how we, as Canadians, endure our biggest hardship: Winter. It’s the stuff movies are made of and what the lumberjacks wear at the Epcot Center.

This thought came to me when reading the Sydney Morning Herald. In it, there was an article about Tijuana — an atypical place where one traveler found the border city in the “midst of a mini-renaissance.” This rebirth meant deep-fried grasshoppers — considered “the past food but the future food, too” — and wine from the Guadalupe Valley (which, according to another to this article, wine has a long history in Mexico, the first one dating back to 1597). Perhaps the alleged danger in the border town prevented people from really getting to know it in the first place.

There seems to be the growing trend: a worldwide revitalization of identity. I can’t help but think that planes and the Internet have something to do with it — allowing us to see places and meet faces that were once too foreign. Through these mechanisms, we are being exposed to what it really means to be of a culture and how symbolic stereotypes may have some truth in them but useful only in theatrics.

As the article poignantly ends, “the best part [of Tijuana]: there’s not a sombrero-wearing waiter or oversized margarita glass in sight.” Right now, I sit in a green, wool sweater and black, sweat pants knowing that what one wears or eats is supposed to be practical, not aesthetic.

© 2018