Catch a game with the Mexicali Aguilas at "Casas Geo" in Mexicali, Mexico. I do have to say that Winter League Baseball in Mexico is very entertaining. The fans are really into the game and are very loyal to their teams. Most of the time you can catch a couple of the players eating at the Taco stands before the game. The atmosphere was unique and interesting. Tickets are cheap, about 40 pesos (4 bucks) for the best seats.
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Hard to believe that, la Chinesca, the Chinatown in Mexicali, is the biggest Chinese community in Mexico. In fact, the city of Mexicali started as a Chinese settlement. Chinese have been living in the Imperial Valley region, both on the Mexico and the US side, for over a century. They first came as cheap laborers to help build the Valley's irrigation system in late 19th Century. But Mexico's discriminative laws and anti-Chinese movement forced many Chinese to settle into this rural area. This was before Mexicali existed. The settlers formed their own association (la Asociacion China de Mexicali) to protect themselves. At one point, over 90% of Mexicali's population was Chinese (more than 10,000). Today there are only about 2,000.
Looking at Mexicali's Chinatown today, it's no different from many Chinatowns I've seen across north America and Europe - centrally located in downtown, Cantonese speaking, bustling yet run-down in areas. But in Mexicali I also saw unique blending of Chinese and Mexican cultures, reflected in their language and food (chili chow mein, shark fin taco, etc.) I had dinner in one of the more authentic restaurants, and struck an interesting conversation with the owner. Surprisingly she was a recent immigrant to la Chinesca by marriage, and spoke both Mandarin and Spanish. No English though. The dish was okay (well, I'm from southern California) and quite expensive even by US standard.
On my way home I kept pondering, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Mexicali are only a couple of hours from one another, yet Chinese life can be so different.
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The photo shows Calzada Lopez Mateos, the main street in Mexicali. It's like the Av Revolucion in Tijuana, except cleaner and more orderly. I loved the colorful busses running up and down the streets, and the busy intersections full of people walking and shopping. Being the capital of the state of Baja California, Mexicali has more of its own identity than other Mexican border cities. The stores don't necessarily accept US dollars, and don't solicit tourist business like in Tijuana. It just felt more like a real Mexican city.
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