Street Venders, Tijuana
All along the tourist sections of Tijuana there are entrepreueurs ranging in age, from very little children to very old grannys, offering any thing from "chickles," (gum) and snacks to fresh fruits or fruit drinks.
It seems that most tourists shun these poor souls trying to eke out a living by selling an inexpensive product and it is a shame. My suggestion is to carry lots of change and buy a few packs of gum or a snack to help these hard working people out.
I have heard all kinds of stories why a perfectly good person won't even spend a quarter for a small pack of gum. The favorite is that the mothers huddling against a wall, holding an infant makes her other little ones sell gum to keep their father in booze. Another justification is that as soon as you buy one pack, swarms of children will arrive and follow until you buy more. So what, even if you spent five dollars, a quarter at a time, how could it hurt?
The shop is not actually a shop. Just a table holding items for sale, much the same as you would find in the old market places of the world. This can be seen throughout the Pedestrian section of Calle 1 and some items offered are interesting to see.
What to buy: At this particular spot, it was the Malachite Chess set that caught my eye.
Malachite is a light or dark green carbonate mineral used as a source of copper and in this case for ornamental stoneware. Here you'll also see whitish-stone chess sets, but it is the malachite that I like most. The board of the set is of malachite and trimmed in wood. It is a box with a drawer that will hold all the pieces when the game is not in use. There is a rustic look to the set and the historical import of the Aztec vs. Conquistador shaped pieces adds another dimension.
At this stand they also sell wind chimes, hats--to protect from the sun--and net shopping bags.
What to pay: As always pay what you think it's worth. Probably around $25.00 to $35.00 for the chess sets. Less for the wind chimes and hats.
There are hundreds of street vendors and stalls on a the walkway from San Ysidro Port of Entry to the Tijuana's downtown.
Hmm... they try to sell a lot of kitsch. I didn't like most (almost all) of them. Most other visitors as well. But some... is kitsch coming back into fashion nowadays? He? :-)))
What to buy: Nothing in this street vendor on my picture.
What to pay: Bargain, bargain, bargain!
There are a lot of stores selling a lot of kitsch (in my opinion) on both sides of Calle Comercio - the end part of the walkway from U.S. border (San Ysidro) to the Tijuana's downtown.
By the way: business hours are from 10am to 9pm in most stores, and almost all stores are open on Sundays in Tijuana :-). Most stores accept International Credit Cards such as MasterCard, Visa and American Express.
What to buy: Hmm... nothing. Eventually... take a few hours to find something interesting :-). Good luck!
What to pay: Bargain, bargain, bargain.
Do you like dogs? Hmm... you can't import any alive dog to the USA (3 months quarantine demanded as I know).
But you can buy the dog as on my picture in Tijuana street stalls and you can bring it back to the USA! I wonder if U.S. custom officers search for drugs inside the dog at the border? Btw how do you call this race in English?
What to buy: Dog.
What to pay: Bargain, bargain, bargain.
Walking one of the main streets in the downtown (1a Calle if I remember) I found a lot of food stalls. That one on my picture among them.
Hmm... in Polish language we have one word for such stuff: "bakalie" which we used to buy before Christmas especially. Is there any such single word in English as well?
I didn't buy anything there. The prices were not shown there, hmm... I prefer to see them and eventually to bargain a little if I have time and/or haven't enough $$$ hehe.
Btw there are many street stalls and even stores with top secret prices of items sold in Tijuana.
What to buy: Almonds, raisins, nuts and figs
What to pay: Dunno - prices were top secret there :-)
Unless you are going inside a grocery store or shopping mall you can haggle just about everywhere you go. If you don't haggle you will not get a good deal. I have gotten things for about 25% of what they were originally asking for. They expect people to haggle so the prices are inflated. I have so many of those well known Mexican blankets that I got for about $5.00 USD, of course they might be a dollar or two more now with inflation. Those same blankets sell in the U.S. Malls for $20.00-$30.00.
What to buy: I would definitely shop for their pottery and local crafts..
What to pay: Expect to pay 25-50% of what they originally ask for it. If they don't go down, you will find the same thing down the street.
like in any touristy places, tijuana has its share of street vendors. some street vendors are known to tour bus drivers that they allow them to go inside the tour bus to hawk their wares and sell you assorted stuff like the mexican churros, home mad tacos, mexican trinkets, lucha libre masks, rosaries, assorted mexican street foods, key chains and tons of other stuffs. Again as in other places, you must know how to haggle to bring down the price of what you are buying from them. don't worry since they are not the pesky or the pestering type unlike some of the sellers inside the shops in avenida de revolucion who are like leeches in pestering you to buy their stuff at inflated prices.
What to buy: assorted items like trinkets, rosaries, key chains, street food, shawls, masks and a way lot more
What to pay: again one must know how to haggle so as not to be ripped off ok!
You'll see people selling puppets on the street. Some of the puppets are pretty cool. But you can get a simple one for very cheap.
What to buy: I played with my puppet the whole day and on the drive back. I had a mexican dude with a guitar, a bottle of wine, and big sombrero.
Many children are trying to make a few pennies by selling gum. Go ahead buy some, at least they're trying to do more than beg.