Here’s Juarez Walking Tour in the news.
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico – In the early 1970s, Richard Wright, a native of El Paso, Texas, began crossing the then porous US-Mexico border into the northern Mexican community of Ciudad Juarez – a place once deeply connected to his home city and yet simultaneously worlds apart.
“I was 15 when I first started coming over,” says Wright, while walking along the elevated Santa Fe international bridge that crosses from El Paso over the Rio Grande – a shallow trickle of water, marking the boundary between the two countries – and into Juarez.
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“Back then, it was like Vegas,” says Wright, standing just across the border at the head of Avenida Juarez. In the 1970s and 1980s, the street was bathed in neon lights from the numerous 24-hour bars, nightclubs, cabarets and restaurants that first arose during 1920s prohibition era and continued to service the throngs of people who came across the border to partake in the vibrant nightlife.
This story starts when, while visiting El Paso in 2013, I ran into a man setting the old clock in San Jacinto Plaza. He told me that he’d given walking tours of Juárez for years and was thinking it was finally safe enough to resume them. On a subsequent visit I tried to see if the tours were being offered and, sure enough, there was a webpage touting guided trips to downtown Juárez. “Entertaining! Educational! Fun!” the ad read. And, in the biggest, boldest letters: “SAFE!” That was more than good enough for me. Sadly, it would take another couple years to get myself back again to actually take a tour, but in that time Juárez’s reputation for violence seemed to change almost not at all, even as the death toll continued to decrease.
As it turned out, Rich Wright, who has been running these tours, was not the man I met in the plaza. But he’s been going to Juárez his entire life, including during the years of greatest bloodshed, and, with a mutual acquaintance or two in the Minneapolis music scene of the ‘90’s, I couldn’t have asked for anyone more simpatico. Did I mention my Spanish is hardly serviceable?
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Again, many thanks to Rich Wright, who showed me Juárez as I never could’ve seen it otherwise, even if given many years of roaming the streets on my own. I can’t recommend taking one of his walking tours highly enough.
And here’s a post from the AlwaysBackroads blog.
I discovered The Museum of the Revolution on the Border, the oldest bar in Juarez, Tin Tan, Juan Gabriel, and so many other people, places, and tons of art. Oh, and great food. Okay, lots of other folks may have already known about these, but they were sure new to me. And the only way I found out about them was taking a walking tour of Ciudad Juarez with Rich Wright. Juarez Walking Tour is my best discovery. Rich knows so much about the city, speaks Spanish well, knows lots of folks there and is just a nice guy. Highly recommended.
So what are you waiting for?
Thanks for the press, guys. I hope to see y’all again.