Do you cross the border?
There is no question that living on the border of Mexico means that locals will experience two different cultural aspects. On one side is a heavily Mexican influenced lifestyle, but on the other side there is a very American, patriotic feel. The real question lies in where balance plays a game. El Paso has a full range in the city. There are areas that would make one say, wow this is truly an U.S strong city, but just travel into downtown El Paso and it’s like you’ve stepped through a wardrobe into Nárnia.
A walk down El Paso street shows a rich mix of cultures. There are stores lined on each side and the signs are mixed in English and Spanish. Hit the end of the street and you reach the international border between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. What makes the downtown area along the border different? Well, while there is a mixture of high end shopping, there are also local mom and pop shops who will sell you a giant quilt at a very modest price.
El Paso isn’t the only city along the border. Travel about 900 miles west and you’ll reach California. While it’s at the very end of both the North American continent and the South American continent, influences between two cultures living together is very prominent. Los Angeles, which is about two hours from Tijuana is booming with MexiCali influence. In fact, Los Angeles’ fashion district is the perfect example of this.
I believe for many tourist it paints a new light when they head to a city which is known for its high end class and expensive couture. When we think of Los Angeles, automatically you think expensive, LAX, or the Hollywood sign (and everything that revolves around it). For those living in El Paso, you think of the mountains or the star, but to have such a rich melting plot means that people who visit can experience both Mexico and the U.S without having to ever leave the country. That’s not to say you shouldn’t leave the country and experience Mexico in its most raw form.