Even though I could see Tijuana if I were to climb a tree in my backyard, it's rare that news from there makes it onto my radar, but this week there were reports out of TJ that the mayor, Jorge Hank Rhon, has passed an ordinance which requires all of the street vendors to wear brightly colored, traditional garb or face expulsion from the popular pedestrian mall. While I'm pretty sure that very few Americans visiting Tijuana take note of what the vendors are wearing, the mayor claims that it will help tourists "feel Mexico." Truthfully, I don't go down there enough to care, but this story has way too much in it to not point out some of the highlights:
...it will gradually be extended to other streets, including Avenida Revolucion — the bustling main tourist drag where one vendor donned a giant sombrero with the words "Mr. Viagra" written on it. He beckoned tourists to be photographed for $5 in a donkey cart.
...The dresses "are very nice, very clean, very colorful, very happy-looking," [the mayor] told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday in his City Hall office, which he shares with a caged parakeet, a parrot and a python in a glass tank.
...City officials say the costumes are no different from Colonial Williamsburg's Revolutionary War soldier outfits, Buckingham Palace guard regalia or Disneyland's Mickey Mouse costumes.
...More than two years ago, Mexico City ordered downtown police to wear charro outfits, dressing them in spurs, guns and broad-brimmed hats. The Mexican cowboy costumes were designed to put tourists at ease.
...Cecilia Angelos, who sells $3 metal bracelets, sunglasses and ceramic Micky Mouse dolls on a pedestrian bridge crossing the foul-smelling Tijuana River, was among the few vendors Saturday wearing the new costumes.