Dispatches From The World's Most Misunderstood City
Playing before the deafening drone of 85,000 vuvuzela-blowing fans with South African sympathies, a highly favored but “sloppy Mexican team” eked out a 1-1 draw against the host team during the World Cup’s opening game.
Mexico—the 17th best team in the world—was expected to dominate the 83rd ranked South African squad, the second lowest position of a World Cup team. Only North Korea—or, the Orwellian-named “Democratic Republic of Korea,” as Coach Kim Jong -hun has insisted journalists covering the World Cup call his nation—is ranked lower.
Despite their standings, “The Boys,” as the South African team is known at home, made an impressive showing during the opener. After a scoreless first half, South African took the lead early on in the second when Siphiwe Tshabalala scored the first goal of the 2010 World Cup in the 55th minute, sending all of South Africa into a frenzy and the team’s players into a choreographed dance number.
South Africa’s lead, however, didn’t hold. In the final minutes of the match, Mexico’s Rafael Márquez sent strike blasting past goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to even things up.
While a triumph it wasn’t, fans of El Tricolores in Tijuana went wild anyway, disregarding the fact that Mexico should have breezed past the South African team. With glass half-full optimism, Tijuanenses rushed into the streets of the city’s Zona Rio district for a roisterous Friday morning party, persuasively demonstrating that in a draw, while you can’t celebrate victory, you can always revel in not losing.
Moco Yoyo, Sergio Pueblo’s clown moniker, and guitarist Jesus Arroyo, entertain Tijuana’s transit riding public on a short bus ride from the border to downtown. On most afternoons, the duo can be found performing a routine that includes singing, guitar playing, and jokes on the city’s buses for spare change.
Demonstrators on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border gathered Thursday for a binational vigil to protest the killing of Anastasio Hernández-Rojas, a Mexican national who died after being beaten and tasered by federal agents during the deportation process at the San Ysidro-Tijuana crossing. One hundred protestors chanting “justicia, justicia,” marched across the pedestrian bridge spanning Interstate 5, as the rush hour traffic below blared their horns in support, to the border fence where they met with activists on the Tijuana side to observe a minute of silence near the site where Hernandez was killed.