Folks here in Las Cruces, NM, have had a lot of different things to say about Ciudad Ju·rez, located in the state of Chihuahua, directly across the U.S. Mexican Border from El Paso, TX. Famous for the hundreds of unsolved murders and abductions of women that have occurred in Ju·rez over the last decade, the city is not an obvious destination spot for American tourists visiting México. Nevertheless, folks here in Las Cruces seemed to agree that Ju·rez was something a visitor should see if they made it this far south.
The air in Ju·rez, like in Las Cruces, was hot and dry, which made the paletas we bought (they’re Mexican-style popsicles, made of real fruit) wonderfully refreshing. Music bumped on every block from shops, passing cars, and accordions, which reminded us both of our own bustling cities of Chicago and Brooklyn. People were friendly and willing to offer up information and advise about what to explore. Our sandaled feet were filthy by the end of the afternoon, just as they would have been after a long walk in one of our home cities. Juarez was both familiar enough to be comfortable and different enough to be interesting.
After spending only a brief time in Juarez, it seems that as a whole, this city could be understandably daunting to American tourists visiting from across the border. But the individual details, discovered by careful exploration with the five senses, were wonderfully exciting.
Above: on the edge of an alley market, facilitator Rachel Falcone takes a closer look at the brilliant colors of the city’s buildings.