Add to its problems tighter security and longer wait times to re-cross the border in to the
and Tijuana’s tourism
industry has slowed to a trickle.
Yet the people try. Revolution Boulevard is sparsely populated compared to years past. Yet it is still home to great drink specials, counterfeit watches and pharmacies. And yes, although the herd has been culled, “Mexican Zebras”.
The one constant in
tourism for the past 60 plus years are the “Zonkeys”. From a far the striped animals do appear to be
zebras. However, in actuality they are
donkeys with black stripes painted on them.
These docile animals stand along the famed boulevard for hours. Harnessed to a wagon they wait patiently for
visiting tourists to climb aboard, don brightly colored sombreros and have
their picture taken. It is as clique as
any tourist attraction in the world.
No one can say for certain, but it is believed the tradition of painting the animals derived out of necessity. Since donkeys’ hair is light colored they often looked faded in tourists’ photographs. Until one day one of the handlers decided to add stripes to his animal. He figured it would show up better in that Kodak moment. One wonders if he knew what impact it would have on future generations for man and beast alike.
With the Baja turf war among cartels waning, it is anticipated tourism will increase this year. In a city that has so much to offer it is bound to lure visitors from across the border.
And for those striding down Revolution the zonkeys will be waiting, patient, striped and uniquely