Juarez is a city that continues to inspire mixed emotions and feelings. There are those who continue to love it, despite its many set backs and flaws, and there are those who have chosen to never set foot in there again.
The reasons for this mixture of feelings, particularly the negative ones, are well documented by now with no need to further that discussion.
There is though, the pleasure of taking your bicycle over the bridge and venturing into Juarez on a Sunday morning. This is an experience that never ceases to amaze me. Juarez streets around downtown are still full of sounds, colors, and life. In a city surrounded by so much tragedy, the life in its streets still fills the visitor’s heart with a smile. Street food still tastes delicious and people continue to greet you with a smile, glad that you have the valor to experience a few hours in the place they continue to call home.
I usually take my bicycle early in the day and head over to have breakfast at La Nueva Central. It still fascinates me the apparent normalcy that exist in the city. People are still on the streets going from place to place, shopping, attending church at the Catedral while the matachines dance in honor of the Virgen Morena, as others simply relax at the Plaza de Armas.
I was with my friend Moe from Berlin, Germany a few weeks back and the normalcy of the city did not cease to impress him. He was expecting complete chaos, with a fearful population unable to leave their homes. Contrary to this, he observed a thriving downtown Juarez with people all over making their Sunday purchases, vendors on the streets, and a sense of life spreading on the streets.
Juarez still continues to move forward. It continues to live and thrive. Its population, as resilient as ever, is there ready to overcome the next challenge. It might my desire to ditch television, newspapers, and the local news, in an effort to avoid corrupting my mind with the negativity of the media and the fear it wants us to feel. It could also simply be my ingrained Mexican belief in cuando te toca, te toca.
I will continue to enjoy my Sunday bike rides to Juarez, having a torta, horchata water, and nieve de chorro for dessert. I still enjoy and love that city so much, and riding my bicycle in Juarez continues to bring a smile to my face. I can only hope for more of use to give it another chance.