by El Gallo
Monkey Junction, Newfoundland, Afghanistan
January 5, 2007
The Catalina has a reputation among Tijuana connoisseurs (if that's the word) as the Last Cheap Hotel. Time was I always stayed in Tijuana hotels for under $10. Times they have a'changed. The sub-$20 TJ hotel is pretty much a thing of the past. At least for anywhere you'd stay if you're in your right mind. You can ask at the Enva and such, but they're mostly full of families now, not to mention American fugitives from criminal warrants. There goes the neighborhood.But there are still the Lafayette and the Catalina at around twenty bucks a night. And the Catalina is not right on Revolución. In fact, though absolutely nothing special, it's clean, well-run and easy to take for $20 for an interior room or $30 for a street room with TV. (Take the interior closet. Please. It's hard to tell which is more obnoxious in TJ, the street noise or the TV.) I last stayed there for about ten days and noticed there were a dozen foreigners staying there for that entire time. As you'd guess, there is a discount for longer stays. If pay for a week, you're in for like fourteen bucks a day.Okay, so it's not an executive suite, but you can sleep there and store your stuff... and take a hot shower. But there's also the immediate vicinity to consider. There is a very nice, friendly little coffeeshop/restaurant right off the lobby. Genuine American style breakfast for around $4 USD, blue plate lunch for around $3.50. And plenty of coffee. It's sometimes a sort of expat hangout. Look across the street and the first thing you see is an Internet café. And next door to it, for your medical/chemical needs, Farmacia Hollywood. The area is big on Vet and Pet stores, as well as several production art galleries where you can get huge ornate frames as well as real oil Kahlo knockoffs. But if you're into leather, this is the epicenter of Tijuana's commercial leather and leatherworking tool district. (No, not that kind of "into leather".) Want a goat skin? Or python? Wrestler-class belt buckles? Shearling? Suede? Rawhide? They got it. Not that there are many leather tourists. I'm just saying that if you are interested in this stuff, there it is, right next door.
The cross street, Madero, is a major "route taxi" lane. Catch the black and red vans to go out Aquascalientes Boulevard, the tan ones to zoom to Rosarito for two bucks. And if pet stores, frames, and leather punches don't trip your jaded trigger, well, that's Revolucion right at the other end of the block. A block east of Revolución on Fifth. (Turn off Revu at Caesars).
From journal Sorry, We're Still TJ