A tall shining metallic arch rises above the busy streets and rolling hills of Tijuana, Baja California, giving Mexico’s westernmost city an icon to welcome visitors and to symbolize its modernity. It is called by various names, including the Arco del Milenio (Millennium Arch) or Arco de Tijuana, but officially the arch is known as the Reloj Monumental de Tijuana (Tijuana Monumental Clock). The arch has been controversial since its construction but has also become one of the city’s most important symbols in the 21st Century. 
Each year Mexican people celebrate the 16th of September in commemoration of the 1810 start of what became the Mexican independence movement. The colorful patriotic festival is celebrated not only within Mexican national boundaries, but also on the other side of its northern border wherever great concentrations of Mexican communities are found. In Los Angeles, California the demographic and cultural strength of the Mexican community – the second largest in the world after Mexico City – makes celebrating the annual “fiestas patrias” an indispensable local tradition. A colorful ceramic mural located in the historic heart of L.A. titled El Grito (“The Cry”) celebrates Mexico’s independence and as well as the heritage of the city’s vibrant Mexican American community.
Nestled in a hot, rocky mountain area, Tecate, Baja California, Mexico and Tecate, California, USA, mark one of the meeting points between Mexican and U.S. California. Located 30 miles east of the San Diego-Tijuana zone, the two Tecates are often an alternative for travelers seeking to wait less time crossing the border. We will explore the two Tecates soon, but the dry shrubbery and rocky environment here shows the character of a slightly less-visited portion of the U.S.-Mexican border zone.
U.S.-Mexican, Latino, and Border Historian