Zonkey, Tijuana Mexico, 2016


After my mum retired, she moved to Mexico!  I was fortunate to visit her when she lived in the tiny central Mexican mountain town, Sal Salvidor El Verde. Later she relocated to a suburb of Tijuana.  Now that she lives in the greater San Diego area, we try to make forays south of the border for shopping, eating, and sightseeing.  One of the more unique sights in Tijuana is the Zonkey.

What’s a Zonkey?  Simply put, this is a donkey that’s been painted or bleached to create zebra-like stripes.  The first recorded zonkey appears in travel photographs dating to the 1914-15 years when most photographs were in black and white.  The stripes helped the pale grey donkeys stand out in the images, and it’s a tradition that has been going on for more than 100 years.  The Zonkey has become so equated with the Tijuana experience, that the city’s basketball team has embraced the name!  Tijuana Zonkey Website.

Tourists are lured in to sit on a stage set that designed to look like a wagon with colorful blankets and hats to wear.  These days, the sets contain labeled and dated signs.  Photos typically cost $10-15, and though I took this image myself, I did give the Zonkista the cash to help care for his “Tijuana Zebra.”   Next time you’re in Tijuana, you can find Zonkeys along Avenida Revolucion and who knows how long this little slice of vintage kitsch will last in the day of cell phone cameras?

Here are a few other unique sites to see while walking along Avenida Revolucion!


The Millennium Arch is on the west end of of Revolucion Ave, and if you walk from the border, you go right underneath it.  On this day, my mum and I caught a taxi, and were dropped off at this corner on 2nd, and we took a picture from afar.


All along Avenida Revolucion, you will also come across a series of sculptures.  These invoke the power and pride of the Mayan culture.  I really love number 25, The Invocation of Roal Ancestors.


There are some amazing restaurants in Tijuana, but on the main drag my mom’s favorite is La Placita. It’s got a classic old-school Mexico interior and sometimes mariachi bands wander in to entertain the diners.


The Jai Alai stadium was built for the game also known as “Basque Ball.” El Foro Antiguo Palacio Jai Alai, the full name of the building, is now used as a music and entertainment venue.

For more information about vising Tijuana, MX, visit their website.

I’m looking forward to going back soon!

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