I haven’t read your book yet, but I noticed you had a chapter about Ciudad Juarez. What you say about Ciudad Juarez probably applies to Tijuana only more so.
I have memories of youthful debauchery in Tijuana, mid 1980s to mid 1990s. Yes, there was an element of danger in the past, but if you were in a group, you were generally safe, and it could cost as little as US $20 to get someone unarrested by a Mexican cop.
Modern-day Tijuana is very different, and much more dangerous. Here are some quotes from the official US State Department travel advisory at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html : “In Ciudad Juarez, Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Nogales, Reynosa, and Tijuana, shootings have taken place at busy intersections and at popular restaurants at all times of the day and night… Mexican authorities have failed to prosecute numerous crimes committed against U.S. citizens, including murders and kidnappings.”
I took my wife down there on a day trip recently, because she was curious about Tijuana. We didn’t even go at night to see the raunchiness of bars such such as Fuzzyland or Club Bambi. We walked into Mexico from the San Ysidro light rail station, the end of the line at the border. To get there, you have to walk through a series of bridges and passageways which smell of urine. As soon as you pass through the gate into Mexico, you’re surrounded by Mexican men touting various businesses. “You want Viagra señor? Come, I take you to farmacia”, “Two for one special at liquor store”, etc. My wife, a political conservative, was not amused when I said, “Look! Unfettered capitalism!”
Getting back into the US is also dispiriting. There are long lines of cars, and drivers routinely face delays of several hours. You also have to stand in a long line to walk in, like we did.Next to the border are a number of stands hawking tacky souvenirs, with a a lot of “Mexican” souvenirs being made in China. Plaster statue of Bart Simpson any one? Try going to http://images.google.com/ and typing “Tijuana border crossing” in the search box to see for yourself. Entering the US is like something out of the novel “1984″, something out of a totalitarian police state. Heavily armed cops and soldiers (National Guard) are everywhere, hassling everyone. As a US citizen, you now need a passport (or passport card) to get back into your own country.