Erik Orrantia

author of Normal Miguel

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Thanks for the Warm Welcome!
Hotel California
erikorrantia guys at Cheyenne Publishing do seem to be a pretty tight knit group!  It certainly makes me proud to be a part of it...'s a stupid question: how is this blog different from facebook?  I'll be some people have LiveJournal, Facebook, maybe even myspace!  How do they compare?  How do you keep up with them all?

As you may have read in my biography on Cheyenne, I live in Tijuana.  Lots of people wonder what it's like, so what can I say?  In lots of ways, it's not that different from the US--I rent a little 3BR, 2 1/2bathroom house, I shop at the grocery store, we go to the movies, etc., etc.

Of course, there are a few differences: there are police all over the place that drive around in caravans of pick-up trucks with their weapons hanging out (literally).  The internet is a little slow and the television sucks.  Blockbuster is a profitable business.  The street food is wonderful--tacos, tortas, seafood, tamales, etc.

Other than that, life is rather normal.  Well, there isn't nearly as much entertainment in Tijuana as in San Diego, but I'm a bit of a homebody anyhow.  Drinking age is 18 and the bars are funner.  People are less worried about driving drunk and breaking traffic laws which is a worry for me.  I guess after 12 years, you can get used to anything.

I know some of you live on the other side of the world...what's your life like?


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It's funny the ideas you shared about Mexico. When I first got here in 1997, I had some of the same ideas and I lived in California! I thought there'd be dirt roads everywhere, burros, and cockroaches galore. Those things are only partly true!

There are also Starbucks, glitz, five-star restaurants, etc., etc. Most big cities are rather modern, though they always have a poorer sections on the sometimes not so outskirts.

Why were there riots in your town?

The West Indians living in Handsworth and Smethwick fell out with the local police and went on the rampage. Unfortunately, in Birmingham many white people regard all those who don't have a white skin as 'black' and therefore unwelcome and dangerous, regardless of whether they are Indian, Pakistani, Chinese or whatever. I really hate it when people are labeled like this.

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