A quirky tour along the southern side of the Mexico-United States border is giving gringos the opportunity to see an unlikely attraction that they can’t access from home: the eight prototypes of Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.
The United States president visited San Diego, California, yesterday where he inspected the models of his long-sought wall.
But access to the site where the prototypes are located is restricted, meaning that most U.S. citizens cannot see for themselves the barriers that could soon separate them from their southern neighbor.
With that in mind, Tijuana-based tour company Turista Libre (Free Tourist) began offering a new tour late last year called “Against the Wall.”
The tour is the brainchild of Ohio native Derrick Chin, who founded Turista Libre in 2009 but moved to Tijuana almost 20 years ago.
“The first thing that struck me was the wall. It was the ’90s and I had no idea that a wall dividing us from Mexico existed. It was based on my experience that I decided to do a tour so that more Americans like me get to see this wall that is so absurd . . .” Chin told the newspaper Milenio.
“I would bet that half the people who live in the United States don’t even know, or didn’t know, that we already have a wall,” he added.
A reporter from Milenio accompanied Chin and around 30 tourists from the United States on the most recent border wall tour Sunday.
One of them was Amy Adams, an architect from Washington, who told Milenio that she was motivated to visit the border after hearing so many negative things about Mexico in the media.
“You don’t hear anything good in the news when the president refers to the Mexican people, [only] that there is a lot of crime and drugs, those kinds of things are definitely an exaggeration, so I wanted to come and see for myself,” she said.
The first stop of the tour is on the Mexican side of Otay Mesa, the southern district of San Diego where the wall prototypes are located. With the help of a ladder, tourists can peek over the existing border fence to observe the prototypes.
During the stop, Charlie Wittey explained why he bought tickets for the border pilgrimage:
“Even though I live in San Diego, I don’t have any connection with the border. I was attracted to the tour because I hadn’t seen the wall and I recently got interested in Donald Trump’s immigration policies,” he said.
“It certainly bothers me to see this. I think that it’s closing the door on what is, commercially speaking, the most important country [ for the United States],” he added.
Tom Adams, another member of the tour group, told Milenio that the wall prototypes are “a tourist attraction” and the wall proposal is “an emblem of intolerance and the absurd president we have.”
“That’s why I wanted to see it,” he added. “I think it’s like a ridiculous museum.”
In addition to casting their eyes over the wall prototypes, tour participants visit three of the 276 historic boundary monuments that were placed by the International Boundary Commission after the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty in 1848 and the Gadsden Purchase in 1853.
Source: Milenio (sp)