Border City is the story of a journalist who in 1994 impulsively leaves her job and family in Washington, D.C., to report on Tijuana, Mexico, a city commonly known for drug violence and illegal immigration into the U.S. She expects to stay on the border a year, maybe two. But her plans change as she is drawn deeper and deeper into the different worlds that converge at the biggest crossing point on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Crime and friendship
Sandra Dibble expected to stay in Tijuana a year. Instead she found herself drawn into the worlds that intersect at this crossroads of the Americas. Journalists. Migrants. Artists. Drug gangs. Tijuana is a place where paths converge, often in unexpected ways.
Building a life
The kidnapping of a prominent maquiladora executive — and the threatening presence of the Arellano drug cartel — overshadow the city’s ambitious effort to boost its image. But like many Tijuana residents, Sandra feels little personal danger as she settles into her new life and explores the city.
A journalist is shot
Sandra ponders the fine line that separates danger from safety in this city of contrasts. A prominent Tijuana journalist is ambushed and a family falls victim to the Arellano cartel. But she also sees another side of the city, as her friend Angela throws her a surprise birthday party.
Gun battles and concerts
Sandra covers the assassination of another police chief and the arrest of a powerful drug suspect. She also sings with the Tijuana opera and invites friends from both sides of the border to a concert on a hillside looking out toward San Diego.
Upheaval in the cartels
The Arellano cartel grows weaker as its top leaders fall, but the violence continues. Threats strike new fears in the highest echelons of law enforcement. The Tijuana opera hosts an inaugural performance. Sandra’s mother flies in from Washington, D.C. and meets Sandra’s friend Angela.
Tijuanenses fight back
Doctors in their white coats protest the violence, while some young musicians refuse to stay home, and an arts promoter opens a new gallery. Sandra feels caught between two worlds as she flies back and forth to Washington to care for her ailing mother.
Loved this tale of life of an ex Pat in Tijuana. I hope this is just the first from her!!! Amazing multifaceted TJ. Who would know!? And I grew up going to many of the Baja cities she spoke of. So so great.
Most disjointed podcast I’ve ever listened to
I wanted to love this podcast because the topic fascinates me but the lack of cohesiveness throughout the episodes makes it difficult to listen to. In episode 4 you hear from an agent who had to create a hideout in their ceiling because of death threats… and then nothing. No explanation of its relevance, what prompted the story, etc. It’s just thrown in there with no context or completion. There are many other examples like this throughout the first 5 episodes, which is as far as I’ve gotten so far. I will continue listening because I am interested in the story, but it would be a much better listen if the episodes followed some kind of timeline.
Makes me rethink the other 5 star ratings I’ve given as I’m so in love with this podcast. What an amazing woman. What an incredible journey. Inspiring and eye opening.