National Geographic Traveller on Juarez
23 Jan 2014
Photo courtesy of Nigel Richardson
Friends of Ballroom, Kaycee Dougherty and Ricardo Fernandez, recently served as guides to journalist Nigel Richardson as he explored Juarez, Mexico. With their help, Richardson, discovers a bustling city filled with culture and beauty.
“Visiting Juarez is an object lesson in overcoming assumptions. Four years ago it was a narco-hell of daily shootings and reprisal beheadings but violence has abated and security improved to the point that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office no longer advises against all but essential travel there.
The people are indeed back on the streets – there is a bustle entirely lacking in El Paso, where no one walks. Children in school uniforms walk past shops selling wedding dresses. Vaqueros in cowboy hats loaf about with squeezeboxes and guitars. And everywhere there are signs of construction, rejuvenation.
At the cone-shaped Museum of Art the director, Rosa Elva Vazquez Ruiz, tells me that the museum was a refuge and consolation for many people at the height of the street violence. ‘To come here was the best thing they could do in the week,’ she says.