0585 Scrappy South Tucson (USA 104—revisit)

South Tucson Travel Blog

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Usually when there’s an “independent city” inside of another city, say like West Hollywood, its because an upscale neighbourhood refused to be incorporated into the city because they don’t want to have to pay high city taxes and they want to keep their “upscale” status.  Well, South Tucson is just the opposite.  It’s scrappier and uglier than any neighbourhoods around--  in fact half of it seems to be abandoned lots.  So why has it chosen to maintain its independence?  I don’t know… but it does have a slightly distinct culture, so it does merit exploration.


I quickly look for a place to take my video clip before it gets too dark, trying to catch the sunset and the stark silhouettes of the mountains in the background… Not the best Arizona sunset photo you’ll see… but it’ll have to do… There’s a barren little park and baseball diamond where I sit to play my songs and then continue on up 6th Avenue… past a couple more strip malls, a few sleazy looking motels… More residential neighbourhoods with the standard flat roof brick or cinderblock flat roof houses with dirt yards… A couple of trailer parks--  real trailer parks… not mobile home parks like we have out east… here people actually live in tiny little trailers with the fridge standing outside because there isn’t room inside.


Then there’s South Tucson’s City Hall, an unpretentious but respectable building that seems to symbolize South Tusconian pride… “We’re not rich… but we’re free!”  Seems to be the motto here.


A few homes are nicely lit up with Christmas lights--  one house is lit up in red, white, and green in the shape of the Mexican flag, giving a new twist to the Christmas spirit…


Finally I reach 22nd Street… up north I reenter Tucson and on up to downtown.  But I’m worried that I might not make it on time for the last bus to Nogales--  if there even is a bus going that way any more.  I decide to play it safe and just grab one of these shuttle vans down.  I’ll have to save the rest of Tucson for another day.

It was a nice little tour of Free South Tucson…

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South Tucson
photo by: nathanphil