December 26th, 2009 – by: nathanphil
Usually when thereâ€™s an â€śindependent cityâ€ť inside of another city, say like West Hollywood, its because an upscale neighbourhood refused to be incorporated into the city because they donâ€™t want to have to pay high city taxes and they want to keep their â€śupscaleâ€ť status. Well, South Tucson is just the opposite. Itâ€™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 donâ€™t knowâ€¦ 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 backgroundâ€¦ Not the best Arizona sunset photo youâ€™ll seeâ€¦ but itâ€™ll have to doâ€¦ Thereâ€™s a barren little park and baseball diamond where I sit to play my songs and then continue on up 6th Avenueâ€¦ past a couple more strip malls, a few sleazy looking motelsâ€¦ More residential neighbourhoods with the standard flat roof brick or cinderblock flat roof houses with dirt yardsâ€¦ A couple of trailer parks-- real trailer parksâ€¦ not mobile home parks like we have out eastâ€¦ here people actually live in tiny little trailers with the fridge standing outside because there isnâ€™t room inside.
Then thereâ€™s South Tucsonâ€™s City Hall, an unpretentious but respectable building that seems to symbolize South Tusconian prideâ€¦ â€śWeâ€™re not richâ€¦ but weâ€™re free!â€ť 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 spiritâ€¦
Finally I reach 22nd Streetâ€¦ up north I reenter Tucson and on up to downtown. But Iâ€™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. Iâ€™ll have to save the rest of Tucson for another day.
It was a nice little tour of Free South Tucsonâ€¦