My mother is undergoing stem-cell therapy at the moment. Her protocol calls for three sessions in order for the stem cells to be most effective. It’s time for her third session and it’s my turn to take her to Tijuana. We live in San Diego, so there’s no problem about travel or staying overnight, but the biggest problem for me was the fear of being in Tijuana. My two brothers took our mother for the previous sessions, and the all told me there’s nothing to worry about, that the news media blew everything out of proportion in 2008. When I told my fiancée that I didn’t want to take my mom to Tijuana, she just rolled her eyes at me and said the city isn’t like that at all, that it’s a lot safe than comparable cities in the United States.
My fiancée used to live in Tijuana. While she was there, the foodie scene really took off, and then the art scene. After that, the news media reported better news and people’s opinions about the places improved a lot. Unfortunately, the negative always gets more importance than the positive, so mostly just the locals knew about the food and art. Even people as close as San Diego didn’t really hear about the good news in Tijuana.
On the other hand, I learned from my own brief investigation, that Tijuana has recently been named as the best destination for medical tourism in all of Mexico. This is due in part to how close it is to the United States and how medical tourists don’t need to take out a passport to visit. Another factor is the outstanding quality and innovation of the medicine being practiced in Tijuana by doctors of international standing. Patients from all over the world come to Tijuana in search of alternative medical treatments that are unavailable to them at home. They can expect to save between forty and eighty percent over the costs back home, with the same quality of service or better. In my investigation I even learned about a special lane at the border that allows medical tourists to cross back into the United States in twenty minutes or less.
Once I saw the true face of Tijuana, I understood that there’s no reason to worry. So, when I took my mother to the ProgenCell clinic, I understood why Tijuana is called Mexico’s top destination for medical tourism. I’ve never seen such professionalism and attentiveness.
While my mother was having her procedure, I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. The area is amazing, not just because of the variety of restaurants and cafés but it’s also home to Tijuana’s Cultural Center, a combination of museum, art gallery, and the IMAX theater-in-the-round nicknamed “La Bola” (The Ball). My short walk showed me a Tijuana that no one ever sees on television.
Because ProgenCell’s procedure is non-invasive, my mother was ready to go as soon as it was over. Then we faced the hardest part of our trip: deciding where to eat. There were hundreds of choices, each more interesting than the last. That’s when I made myself a promise to come back often just to savor as much of the city as possible, to learn about the cultural scene, and maybe even get my own stem-cell treatment for the knee that has been bothering me.