Thursday, June 21, 2007

Extreme Border Sports


Well, I may have at least found a partial answer to the question from my previous post: could the fence be transformed into a kind of bridge to at least begin the process of deconstruction, towards a structure that unites?
Well, in this case it certainly hasn’t helped to progress any type of border fence deconstruction (that’s for sure), nor has it really helped to unite U.S. and Mexico in the sense of creating a more open border – but, without a doubt, the border fence in San Diego (at least for some indeterminable amount of time) had been turned into a bridge. Literally!
Check it out.


Apparently, yesterday, some Customs and Border Patrol Agents discovered a rather clever ramp system that had been mounted to both sides of a lower level of fence nestled up against another kind of extensive boulder pile there to help act as a de facto barrier. So sophisticated in fact, the ramps could be assembled, used to drive over the fence, disassembled, and the tracks brushed away all in a matter of minutes according to this report. Wow, that's a serious job.


After following a suspicious truck bolting off from Route 94 towards Mexico, this article tells us, the agents were led to a scene where “20 people had crossed into the U.S. and put up welded metal ramps over the top of the border fence.” Upon the BP’s arrival they all took off back into Mexico but the ramp was left behind and, well, we got some good pics right here for ya.


Look at that thing, pretty bad-ass, actually. The truck that was stopped contained “60 packages of pot valued at $735,000” weighing 916 pounds. That’s some serious cashish right there.


It just amazes me, the types of ingenuity that go into these little secret infrastructures of informality, particularly in and around the border.
In case you’re a new reader, I‘ve been trying to track some of these under a category that I’ve loosely referred to as Improvising Sub_Base landscapes. Mostly, border and smuggler tunnels, but there have been some fascinating tales of smugglers using rope and pulley schemes underground across the border, too, that I have learned about adopted from old Vietnam tunnel-warfare tactics. Of course, a border ramp is nothing exotically novel, but certainly nothing I’ve come across yet. The typical border-crosser ladders are about the closest thing.


But, it also gets me back to my original curiosity of what the border fence could theoretically and imaginatively become, perhaps even ludicrously out of context. For example, maybe both sides could rig up dozens of more of these ramps, properly reinforced, to host a kind of border derby using the fence as a massive stunt superstructure; dune buggies busting flips off the fence, soaring back and forth from California to Mexico in amazing aerial loops, like border-crosser daredevils, almost as if it were some long-winded skate ramp. That coud be cool, too. Turn the fence into a transborder skate park. Cross-border derby stunt jumping contests could become the new craze. Extreme Sports would host annual skate competitions down there, BMX rats would develop insane new tricks off the old useless rusted sheet metal. I mean, come on, that'd be awesome! Why not?

[All images have been heisted from this article on the NBC News website, where there is also a video: Agents: Drug-Smuggling Ramp Found At Border.]

9 Comments:

Anonymous JN said...

Amazing level of quality (in every sense) for a temporary structure of this purpose, just one step below an AVLB in my opinion.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Bryan Finoki said...

Thanks for that link, JN. super similar. In fact, you never know, the military may have something to adopt from this ramp, too.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Bernard said...

I've been many times in Mexicali when I was living in LA (Last Year) to work with a good friend of mine who is a mexican architect and has an office in this city. That's what he told me:
In Mexicali there is a big population of chinese immigrants (from the end of the 19th. century). If I remember right, they had tried to enter the USA and were denied entry. A lot of them landed in what is today Mexicali. In Mexico they faced extreme and murderous racism. To protect themselves they dug tunnels which supposedly stretch over many miles and cross the border. These tunnels are famed to be still used by "coyotes".

4:48 PM  
Blogger Bryan Finoki said...

I did not know that. That's fascinating. That the Chinese built some of the first border tunnels. I will have to look into that further. seriously.
if you come across any more info - pass it on, email me whatever. if your architect friend knows more let me contact him/her. would love to get more info.
i will, of course, update everyone with future findings of my own.
thanks!

4:53 PM  
Blogger Bryan Finoki said...

Some background right here:

SWEET & SOUR TIMES ON THE BORDER By Joe Cummings.

Many of the Chinese labourers who survived the building of the irrigation system stayed on after its completion, congregating in an area of Mexicali today known as Chinesca ('Chinatown'). Especially during the U.S. Prohibition years, when Americans flocked to Mexican border towns to partake of the alcoholic beverages outlawed at home, Chinese labourers and farmers moved into the city and spent their hard-earned savings to open bars, restaurants, and hotels. Chinese eventually housed virtually all of the city's casinos and bars, and an underground tunnel system connected bordellos and opium dens with Mexicali's counterpart city on the U.S. side, Calexico. Bootleggers also used this route to supply the U.S. with booze purchased in Mexico. Many, but by no means all, of the Prohibition-era businesses were operated by chinos.

from the sound of this article the tunnels were established first primarily as smuggler/trade infrastructure between Mexico's "Chinatown" and the U.S.

Makes sense that during the "Tong wars in northern Mexico" [...] "over control of gambling and prostitution rings" that the Chinese would use these for refuge/escape.

Wow. I'm on the trail now.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Bernard said...

I'm happy I put you on that fascinating trail. My fiend is an email hater (except for when it comes from his daughters!)
You might try (not a hint of ...) through his web site:
www.jorgeponce.com
By the way his solar urban development for San Felipe Baja (Which is on the way to become the biggest in the americas) is fantastic!

5:59 PM  
Blogger Bryan Finoki said...

Great, I will check it out. thanks again bernard for the info.
I'll let you know,of course, what becomes of it.
On another tip, what placs can you suggest in Mexicali worth checking out that would be specially relevant for subtopia-heads? that would be most appreciated....

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MY FAMILY IS FROM MEXICALI AND I WAS TOLD THAT THE CHINESE WERE THE FIRST ONES TO FOUND THE CITY. IS THAT TRUE? ALSO MY FAMILY TELLS ME THAT CHINESE LIVE IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA, BUT THAT THEY LIVE UNDERGROUND. THAT THEY HAVE A HUGE COMMUINITY THERE. IS THAT ALSO TRUE?

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YEA I DO NOT THINK THE CHINESE LIVE UNDERGROUNG IN MEXICALI, WAT A TARTO

1:18 PM  

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