Sport

Two sports that are classically Mexican - bullfighting and soccer - are as prevalent in Baja as they are on the mainland. Tijuana's Plaza de Toros Monumental (p81) is one of the world's most important bullrings, attracting matadors from Spain and throughout Latin America. There's also an important bullring in Mexicali (p136).

As in Latin America, soccer in Mexico is of utmost importance. The Mexican national soccer team is known as El Tricolor or simply 'El Tri'. The team qualified for the 2006 World Cup, but was knocked out by Argentina in the Round of 16.

Bajacalifornianos also take béisbol (baseball) very seriously. The peninsula's most important team is Mexicali's Águilas de Mexicali, which plays in the Liga Mexicana del Pacífico. The league begins its official season in October, shortly after the World Series in the USA. The season ends in January, when a series of playoffs determines the league's representative to the Caribbean Series, which rotates among Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

California's Latino population suddenly disappears and chaos ensues in Sergio Arau's mockumentary film A Day Without a Mexican (Telvisa Cine; 2004). Though the humor is far from subtle, it's worth a peek for the pondering.

The state of Baja California Sur has the lowest population of any Mexican state: 512,170 people.

Delve into the indigenous culture and history of Baja California by visiting Adesu (www.adesu.org) or the anthropology website www .bajacalifologia.org.

For a frightening look at the state of the US-Mexico border, read Luis Alberto Urrea's The Devil's Highway, the brutal story of 26 men who tried to cross the desert into the US in 2001.

While you may not consider it a sport, cockfighting is prevalent throughout Baja, and most sizable towns have a cockfighting ring. If you're interested in seeing a cockfight, simply flag down a taxi and ask driver to take you to the palenque (cockfighting arena).

On the more comical side of sports, lucha libre (free-form wrestling) is as Mexican as anything and seeing a match, which involves two sweating, wildly masked men throwing each other about a ring, is an experience in kitsch and pop culture that is difficult to imagine. The best place to see a lucha libre match is Tijuana (p75).

Soccer Fitness 101

Soccer Fitness 101

Be a star on the field in no time! Get Fit For The Soccer Field In 10 Easy Steps! With soccer season looming just around the corner it’s never too early to start getting ready. Soccer is an intense game, and it’s going to take a lot of work on your part to make sure that you’re ready to stay ahead of your competition out on that field.

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