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The best lawyer we have ever used!

Christian Limon, is with the Marcus Family Law Center, PLC, in El Centro (founded in 1974). She brings a comprehensive set of skills and expertise to assist her clients. She is licensed as an attorney both in Mexico and California, with her international practice in Imperial County and Mexicali. Her emphasis is family law, including cross-border custody and family support issues. Christian is also experienced in cross-border contracts and bi-national litigation (civil, commercial, family, and labor), advising several US companies in Mexico, including real estate development and maquiladora operations. Christian is a Spanish/English interpreter with a focus on legal documents and legal proceedings, as well as a California Notary. She is a member of the California BAR, Imperial County Bar Association, ANADE (Mexican Association of Corporate Attorneys) and AEM (Mexican Entrepreneurs Association).

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Rita Hayworth

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La Rumorosa

La Rumorosa

Our friend Christina called to ask us for a big favor. Poor Christina, her grandmother had died in Minnesota. Her parents had already left for the funeral and Christina needed to renew her visa to the U.S. so she could join them. The nearest U.S. consulate is in Tijuana. Could we drive her there? She was crying on the phone.

Putting my hand over the receiver, I asked Jim what we should do.

“We should drive the poor girl to Tijuana, that’s what we should do,” responded Jim without hesitation.

Jim, Matthew, and I got into the truck and we were off to pick up Christina.

“Thank you so much—I didn’t know who I could ask,” said Christina, who speaks perfect English and teaches at Cetys – one of Mexicali’s universities.

“Christina, it’s no problem—time we took another look at Tijuana, anyway,” said Jim.

Off we went on the long and tricky 135-mile drive to Tijuana. The drive is tricky because you have to go from Mexicali, which is at sea level, to over 4,000 feet. The road up is called La Rumorosa, and is the site of many accidents—most of them necessarily fatal.

Of course La Rumorosa posed no threat for Jim who gunned it up all the way up—as Christina, Matthew and I rode in total silence.

When we finally reached the top, we found ourselves on a high green plateau. The weather was cool and balmy—we could have been a million miles from Mexicali.

La Rumorosa took us directly to a toll station for the road to Tijuana—a modern highway which takes you down slowly to Tijuana, were we arrived right around 11:00am.

Christina guided us to the U.S. Consulate. She had already made her visa appointment via the Internet.

“You can make the appointment on the Internet—that’s great,” I said.

“Yes,” answered Christina, “you can even become a U.S. Consulate Facebook fan on the Internet.”

“Well, I’ll be a grease monkey’s uncle,” replied Jim pulling up in front of the U.S. Consulate.

“I have no idea how long this will take, but I can call your cell phone when I’m through,” said Christina.

“OK,” I said.

U.S. Consulate - Tijuana

U.S. Consulate – Tijuana

As Christina was getting out of the truck, Jim took a photo of the consulate. Quickly, two armed guards rushed towards the car. Before they could reach us, Jim revved up the truck and we were off. “No way I’m gonna let them guards get their hands on our camera,” said Jim.

We found ourselves going north on a large two-lane highway. After only about a half a mile from the consulate, Matthew said, “Look, there’s a huge minaret over there!”

“By golly you’re right,” said Jim, “Some of those Islam guys, I bet—like the one in New York. Let’s take a look.”

We got off the main road and on to some side streets. The minaret was easy to find as the thing was so tall. What was a minaret doing in Tijuana?

We got out of the truck to take a better look. Suddenly, as we got closer, Matthew said, “Hey, I know what this is—it’s the minaret that was part of the old Aquacaliente Hotel and Casino—I read all about this place.”

“You reading about some hotel in Tijuana?” asked Jim.

The minaret

The minaret

“No, not about the hotel, but about Rita Hayworth —this is where she had a dance act with her Dad—this is where she was discovered!” said Matthew.

“Rita Hayworth, here?” I laughed.

“Yes,” said Matthew, “Her father was a dancer, born in Spain, and her mother was from Brooklyn, and here is where she danced. It was a high-class place.”

“Bet you’re right, Matthew,” smiled Jim, turning to me. “Matthew was in show business—knows all about it. But I don’t see no hotel.”

“They outlawed gambling here, back in the 30s, and the hotel was torn down—everything went, except for the minaret.”

“Well, I’ll be…” said Jim in awe.

“It was a super place, all the Hollywood stars used to come here to gamble and have fun—it was the Las Vegas of its time.”

“And now it’s gone,” I said.

“Yep,” sighed Jim.

“I’m hungry,” said Matthew.

The Aguacaliente Hotel & Casino in its heyday

The Aguacaliente Hotel & Casino in its heyday

Luckily, I had packed a lunch for us, tuna fish sandwiches, orange soda pop in the cooler, and a specialty of mine —a pile of deep-fried banana Twinkies.

No sooner, had we finished, than the phone rang. It was Christina. She said she was out and we could pick her up.

“Didn’t take long,” said Jim.

In no time, we were back at the U.S. Consulate—a bit nervous after being chased by the guards, but nothing happened, maybe the guys after us were out to lunch.

Christina was standing on the curb. Once she got in, she started to cry.

“Christina,” what’s wrong?” I asked.

“They wouldn’t give me a visa—even though my visa just expired, and I have had it for years.”

“Why?” asked Matthew.

“Why? They never say why,” answered Christina.

“That’s just terrible,” I said.

Most of the trip down La Rumorosa and back to Mexicali was in silence.

We dropped Christina off with as many kind words as we could think of and headed home.

We were tired from the trip, but luckily I had made a delicious baked tuna lasagna for dinner.

I had not cooked for awhile and I was now resuming some of my household chores; cooking a nice meal was my first task!

I now move around very well in our house. I still sit on a high stool, when I have to stir the pot. The Lyrica is a great medication to take for my healing nerves.

Rita dancing with her father

Rita dancing with her father in Tijuana

Jim had the TCM channel on, and after dinner, Rita Hayworth came on the screen, in a black and white movie, called Gilda. She radiated such beauty, and grace! You would think that TCM had scheduled the program just for us!

“Did you know Rita’s not doing the singing?” said Matthew.

“Really? She’s not singing in this movie?” I said with a stunned look.

“C’mon Matthew, that’s her voice!” said Jim.

“No no, many movie stars couldn’t sing during the days when the studio bosses were running the show. So a singer called Martha Mears was used very often to replace their voices; all Rita had to do was pretend to sing,” explained Matthew.

“Martha Mears sang with Bing Crosby, she dubbed for Lucille Ball, Sonja Henie, Veronica Lake, Ava Garbor, Maria Montez, and even Claudette Colbert!” said Matthew.

“Well I’ll be darn. Here’s to Martha Mears, what a voice!” said Jim taking a drink from his bottle of Tecate.

“They don’t make movies like these anymore. These days, they don’t make movies about real people, like Gilda,” I said.

Soon after the movie, Gilda was over, another movie called Blood and Sand came out, starring a much younger Rita with Tyrone Power.

“George Clooney looks just Tyrone Powers!” I said.

We were in for a real treat! We had a date with Rita Hayworth tonight.

The final movie was with a slightly older but still beautiful Rita with Frank Sinatra, called Pal Joey. There was even the gorgeous Kim Novak as well—no match for Rita, though.

“You know, the drink Margarita was named after Rita here in Mexico.” said Jim.

“I know that; we even wrote about it—dontcha remember? Amazing, she and her dad used to dance in Tijuana,” I said.

Once again, we had learned something new.

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