by Derick Fabrolla
It seems like the first ever trip Tijuana requires that you visit the famous Tijuana Wax Museum. This sole wax museum in the entire country of Mexico is strategically placed in Tijuana where it is nearest to the international border, probably to tempt bored San Diego citizens to come to Tijuana and gawk at the shiny faces of wax Marilyn Monroe, Micheal Jackson and Elvis Presley. That or else to make sure that every single individual who crosses the border that has a dollar on them can make a little visit to the absurd yet highly amusing tourist destination that is the Tijuana Wax Museum in Baja California.
On my first trip to Baja California I went there with my mother, father, brothers and grandmothers. Yes, that did indeed guarantee that I would have the opportunity to experience the nightlife in Baja in the wild beach parties and nightclubs of Tijuana, and I resigned myself to the inevitable chance that I would have to trail along behind my family as they hop from tourist destination to tourist destination during the entirety of our trip.
We were on our way to the Tijuana Wax Museum, a place my two grandmothers seem inexplicably excited to visit and my first complaint of Baja California was the excruciating heat that seems to emanate from the sky and the ground as well. It was June at the time so that the height of summer combined with the effects of global warming and a not-so-functional car air conditioner made me hot, itchy and seriously irritable. I was silently praying to the gods that we arrive at the wax museum right away since I am sure that their air conditioners work perfectly well since their well-visited wax inhabitants are sure to be reduced into puddles of wax by the unforgiving Mexican sun.
Thankfully, we arrived at the museum after a drive that took barely fifteen minutes coming from our hotel in downtown Tijuana. For some reason however, my dad decided to leave the hotel thirty minutes before 10 am, so that we had to wait fifteen more minutes for the museum to open. The entrance to the Tijuana Wax Museum cost a little less than two dollars and you are allowed to explore the museum for 45 minutes. This is probably to avoid overcrowding inside the museum. I also saw a sign stating that the museum is open from 10 am to 7 pm everyday. They also let kids under five years old for free, we had no little kids with us but I’m sure the families with plenty of kids would appreciate the generosity. The cost seemed to me really inexpressive (actually it was down right cheap) so I did not expect to see anything amazing while inside. After 45 minutes of roaming around the museum, ogling at the wax dummies and posing beside them for pictures, I was very much surprised and a little embarrassed to admit that I was a little impressed at the wax displays. Until now, it still makes me wonder how they are able to maintain such a place without asking for large entrance fees but I guess the large number of visitors make up for the lowered fees.
The Tijuana Wax Museum had around eighty to ninety wax figures representing icons from Hollywood, music, religion, politics, sports, literature, history and local culture. Wax museum favorites such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Micheal Jackson (who looks better as a wax figure I might add), Dracula and even Mahatma Gandhi were featured in the museum. As you walk around the museum, you will also encounter the Wolf man, Frankenstein, Christopher Columbus, John Lennon, Mexican heroes and famous Mexican characters such as Don Quixote and Pancho Villa. There was also this realistically disturbing display of a scene of an Aztec human sacrifice ritual that almost made my grandmothers faint. I have to admit that it was a pretty interesting and fun activity and we left with plenty of pictures of us grinning beside wax figures of famous celebrities and fictional characters.