My topic for this assignment was about the city of Matamoros, in a Mexican state called Tamaulipas. I noticed in class that most of the locations we discussed were towards the eastern side of America, so I went on Google Maps and looked for cities along the US-Mexico border that we either did not mention or barely mentioned. I then decided that since I never really left New England since I moved to the US, I might as well try to see the difference between places I’ve seen and this specific city. This is why I decided that my assignment will be the following: Sections of a travel guide for the border region, focusing on particular places or topics that you are researching. I ended up being fairly complicated to find data specific to Matamoros, so I had to fallback on data related to the entire state of Tamaulipas. I struggled finding relevant sources during my research. Most of the scholarly articles I could find that were specific to Matamoros were about drug issues and prostitution, very few of the results that were specific to Matamoros actually touched the culture or tourism in this specific city.
I gathered as much information specific to Matamoros then gathered the information I was lacking from a wider subject (Tamaulipas). I focused my research on the location, including the city on the other side of the border, the climate, the fauna, the flora, and places that are known to attract tourists. The Rio Grande Valley turned out to be the one name that popped up the most, with some mentions of Bagdad Beach due to the fact that the Rio Grande river connects to it. The fauna and flora turned out to be partially similar to fauna and flora we can find within or near New England with a few exceptions like armadillos for example.
I then attempted to cover as much information as I could about the local people, but most of the information I could find was related to the whole state rather than specific to the city of Matamoros. For this section, I mostly focused on major religion presence and the people’s occupation.
The hardest part of this assignment was to find things to say about the arts and food at Matamoros without simply listing places to visit like most travel guides tend to do. For the arts, I tried to find information about local artists and their creations. I could not find any source that could be considered scholarly for this specific area (or the next one) and decided to go for a blog that listed artists along the US-Mexico border, a fair majority of which turned out to be either students or teachers at a school of visual arts called CEMAVI (for Centro Matamores paras las Arts VIsuales). I tried to find this school’s website for more tangible information, but the closest I could get to it was an outdated and seemingly abandoned blog from a previous student and an incomplete Facebook group. While for the food I brought up their culinary habits and the reason why it is so: a decent amount of the food served at Matamoros tends to be based on seafood due to the proximity of the Gulf of Mexico. I then picked two main or famous dishes from there and briefly listed the ingredients each dish is made of.
Finally, I compiled all the information that seemed relevant to a travel guide into a booklet and added pictures related to the information given, including a map provided by the city of Matamoros’ official website.