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Berlin 89: A Crypto Embassy for the People!

 March 29, 2023 at 8:27 PM PDT

S1: Picture this scenario. It's a beautiful sunny morning. You're in the middle of buying a cup of coffee. You pull out your card to pay and your card is declined. That's weird. You think since I was just able to use it yesterday. But you go on and pay with cash. You take your coffee and you start scrolling down through your news feed and.

S2: You find out that your country has invaded the neighboring country and launched a full scale war.


S1: You don't agree with your government's decision. You demonstrate publicly with other dissenters to voice your opposition , but your government starts harassing you , threatening you , putting your life in danger.

S2: So you make the painful decision to leave your home country for somewhere that's safe for you and your family.

S1: But long lines at the bank , no money in the ATMs. Your credit cards are useless. Your assets become virtually inaccessible to you , leaving you stranded.

S2: Ultimately , you do what you can to get to safety , but you still need your money to move around.

S4: Hi , this is Berlin. H9. Yeah , My name is Alec. How can I help you ? I want to make a transfer with cryptocurrency. I need to change the cryptocurrency to the dollars.

S5: There was Ukrainians and Russians coming to my doorstep because I have a crypto embassy and help people out. They basically said we can't use our debit cards like our credit cards. So they were looking for other ways how to pay for things. And that was then with cryptocurrency in Cash. I'm sorry , what.

S4: Was your name ? Bashar. Oh , okay , perfect. Okay. See you later. Yeah.

S1: It turns out a Tijuana based German cryptocurrency trader was there to assist these Ukrainians and Russians in their attempt to get safety.

S2: This episode is still about food , yes , but also about crossing all kinds of borders. Culinary , international and financial.

S1: Stay tuned. From KPBS and PRX. This is Port of Entry.

S2: Where we tell crossborder stories that connect us.

S1: I'm Neal Gentle.

S2: And I'm Natalie Gonzalez. From KPBS. You are listening to Port of Entry.

S1: Today , we continue with our series on newcomers who impact Badger's culinary landscape with their unique dishes and stories.

S2: We find ourselves again in the heart of downtown Tijuana , meeting one of Tijuana's most interesting couples.

S5: Hi , I'm Alec.

S6: I'm Josephine.

S1: Alec is a German born cook and is a staunch proponent of decentralized finance and self-governance.

S2: We'll explain more about that later.

S1: Josephina , his wife , is a filmmaker and artistic curator from Mexico.

S2: Their relationship and their work is about challenging the traditional financial , geographical and cultural boundaries that states and institutions impose on us.

S1: Together , they open Berlin , 89 , in Tijuana. Not exactly a traditional establishment. You see , there is the food.

S5: If people would ask me what would be the food I would bring to Mexico , like to have give people like an experience. And I thought like , well , it would be a sausage.

S1: And the decoration , well , it's decorated with depictions of global currencies all at least artistically in their graves.

S5: Well , you can see they're like a graveyard with graves , tombstones , and they say rest in peace. And then there's the British pound , the US dollar , the Japanese yen , the euro , and the.

S2: Other function of this establishment. Well , that has to do with the depictions of currencies in their graves.

S1: We're also going to talk about that later.

S2: For now , let's talk about the restaurant and their food. Tucked in one of the many artful alleys in downtown Tijuana. Berlin , 89 , is surrounded by other coffee and food establishments.

S1: And for how tucked and packed in everything really is , Alex Spot feels pretty spacious. Like the other establishments in the passage , Alex Deli is open with outdoors but framed by arches that expose the lounge to the dark.

S2: If you were to enter the shop on the left , you see a compact kitchen separated from the rest of the place by a Delhi fridge with a display of fresh herbs , meats , sausages , salads and sauces.

S1: Over the Delhi fridge hangs demolished , construction blocks hung together by rusted off construction rods right across the entrance of the kitchen. Off to the side wall is a beverage fridge filled to the brim with imported delicious German beers.

S2: Which we may have or have not enjoyed.

S1: If our supervisors are listening , we definitely didn't know we did it.

S2: What is hard to miss are the bright , neon kitschy graffiti murals plastered all over the walls.

S1: One mural overlapping the other with no sense of where one begins and another ends. Some are replicas of murals once plastered along the ruins of the Berlin Wall.

S2: Which is where Alex story begins. Well , kind of. And now a little history with Natalie and Alan.

S7: The Soviet manufactured crisis over Berlin reiterating readiness for negotiation.

S1: The Berlin Wall was a concrete barrier erected in 1961 by East Germany to prevent people from their country escaping to West Germany. The Berlin Wall divided the city of Berlin into two separate sections one controlled by the Soviet Union and the other by the Western allies.

S2: You know what I'm thinking , Helen ? Okay. That the Berlin Wall was built to keep people in East Germany , but our border wall here in Tijuana was created to keep people out of the US. That's ironic , right ? Yeah.

S1: You know , I wrote a song once about much preferring bridges to walls. Yeah.

S2: Yeah. You know , parades. And we meant. Baby.

S8: Baby.

S1: The Berlin Wall came to symbolize the Iron Curtain between Western Europe and the Communist Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.

S9: Mr. Gorbachev , tear down this wall.

S2: The wall eventually came down in 1989 , when communist regimes across Eastern Europe collapsed under international pressure and from domestic protests.

S1: Governments are weird , man.

S10: So an extraordinary night of euphoria in Berlin within hours of East Germany's decision to let its people go by opening the border to the west. Yes.

S11: David Hasselhoff is here.

S1: Alex specifically remembered David Hasselhoff.

S5: Like , no , for freedom there that did that freedom.

UU: Something , I think looking for freedom. No.

S5: There was a lot of stuff going on. So there's lots of cheerleading going on in the cultural and artistic scene when it comes to those events.

S2: Alec grew up in Bavaria.

S1: That's southern Germany.

S2: But some of his formative years were spent in Berlin , a city surrounded at that time by communist East Germany.

S1: To this day , Alec remembers what was going through people's minds after the wall fell and the reunification of Berlin that took place.

S5: There's two stories. There's people which we know. They like the structure of a socialist society , and they liked how everything is organized and how everything is structured and everything is planned out. And then when there was a unification , they became very unhappy because it's kind of like the same still , but it's less organized and less clear. There's some other friends and stories I heard which way was the opposite because they were just frustrated in the socialist society because they had other aspirations , but they couldn't follow them because everything was assigned and like prepared for them and they couldn't really choose. And now they're really like happy and they , they like the freedom of choice. And to shape your own destiny , in essence , shows that there's just two different choices. You know , who like some people , they just like everything sorted out for them. And there's others who want to sort it out for themselves.

S2: Once the wall fell and Germany was reunified , people took pieces of the wall as souvenirs of a time passed , gone , but yet very , very present.

S12: The first movie that you have chunks of the Berlin Wall.

S5: I am ? Yeah , I have chunks. Well. Well , the Berlin Wall is controversial because there was , like , no ownership. And so there was this guy I met in Berlin , like from an art collective. And his father constructed like , a large part of the wall. And so he just went ahead and said like , Well , my father built it , so this is mine now after it fell. And he's been part of this group of distributing actual pieces of the Berlin Wall all over the world. And he gave me like a whole segment of three tons. It's like three meters , two meters. Just because he sent me on a mission. Like he literally said , like , Alec , you're on a mission now. It's going to be adventurous. You're going to meet a lot of people.

S1: And eventually Alec hopes to raise funds to bring that three ton chunk of the Berlin Wall to Tijuana and sell pieces of it to raise more funds to support local artists.

S2: We just had an idea , okay , when our border welcomes down , we should totally hustle pieces of it in Europe and Asia.

S1: Who ? I like that. Maybe we'll use the money to clean up the Tijuana River. No more stank and then give free tacos to all of Tijuana.

S8: I love that.

S2: Berlin 89 feels like an homage to the impermanence of institutions. The Declaration most definitely wants you to walk away with that feeling.

S5: If you look above the daily fridge , you can see a broken piece of the Berlin Wall. This is a direct reference to many places when they started to deconstruct and destroy the Berlin Wall in the peaceful revolution of 89.

S6: We took inspiration in the ruin bars of that. You know , their origin is in Budapest , in Hungary. That's one of the elements and that we took as inspiration. And the other one , of course , is its side gallery. So that one is basically like the remains of the Berlin Wall. And there you can you can find street art.

S1: Josephina , Alex , Energetic and insightful partner. Explain that. They took inspiration from all the ruined bars in Berlin and how some areas around the Berlin Wall have been overtaken by street art galleries and exhibitions.

S6: So that's the murals that you see here are replicas. There is a piece of the Berlin Wall that has also this this next wall to Wall Street.

S1: Oh , yeah. I got the sense when I saw that mural that Alek and Josephine don't like gatekeepers. And they're all about bringing down walls.



S13: Worlds like.

S2: Alex and finance worlds uniting. What ? I'm just being cheesy.

S8: That's cool. I love cheese. Mucho queso.


S2: Her Latin charismatic demeanor is very typical of folks from southern Mexico.

S6: I am originally from Veracruz , from South Mexico. My family moved to Tijuana in 1999. I studied here the high school , and then I decided just to study outside of Mexico , went to live in Madrid. Actually , like the last year of the of university. I met Alek there in Madrid , in Madrid , Spain. My friend told me I.

S2: Stayed in touch and started the relationship when she was in New York for film school.

S1: She then continued her studies in England where they decided to move in together.

S6: What was it like one and a half years ? No one year there. And then we moved to Germany and then we got married in Mexico.

S2: And because Josephine's family was in Tijuana. Alex First contact with Mexico was , well , Tijuana. And it was here that he came across one of the sweetheart seafood taco spots.

S6: And he remembers a lot the first associate , because that was the first time he was in Mexico. So and he remembers a lot in Mesa. So , yes.

S14: When I was in prison in Mexico ? Yes.

S5: Yeah , it was. I mean , all I. All the reputation I knew was from Manu Chao. Like , welcome to the.

S15: Tequila , sex and marijuana.

S5: I was. I was. I was a blank slate. Well , the smell was pretty rough. Then I woke up and I was super hungry , and I stuffed my face was like seven cheese shrimp tacos. I just inhaled them mostly listening. Now , now , when I go to Masa , I barely fit in to like.

S15: How did I eat seven ? How did that work ? I was like.

S1: It did. Alec got bit hard by the Tijuana Taco Bug. I guess he was willing to overlook the smell. I mean , it really only happens when it's super hot and you do get used to it.

S2: That's the magic of tacos , I guess. So he decided to route himself in Tijuana and as an extension of his business already operating in Germany , he opened Bitcoin ATMs in Tijuana.

S1: Yeah , Bitcoin ATMs.

S2: You see , I got into Bitcoin really early.

S1: Like super early.

S5: Yeah , but I mean , in a nutshell , I mean , since I'm involved with cryptocurrencies since 2010 , I found like bitcoin really early.


S2: You want to.


S2: 15. Warmer than thousand. Warmer.

S1: Warmer.

S2: No , wait. Less. 5000.

S5: Nothing there ? Zero. There was literally , like , no marketplaces , so. Yeah. And then. And there , slowly it started like people started trading it for like $0.10. $0.20.

S2: And since he was pioneering this tech , he couldn't hire anyone to take care of his ATM business in Germany or Mexico.

S1: He and Josephina had to be hands on. The business required them to serve as the Bitcoin ATMs in both Germany and Mexico themselves. So they played the geography shuffle.

S2: Splitting their time between Tijuana and Berlin.

S6: So we went to Berlin. We were we we started our life there in 2013. I remember very well. It was June 2013. From 2013 to 2018 , we lived all the time , like half a year in a half year in Berlin.

S5: And then starting 2016 is when it went from year to year.

S2: And as it jumped from one side of the pond to the other , they sprouted a couple of bundles of joy along the way.

S5: Although also a little bit half year , half year.

S6: Because when I was pregnant with our first child , we went back and then we came here and then we stayed here. So that was more or less like it has been really.

S1: And ultimately settling in Tijuana , sensing the spirit of the city and the times , they felt almost a calling to establish a new business here.

S6: Someone told me recently like , Oh , whatever you are , you know , in Tijuana , there's always like people supporting you , like things happening , like , as you said , like the whole downtown is transforming. I think we saw a lot of potential in the city. I mean , because at the end of the day , Tijuana is very young , right ? I always think about the city as and why God is so , so young. And and it is really developing in such a fast way. And there is a lot of potential. There is a lot of things happening here. And if you compare it to Berlin , in a city which many things have , I mean , it's kind of an old city , many things are already there. So there is a lot of room to do new things. In Tijuana.

S2: In 2021 , Josephina and Alek opened up Berlin 89.

S1: Tijuana's first German owned artisanal sausage shop. And speaking of. Sausages.

S13: Sausages.

S14: So first of all.

S2: He treated us to an entree called a platter.

S5: In the sausage I make here is , I would say , way better than many sausages you can find in Germany. I started to make here sausages because , I mean , it's just they're really bad.

S2: It's safe to say that Alec is definitely not shy to flaunt how he feels about the food he makes.

S1: And we have to.

S8: Agree they are good.

S2: I see a. Plateau.

S8: Plateau.

S2: The worst bladder is a sharing entree with an assortment of different sausages and some side dishes. The sausages vary from a more milder bratwurst.

S1: An in-house favorite.

S2: To a spicy polish. In between , you get to sample a variety of house salads , potato salad , cold cut salad and of course , Alex sauerkraut , which is not a solid , but most definitely the best pairing.

S1: All the sausages were super juicy and rich and the salads were a great palate cleanser. But you know what stood out to me , though , was the currywurst and the curry sauce.

S8: Yes , Kiriko.

S1: Like this talks a lot.

S16: It has ketchup. It does.

S5: It has ketchup , but it has.

S16: A lot of other things.

S5: Who sauce , losing sauce , bell peppers , garlic or lots of curry. Obviously.

S16: I can't tell you the whole recipe. No.

S5: Well , if you know that , if you know the German celebrity chefs.

S16: Maybe you could really find the recipe somewhere. It's.

S14: It's in the public domain somewhere.

S16: Somewhere in the public domain. But well , it was it was modified in by my brothers and the the prince of Thailand ate it and then modified by me. So it's in the end always like its own thing.

S2: And with good food.

S8: Oh , cerveza.

S1: Lemon comes. Good drink to pair.

S2: Just look at his fridge.

S5: The Spartan optimal Celebrator Spartan Premium Lager.

S2: And we'd only beer as our national drink. People get creative not just with the types of beers , but with the way they drink it.

S1: Alec Explain the way folks in Germany mix beer with other juices like lemonade.

S5: Some people , even they mix it with banana juice or cherry juice. And the most standard , most familiar one is the lemonade one. And and it's called Radler , which.

S16: Means , yeah.

S5: It is for some it's great. Translated it's a bicyclist. So like you don't it doesn't make you too drunk. You can still , like drive a bike with it basically , you know , because it's like not it's soft.

S2: I like them a lot. They remind me of strange kind of sweet Nicholas.

S1: Angela ? Yeah.

S2: Like Alex said , perfect for a summer de salud. Oh. Alex Love for food stems from his mother's career as a professional chef. Our producer , Julio , sat down to hear the story.

S5: My mother got me into cooking because she's a professional cook , and most people learn becoming cooks by their mothers. Everything starts with the mother. So. And cooking shows.

S1: Alex Mother is English. He said she would make pasties and sausages from scratch. According to Alig , his brother got into the sausage making game as well.

S2: It became a whole family affair.

S5: But actually what went really directly into it was the sauce. The curry sauce , because , well , my father would just do like the standard , which most Germans do and like refine it a little bit. But then my brother's like , got more obsessed in doing it , like , really like a gourmet version. And like , a lot of famous people would come and eat it. And so that recipe that like from that butcher and from my brothers , which they modified that and well together though is of course the knowledge of my mother all went into into this currywurst bratwurst.


S1: It's even safe to say that it is the reason for the whole shop to exist. The creation of that sauce. I really liked it. Just in case you guys missed it. Guys.

S2: Guys. Allen loves Alex Curry sauce.

S1: That's right. But the reason for the existence of Alex Sausage Shop , aside from the curry sauce , is his passion for making really good sausages in a world filled with trash sausages and.

S2: Innovate with crazy fusions.

S5: Well , I produce on demand also like Mr. Sausage. Or I made I made a barbacoa sausage. I mean , like a lot of , like , hardcore traditional Mexican foods and just stuff it all in the sausage. I would even do like Peking and sausage. Peking duck sausage. I did like some really extraordinary things with sausages , like just being like fully creative.

S2: Talk about crossing culinary borders. This man is a culinary coyote sneaking in different flavors into your palate.

S1: On that note , this is another characteristic that makes Alik and Josephina culinary border crossers all flavors unite.

S2: And now we get to enjoy them.

S8: Delicious muy rico.

S1: And after all that food , a break.

S2: You are listening to KPBS , Port of Entry. If really 99 was solely a sausage shop , it would be a damn good sausage shop. But as was mentioned earlier , it's not just the sausage shop. I think I've said sausage shop too many times. I've got a.

S1: Tongue twister in.

S8: English like you needed one. Sausage.

S2: Sausage.

S1: As an enthusiastic cook and cryptocurrency wizard , Alec opened Berlin 89 as a sort of hub to unite his two passions.

S2: Food and decentralized finance.

S1: You see , Berlin 89 is not just a sausage shop.


S5: What's happening now with Bitcoin is that this space is an embassy also where people can get help also for beginners and advanced users or people being abused. Yeah. Berlin 99 Yeah , yeah.

S6: We call it a crypto embassy too. Wow. Yeah. That's why it's kind of important that part.

S1: So Berlin 89 is a place where folks from Tijuana and San Diego meet up , talk , discuss , use and even trade crypto.

S2: That also doubles as an artisanal sausage.

S8: Shop in.

S1: Their own words.

S2: Berlin , 89 , is Tijuana's first crypto embassy.

S1: But before we go down the crypto rabbit hole.

S4: Have you ever heard of bitcoin ? Bitcoin ? Bitcoin saying Bitcoin The.

S16: Bitcoin bitcoins are bitcoin market. It's about $1 billion. It's a novelty.

S14: For the Geek Squad.

S1: In case you've been living under a rock. One of my favorite places to live. Here's a simple explanation.

S2: Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency that uses encryption to secure transactions. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized , meaning they don't rely on governments or financial institutions to verify transactions.

S1: Bitcoin , the first and most well known cryptocurrency , first emerged in 2009. They're created through a process called mining that involves ever increasing massive computer power to verify and record new transactions in a public digital ledger known as the Bitcoin blockchain , which in turn generates bitcoins for the miners.

S2: Think about it as a form of bookkeeping , where all the transactions with Bitcoin get registered.

S1: Every change gets verified by everyone all over the world that uses Bitcoin all the time. If you make one change like make.

S2: A transaction.

S1: Everyone else can see it.

S2: In case you're wondering how to buy or sell Bitcoin from someone else , here's Alec with an even simpler explanation.

S5: A Bitcoin peer to peer transaction is comparable. Let's say with post stamps , someone comes , they give you post stamps , you give him money or the other way around , like more in detail blockchains or Bitcoin. They have these public ledgers and they work with cryptography. So you have always a public key , which is a long alphanumeric number. You can compare it to your home address , so to speak. And so I show him my address and then he sends the coins to my address. It takes a couple of minutes until it's verified because other actors , other network validators in the world , they everyone has the books , so everyone checks if it's a valid transaction or not. Once you verify the transaction , you give him some money in exchange.

S2: In the 15 or so years since Bitcoin emerged as a digital currency , it has risen tremendously in value only to crash and rise again.

S1: Fortunes were made , fortunes were lost and.

S2: Perhaps made again.

S1: Shout out to the Bitcoin bros. I wish I was one of y'all.

S2: Yeah , me too.

S1: But Alec doesn't see it as just an investment vehicle. His reasons for going into Bitcoin have to do more with how he sees the world. Alex own incursion into crypto came about through his finishing with computers and meddling with open source software back in 2008. He would try to find solutions for bugs in the firmware of cameras or other recording equipment he owned.

S2: He appreciated the efforts of members of the open source community made to allow other folks like him to improve their own trade and lives.

S5: There's some universities and some people which said because technologies like developing so fast and people need to learn technology so they would open up all this technology so people can actually have access to it and learn. There's a whole huge movement behind all this. I agree with them because because I think it's nice. It's been a nice experience to live in an open world instead of in a closed world. Simple as that.

S1: So this is where the idea about borders and walls comes in. Open world. No walls. Everyone has access. Closed world border fences and walls go up. Limited access to a privileged few. Alex Worldview is one of an open world , a unified world accessible to all.

S12: What about open software and open source caught your attention.

S5: Open source hardware and open source software opened borders essentially. So since economical borders are like very strong , I instantly fell in love with Bitcoin because it was the first solution which would actually basically have a monetary system which is open , verifiable. You don't need to trust a third party. You can verify it yourself because it's a public ledger essentially. So that was a huge fascination for me. And until today , like still now I'm into this.

S2: To Alex , going into crypto was a natural extension of being involved in open source software.

S1: What made it compelling was that while there was oversight from and collaboration with the people involved.

S2: It did not depend on the control of a private third party like a corporation or government.

S1: It meant going beyond the control set by governments and financial institutions.

S2: It meant going beyond state limitations and borders. So in a sense , Alex , way of life is to cross borders.

S1: His life and work is focused on empowering individuals and decentralizing power from institutions like banks and governments.

S7: So you're a prophet of decentralization ? Well , yes , if this is feasible. It's one of the tragedies , it seems to me. I mean , many people have been talking about the importance of decentralization in order to give back to the.

S1: That was Aldous Huxley , author of Brave New World , interviewed by journalist Mike Wallace.

S2: Alex cites Aldous Huxley as a key figure for his worldview.

S5: He was directly asked by Mike.

S16: Wallace like , hey , like , you.

S5: Know , if you have another chance to write this dystopian book in a more like , utopian , nicer way , what would be what would be your solution ? And he he responded with decentralization , everything like decentralized , decentralized. And then I found out like he's like a hardcore super advocate for decentralization. And that caught my attention. And then I was interested in currencies that are dumb. Then I found Bitcoin pretty early as like because I was doing open source stuff , open hardware and all that.

S1: So you see Alex's decentralization not just as a way to mitigate unfavorable financial situations or as a simple investment vehicle.

S2: But as a way to organize politically and economically. Ultimately , for ALEC , the person who should care the most about your money is , well , you.

S5: It's makes things easier. But I mean , it's a very fundamental question because it requires knowledge , education , even discipline. I mean , it's all it's a lot about responsibility , even like in a way it reminds me also on the existentialists because essentially you are given a lot of responsibility when you open up things , when you when you work with open source hardware and software or in general with a more open society , you automatically have to have more responsibility.

S2: Responsibility for ALEC means that you should practice self-governance.

S1: That is informing yourself , educating yourself and doing the diligent work so that you do not get screwed and can help others not get screwed. And this sort of sentiment is echoed within his circle of crypto meetups.

S2: Our producer Julia , went to one of Alec's Bitcoin reunions , where he met a bunch of interesting characters who , like Alec , have enjoyed the booms and suffer the busts of an early Bitcoin exploration.

S1: And they also share Alex sentiment about the banks.


S12: That's why I started. I hate the banks. Yeah. With a passion. What a passion. Yeah. I'm not done working until every bank's converted into some form of , like , a crypto bank. At least , you know , like , maybe Coinbase buys them out , and they're all , like crypto banks now. Yeah , I don't know.

S1: But as the night kept going , stories about the pandemic inflation crypto skyrocketing and crashing were shared. And.

S8: And.

S1: The recent influx of Ukrainian and Russian refugees into Tijuana was mentioned.

S12: In Russia and Ukraine. Like when they have like the war last year and like the attacks and they're like drafting all the young men , the ones that got out and they're trying to get their money out , that's when they flooded into crypto because you can't get like when.

S2: The war started in Ukraine , Russians who were trying to avoid the draft flooded into the crypto market to get out of Russia.

S12: War torn Ukraine. Right. And you're about to get bombed like you can't carry your house. You can't carry , you know , pounds and pounds of gold or cash on you to another country. But you can with crypto like you can have it in your head , go to a different country , start over , restore your funds with a seed on a different wallet experience.

S8: It turns.

S1: Out that just like ALEC , this group of folks were assisting people from Ukraine and Russia move away from the conflict zone , assisting them peer to peer.

S2: As they were trying to make it to the states or Mexico. Some of these refugees landed in Tijuana , just like Pasha.

S4: Once abroad , I was faced with the fact that my bank cards didn't work due to sanction and the rest of the money was not available. It was necessary to look for a way out. And this way out for me was cryptocurrency. My attention was drawn to the cryptocurrency exchange point in the Berlin Bar and we went to the bar. That's how meet Alec.

S1: The appeal of open source and crypto is in some sense very entrenched in the identity of both ALEC and Josephine. Both grew up understanding the obstacles that border plays between people and lives elite how borders split families and make it super difficult , really almost impossible going from one side to the other.

S5: It's a basic human need. I think we talked about that earlier when I mentioned with these two different types of of people which were like happy having everything sorted out for them and then the others who want to actually , you know , go out and find out their own ways. Josephine and me , we are like of those like we want to , we want to explore , we want to go out , we want to see. So , so that's how we've achieved , you know , going through so many borders , going through so many places.

S2: Since they are now parents of two children are looking to find ways to have their environment make sense to their children as they recognize that they move from one place to another.

S1: And to teach the lessons of the past through the symbols that remain in the present , like the ruins from the Berlin Wall.

S6: I think that if there is no intervention , maybe future generations would not see it as , you know , like as I guess that if you somehow leave a message in this in this type of symbols and if you leave a message that is clearly against what it meant in the past and you're leaving , you know , like a message for future generations to understand not only what it meant , but also what it could cause , you know , these type of borders.

S1: Josephina believes that using these symbols as art , like plastering murals on them , serve as a kind of intervention of that past the political symbols that get erected with a specific intent at one period of time.

S8: Like the Mexican. Wall.

S2: Wall.

S1: Can mean something different at another.

S2: Like intervening symbolically in the present to learn the lessons of the past.

S1: Yes , exactly.

S2: Wait , Do you remember a Trojan horse installation at the San Ysidro port of entry ? Yeah. Or the crosses of the border wall. Exactly.

S1: That's what Josephina means to intervene a symbol.

S2: You know what I learned growing up ? I remember thinking it would feel differently to be on one side of the border than the other. You know , almost like stepping into another dimension. But I remember how profoundly anti-climactic and ordinary it felt sticking my leg on the other side of the steel wars. I don't know. Nothing happened. I was still me.

S1: Yeah , I think this is something that's that's clear to us. People who can cross the border , how normal it is going from one side to the other.

S8: Alek and Josephina.

S1: Work really hard to explain all of this to their kids.

S6: I can start a conversation with her about what it means , right ? To have so , so , so such such a border. So like these walls , you know , why was it there ? A division ? It could even cause that she starts asking herself , you know , Wait , wait , wait , wait. We are in the same city and in and in the same city , there was this big divide.

S1: The moving between spaces is very keen to us border folk. Yet I think the rashness with which we try to designate limits between this plot of land versus the other the oneness of the earth pushes back.

S6: This wall is dividing two countries , two worlds. And in in those days it was dividing maybe just two ideologies in a certain way. You know.

S5: Usually it's yes , one world. We go from one world to another. Although , I mean , I also like to point out , of course , that this is like a human construct. It's a human created artificial construction. And you can see birds just flying right over it.

S2: I think Alek has a point. Life and nature ultimately overtakes our attempts to create walls. I mean , bird's nest over the wall in hunt on either side , plants take over buildings , mosaic holes under the wall. The monarch butterfly still makes its way from Michoacan to Vancouver. And if they can't , they find ways.

S8: Yeah , and I don't.

S1: Think we're any different. People will always flock to the places where they can prosper , like moving from a conflict zone like Ukraine to San Diego or Tijuana using crypto. Really , the more I think about it , the interconnectedness of life just doesn'trillionecognize how we organize our constructs , wither away , and life steps over with no clear sense of where it begins or where it ends. Kind of like the murals at Berlin 89.

S2: This episode of Port of Entry was written produced by Julio Cesar Ortiz.

S8: Luca Vega is.

S1: Technical producer and sound. Designer.

S13: Designer.

S2: Lobos is media production specialist.

S1: Elisa Barba is our editor.

S2: Lisa Morissette is director of audio programming and operations , and John Tucker is senior director of content development.

S1: This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting , a private corporation funded by the American people.

S2: This project was also made possible with support from California Humanities , a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit Call Home. Org Features a service. Nos. Vemos.

S8: Pronto Nunca.

Berlin 89: A Crypto Embassy for the People!

Alec and Josefina are a couple whose whole spin on life is to breach borders; international, financial and culinary. Together they opened up Berlin 89, a sausage deli bar in downtown Tijuana that doubles as a cryptocurrency embassy. Recent world events have turned their shop into a beacon of hope for those looking for a way to bring a sense of normalcy back into their lives. Tune in!



Port of Entry is back after a long hiatus and is excited to share a whole new set of stories with you, this time centered around food and migration.

This season we share several stories about how food has changed cities in the borderlands, including episodes on folks who have made Valle de Guadalupe, the famous wine region of northern Baja, their home.

Follow hosts Natali Gonzalez and Alan Lilienthal as they sit down with these fascinating people who share their personal and family stories. Listen in and join us!

If you like this episode, show us some love @portofentrypod


From KPBS, PRX and California Humanities, “Port of Entry” tells cross-border stories that connect us.

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“Port of Entry'' is written, produced and directed by Julio C. Ortiz Franco. Luca Vega is our Technical Producer and Sound Designer.

Alisa Barba is our editor.

Episodes are translated by Julio C. Ortiz Franco and Natali Gonzales.

Elma Gonzalez and M.G. Perez are our Spanish Editors.

Lisa Morrisette-Zapp is Director of Audio Programming and Operations and John Decker is the Director of Content Development.

This program is made possible, in part, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.