Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 6 — LA Friends Visit, Classical Guitar and First Tours.  

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Chapter 6. LA Friends Visit. Classical Guitar and First Tours.  

 

Waking up doesn’t matter. When you are a freelance writer, time is only a factor when you have a deadline. And I have none.

 

I set one for myself. I have to finish that morgue article by early tomorrow.

 

It’s going. It’s not my favorite. But it’s going. I should finish it after this. After some breakfast.


Before moving to Tijuana in 2012, I left all my shit at my brother’s house and flew to Querétaro to visit my parents who still lived in my hometown. I also went to check out if moving back there was a possibility and to see old friends.

Fuck no.

It wasn’t a possibility. 

I haven’t been back since then. It’s been over 6 years. My parents moved over to Tijuana shortly after I decided I wasn’t moving back.

There was nothing there for me. All the jobs sucked. Most my friends were married with kids.

Absolutely fucking nothing. 

Boring town.

Also, Xolos de Tijuana played Gallos Blancos de Querétaro the weekend I was there, and my hometown lost. That just reaffirmed what I already knew. I’m staying in Tijuana.

Not to mention that I was still used to America and I didn’t want to move that far from the US.

 


 

Thus my days of Tijuana began.


 

I did nothing for months. I had the fantasy of living with my classical guitar degree. I practiced daily. I set up lessons at Café Diógenes. I was a cheap fucking bastard charging 50 pesos per half an hour. That quickly increased to 100 pesos when I realized that I was actually good at giving lessons. I had five students that I saw every week. The youngest was 7 and he was learning nothing. The oldest was 50+ and was loving every lesson. There were a couple of younger guys that were also liking the lessons.

 

It never went anywhere. I stopped giving lessons after a few months.

 


 

I also started going to fine dining restaurants asking if I could play there. Most shut me down.

 

It was the Marriott Hotel that offered me to play in the lobby for $40 + tips for 4 hours. I took it. 

 

I never made much money with my guitar. So that was great.


 

I did a couple of gigs in San Diego for a similar price. I also tried getting classical guitar gigs in fine dining places in the US. With no car or gear, it was impossible. Not to mention that the competition is pretty stiff.


 

The first day that I got to the Marriott, no one told them that a guitarist will be playing in the lobby.

 

It was a mess.


I played there for a month. It was always a mess. But I fared well enough. I would get a free meal and play my set three or four times. Basically, just practiced.

 

Old people were lovely. An older woman sat with her husband and listened to me for more than 20 minutes. They gave me $20 dollar tip and told me I was wonderful.

 

That was probably the best that came from playing at the Marriott.


After a month, they didn’t want to pay me anymore. So I left.

 

Back to nothing.


 

I spent my days counting the rest of my savings from the car I sold. Avoiding work or getting a job. Sort of like I’m doing now. Living with the bare minimum. Depressed. Lonely. Doing absolutely nothing but waiting till I ran out of money.


 

The only joy came when friends from LA visited. And that was very limited.


It was the brothers, Hudson and Penner, who were my first somewhat customers. Hudson was going through a divorce while Penner was going through marriage problems since his wife decided to be a heavy girl pornstar and have an open relationship.

 

Yep.

 

Both going through weird shit.


 

Hudson and Penner were my best friends in Los Angeles. Hudson and I worked together for over a year doing paparazzi business. Penner worked for TMZ and we would also work together often enough. 


 

Hudson had quit his paparazzo job by then and got a job in tech writing code. Penner still worked for TMZ (but doesn’t anymore).


They visited me a few times. They both already had experience in Tijuana decades before. Everything was different for them. Everything was still pretty new to me. 

 

I had no idea what I was doing.

 

But they liked how I would take them through Tijuana streets, bars, food, and strip clubs.


 

We ended up in a really shitty strip club on Calle Sexta (that club lasted less than four months before it shut down). There was no one there but ghetto looking waiters and four half-naked girls… and of course us.

 

They gave us tequila shots and beers for cheap. Girls danced in the vicinity and though they were gross, we were having a fun time. I was hanging out with my best friends in a shithole in Tijuana. And they were paying for everything. 


 

We moved to different bars, a punk show, and to other strip clubs.


 

Back in early 2012 there wasn’t much in the city but that. Especially downtown Tijuana. The city was still trying to define itself. It was mostly abandoned except for cheap clubs and shitty dive bars. It’s not what it is now.

 

So much changed in a few years.

 

There are so many craft breweries now. And I barely, almost never, go to strip clubs.


 

Hudson and Penner wouldn’t recognize this Tijuana anymore. They haven’t visited since then. I visited Hudson in Los Angeles a couple years ago, and we still talk. I should visit him in LA soon again.

 

Hudson got remarried again, this time to an Australian woman who cooks amazing. They seem happy. There excuse for not coming down is that they were waiting for the marriage papers to confirm the Aussie so she can travel out of the US. 

 

I’m not sure what is their excuse now. But I am for sure due to a trip to Los Angeles. It’s been over a year since I’ve visited.

 

I hate LA. But it’s always good just for a visit.

 

Especially to hang out with Hudson.


That night, while having a cigarette outside a bar, this cute girl with freckles all over her face and really curly black hair came up to me drunkenly and said, “ay tink choo are the lov of ma laif.”

 

SCORE!

If you can’t read that. She said, “I think you are the love of my life.” 

 

She was cute. Very cute. And she hugged me right away. 

 

She was also very drunk.

 

I played the dumb Gringo card and pretended I didn’t speak Spanish. She talked to her friends in Spanish about how she wanted to fuck me. This went on for a while until I started laughing… 

 

Then I told her in Spanish that I heard everything. She blushed and went back to her friends. Hudson told me I should take her home. 

 

But no. We moved on.

 

And yes. I did get her Facebook. 

 


 

The next morning, after partying all night… They were the ones that told me. Hudson and Penner.

 

“You should do tours,” and they insisted on giving me $100 just for having them over. 

 

I never saw myself as a tour guide. But they convinced me. And I was running out of money and didn’t have a job.

 


 

They told me they had one of the best nights they had in a long time and told me they will be back soon. They came twice more. They told a lot of people in LA about Tijuana and other friends from LA ventured down. I started giving tours to my friends free of charge but they would insist on giving me money.


I started laying the foundations for a tour guide website and learning more about the city and where to take people. 

 

Then I realized there other tour guides in the city. I asked for a job with one of them. They basically told me to fuck off and I received threats from friends of the other tour guides. 

 

This also inspired to create my own touring website.


 

All I needed is a name. The rest was basically set.


 

Burgers Part 2: A Food Bloggers Nightmare – No Tj Burgers, San Diego Only – MishMash and The Royale Reviewed

Burgers explained.


I was supposed to work on a text about the best burgers in Tijuana. That was going to be my third year doing a write-up.

The problem is, Tijuana doesn’t have that many great burgers, and I cannot repeat a place.

Everyone recommended Slow Burger… but here’s the thing. I don’t like it. They are not good burgers. It’s not a good restaurant in general. I am thinking of giving it YET another chance, but it’s been like 5 chances already.

But again, people love Carls Jr. So there’s that.


I chose a few places to write about and one in San Diego. The Friendly.

The Friendly was going to be my intro and say that there is not a burger in Tijuana that is as good and solid as The Friendly, which is the shittiest best burger one can ever have. It’s dirty. It’s cheap. It’s a greaseball. And you cannot modify it.

It’s Randy BoBandy’s ideal of a burger. Junk perfection. Go get one.


Then I was going to mention that there are some burger places in Tijuana that are worth it.

So I started my investigation.

And…

The first burger got me really sick.

LIKE REALLY SICK.

Warning. You might wanna skip between the next lines.


SKIP.


I’m not going to disclose the place because I believe it was a stupid mistake. I’ve eaten there before and I was fine. Not this time. This time… it was horrible.

I had the burger. It tasted fine. It was going to be a positive write-up. It was a normal evening. Went home and felt like always felt (in a deep pit of depression… I’m kidding).

At 4 a.m…. my stomach started bothering me. Like a sharp pain in the gut. Knives. Knives perforating under the skin.

Got up. Went to the toilet. Exploded. Painfully.

Felt gross. Thought it was over. Went back to bed.

Less than an hour later, the pain was back. I tried to ignore it and tried to go back to sleep. Nope. Decided to get up for an Alka-Seltzer, and as soon as I got up… I felt it. The pain was worse than before.

Ran to the sink. And barfed. Barfed. Barfed. Barfed like a mother fucker. Just kept barfing until I almost filled it up with barf.

It hurt so much I was crying. It felt so fucking gross.

I showered. And cried. While barfing in the shower.

My stomach was empty. The knives were still there. And I kept barfing.


CONTINUE.


After that, I told the editor and the gang of writers that I was out. I couldn’t even eat or smell a burger. The idea of it sounded disgusting…

But of course, a few days later I had to be in charge of the photography.

I was sick for a couple of weeks. Anything I ate, my stomach wasn’t happy. I tried to eat healthier and calmer. It helped, but it was still bad. My burger and food craving, in general, was at its lowest.

GREAT!

Nightmare: A food blogger with absolutely no appetite.


Still. Work calls me. And my gig is sweet. I had a list of fourteen burger places to visit. I wanted to hit them all up. Then I saw how difficult that was as a task ahead and ended up going to eight. Not bad.

Pictures are GREAT!

Some of my favorites.

And I get to try some of the best burgers in San Diego. And I have a favorite one for sure. The one that revived my appetite and made me not lose all hope that burgers disgust me from now on. I’m just… really fucking picky.


The first burger I had was at MishMash in Barrio Logan.

Highlights: The mother fucking cheese is DELICIOUS!

Here’s the owner handing me the burger:

When I got there… I was still a bit disgusted by burgers. And this is a monster burger. It started fine, then I noticed that it was very spicy. I thought it was the sauce, but noped. More bites. Ok. There’s habanero in there somewhere.

I mentioned the spicy to the chef. Oh yeah.

They make their own cheese. And the one I got was infused with habanero. REALLY nice kick.

I couldn’t wolf it all down like my prefer eating method because… again… my appetite was low. But I finished the burger. And when I was done… I didn’t feel good.

NOT THE BURGER’S FAULT. My stomach was just not cooperating.


No need to skip.

It wasn’t horrible as the last time.


After that, a stranger joined me for the second burger. That stranger, Marta!


I had the idea of creating like some sort of food club. That way we can all go to one place, get a lot from the same menu, and have conversations about food.

Also, I can take tons of pics.

I’m busy, so I haven’t been able to form this club. But many people seemed interested.

Marta was one of them.

So she joined me for my burger quest.


Second on the list was The Royale in Mission Beach. Marta picked me up and we drove there.

This burger looked REALLY good. I actually wanted to eat it. It is smaller and it just looked jampacked with flavor. It looked more like the burger I needed with my weak stomach instead of the monstrosity at MishMash. But as much as I wanted for my beast of an appetite to be there… it wasn’t.

Told you it looked good.

I tried the onion rings. They were good damn onion rings.

And the restaurant is beautiful in general. Super nice aesthetic. So nice, that while we were there, a large group of people with cameras arrived. A meetup group called @BeersandCameras. They were all shooting film. There are some behind the scenes of me taking pictures of the burgers on my personal Instagram here.


Yes. Marta enjoyed the burger. And I enjoyed the company.

My old roommate, the Chadmaster joined us.


And turns out. He is good friends with the owners of this place.

And it turns out… they previously crashed in my apartment.

And it turns out… that he got the same burger.

Look at that beauty.


Despite not fucking trying it… I rank it as one of the best burgers out there.

Seriously.

Just from the smell, the pictures, and the groans of satisfaction of Marta and Chad (hahaha I made it sound gross). It’s also cute. I like those type of pickles. Mustard seeds look amazing. Bacon, onions, and cheese. Fuck.

I know I’ll have to try it.

Again. My appetite was non-existent.


One burger revived it and made me believe in burgers again. That one burger… on the next post.


To read what other writers wrote about the burgers, click here!