Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 10 — New Apartment, New Not-crazy Roommate, Co-worker Experiences Zona Norte.

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Chapter 10. New Apartment, New Not-crazy Roommate, Co-worker Experiences Zona Norte.

 

I haven’t been working lately. It has been slow these past few days. I don’t like it because I’m not making any money.


 

I started taking pictures of pretty girls posing. I’m back in the photography game. I’m good at it. But I’m not sure if I love it. I just want to do it to make money. And I figured taking pictures of pretty girls is where there is money.

 

That. And pictures of food.

 

And photojournalism.

 

I can do all types of pictures. I’m making some money out of photojournalism. I have a gig to take care of this week. But I need more money.

 

And I just started taking pictures of girls modeling. I’m not sure where I’m going with it. I’m never sure where I’m going in life.


 

I don’t think no one ever does.


 

I haven’t been writing. But I finally pitched something to my editor and I will be working on it next week. Leaving Tijuana for a while. I need to get away.


 

Just like I got away from living with Mrs. Palída Hortaliza.

 

Holy shit that was terrifying.


 

So now I was living in the same ghetto building in downtown Tijuana. I never described it well. 

 

It’s a red building. It’s almost prison-like but not that horrible. The narrow corridor is dark and the stairs are of simple cement with black handrails. There were 12 units in there. The apartment that I moved out of was on the third and last story. It had nice light and a small balcony with nice views. Neighbors on each side that were okay and some in the bottom that I never really saw.

 

The apartment I moved in was in the middle level of the building. Surrounded by every apartment and right in front of the main stairs.

 

I heard every single movement in the complex.

 

The grumpy mechanic neighbors. The weird neighbor that owned a BMW and claimed to be a videographer but still shot film. Families that kept to themselves but looked scared. The guy that most definitely sold drugs. You know. Downtown Tijuana.


 

Boxy small two-bedroom apartment in the middle of the complex. The balcony for that apartment hit a wall of the building next door. The saddest balcony in history. That was the view from my room as well.

 

The light was shit. And I had a dusty extra room for rent. 

 

Almost no furniture at all. Just my computer and my kitchen shit. Still, no internet and my new room didn’t reach the Wifi from the old corner.


 

It was shitty. But I was happy. 

 

Working every day at an office for $800 a month and paying $280 for a two-bedroom wasn’t that bad.


 

It didn’t take me long to find a roommate to split rent with. He barely lived in Tijuana so I barely saw him.

 

We are still good friends to this day. So for the purposes of this text let’s call him Ricardo. Yeah. Why not.


 

Ricardo showed me the joys of Zona Norte outside Hong Kong.


 

Up to this point, I have only been talking great about the sexual palaces in Zona Norte. Well… now it’s time to talk about the shitholes.


 

Introducing La Nueva Pachanga.

 

Just a few steps away from Hong Kong is this lovely place.


 

Ricardo took me walking through Zona Norte, but the opposite way I’m used to entering. This time, we walked from west to east on Calle Primera. Before this, I haven’t even walked on Calle Primera besides by the Hong Kong area.

 

The area is gnarly. I rarely walk through that area now. Despite living a block from it. And a few blocks from Calle Primera, near La Internacional… Yeah. Don’t walk there. It’s too gruesome.

 

Shit. I live right there and I don’t dare cross certain streets. Too many drugs in this town.


 

And that’s where Ricardo was taking me.

 


 

Behind heavy blue curtains with a heavy stench of smoke, you’ll find a more pleasant stench… of piss and ammonia. Rats crawled by the floor and by the cracks on the ceiling. Beers are cheaper than in the store. And Ricardo walked in as if nothing. As if it wasn’t a weird place. As if it wasn’t the shittiest bar in existence.


 

The joys of La Nueva Pachanga.

 


 

This is where sad hookers end the night. The old ones that couldn’t make any money sit at the bar and let old men buy them drinks. That’s all they need.


 

It’s a wormhole into another dimension. A few yards away people are living lavishly surrounded by beautiful naked women throwing money in the air like they just don’t care.

 

And in La Nueva Pachanga people count pennies to get a drink. 

 

Shoe shiners come in and offer to clean your shoes if you buy them a beer or a taco. 

 

Junkies come in for a fix that is easily available in one of the shady corners of the bar.

 

Drunk old hookers with scars or barely passable men dressed in drag dance on the dirty pole hoping someone will give them a dollar. Usually, no one does. 

 

There’s a gambling machine similar to pachinko but with a soccer theme that is supposedly illegal. But who cares. The short employee dances while he mops the floor over and over. Tipping him a coin would result in him promptly going to the soccer pachinko machine to try his luck. 

 

Somehow, the jukebox is outstanding, it has an eclectic collection which includes numerous great bands. And the speakers sound good for how loud they usually have them and how shit the bar is.

 

Posters on the wall seem to be there since decades ago. Chivas, the soccer team, stomping on their rivals, America. Pictures of the team from seasons ago when they were actually good. Misspelled handwritten signs inform you of the prices.

 

2 Pasifico Caguama 50 pesos


 

Ricardo bought me a 10 pesos shot of tequila.

 

Tequila el muerto, 10 pesos

 

You read that right.

 

That’s around 60 cents for a shot.

 

Obviously, it was fucking disgusting.

 

But there we went again. Took a couple more 10 pesos shots and got some beers.


 

Beers, again, are cheaper than the store. They don’t taste right but for around $3 for two giant 1.27 liter beers it’s a steal. Jukebox is cheap. The soccer pachinko machine is fun. The people that enter are insanely colorful. 

 

It’s the end of life.


 

I became addicted to it.

 

To that disgusting yet interesting wormhole and walking around the gruesome Calle Primera. 

 

I rarely walk through there anymore.


 

I became addicted to the stupid soccer pachinko machine. 5 pesos for seconds of entertainment and every once in awhile win some money. I’ve lost around $30 playing that stupid shit but got much entertainment out of it. Worth it. I would still go back just for that fucker.

 

And the pool table is not that bad. It’s crooked and used as fuck. But 25 cents games. Beat that. 


 

It’s been a long time since I went to La Nueva Pachanga.

 

It’s been a long time since I went to Hong Kong. 


 

I had a co-worker who was moving from Los Angeles to Tijuana to join the gang of writers in the office.

 


 

El Pinche Kevin. A Mexican-American kid that wanted to pursue a career in writing sports. The kid now is an editor for some other shit.


 

But I remember to perfection when I introduced to el Pinche Kevin the double whammy.


 

Fucker was only 20-years-old when he moved to Tijuana. He had never been in a bar in his whole fucking life.

 

Can you imagine that?!


 

Of course, he had drunk before. This kid went to high school in California and partied.

 

But not bars.

 

And not like this.


 

Take 1.

 

Hong Kong. Or I think for starters it was Adelita’s.


It was Adelita’s.

 

He had never been to a bar, much less one with naked women everywhere.


 

I lied. I don’t remember the night as perfectly as I wish. Memory is a bitch. And I’ve been Zona Norteando way too much that memories mix.


 

It had to be Adelita’s. It’s usually better to start there than to go to Hong Kong.

 

I remember he bought a girl a drink and was disappointed by it.


That got him ready for Hong Kong. Yadda yadda yadda.

 

Strippers and fun.

 

Dollars poorly or very well spent. It depends on how you look at it. It depends on how much money you make.

 

I wasn’t making much.

 

Neither was him.

 

So we didn’t stay there long.

 

I just showed him the joys of Zona Norte at around 2 pm. 

 


 

Of course, no trip was complete without Nueva Pachanga now.


 

That’s the TJ experience. Well… the real Zona Norte experience.

 

Shithole to fancy sex palace in seconds.

 

You have to see both.

 

Otherwise, you are doing it wrong.

 

And behind heavy curtains in Zona Norte, you don’t know what you are going to find.


 

It’s like a game show where you get to choose a door and see what happens.

 

Some might be shitholes with sad old dancers, drunks, and drugs.

 

Others might be completely empty with maybe one hot girl.

 

Playboy for some reason always has a group of Asians.

 

Zona Norte.

 

Just enter it. At any fucking given time. It’s almost 11:00 a.m. right now and I could venture behind heavy curtains indoors of Zona Norte and who the fuck knows what I’m going to find.

 

Hong Kong is a guarantee that it will be the same for now. Same with Adelita’s.

 

But the rest.

 

Who the fuck knows. Some shit for sure. I was curious to find out. And I did a lot.

 

But for now.

 

Let’s go back to the double whammy.


 

Leaving Hong Kong is difficult. Or it used to be. There are too many naked women that it’s hypnotizing and it pulls you back.

 

So it’s best to snap the fuck out of it.

 

And how better to snap the fuck out of than entering a different reality.


That’s what I ohh shit… Come back to it later, I just got called for some work.


If you enjoyed this, please support me at: https://www.patreon.com/Matingas

Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 9 — Pale Happiness.

If you enjoyed this, please support me at: https://www.patreon.com/Matingas


Chapter 9. Pale Happiness.

 

There are three draft emails in my inbox that I have kept for over a year. They are query/pitches to editors at Playboy, the New Yorker, and the Rolling Stone. I never had the balls to send it. I fear both: rejection and acceptance. 


It’s been slow lately. I did what my editors asked. I queried some stories. And now I don’t want to do those stories. So I’m thinking about querying again. Because I need to make money. 


 

So let’s go back to telling stories of Tijuana. This wasn’t what I originally set to write ever. It just happens.


 

I knew it was a mistake moving in with her after the first night there. 

 

Nothing happened at night. I don’t really remember the night. It was probably uneventful. Me moving shit and setting up my room. My iMac where I currently type this was in a lonely corner of a small decent room in some ghetto Tj apartment.

 

Rent was $280 a month, I paid her first month + deposit. Split into two, $140+ expenses to live in that boxy apartment with her was a great deal. Better than my parents.

 

Nothing happened that night.


 

I awoke to the sounds of her singing scales with her keyboard. She was doing it wrong.

 

I ignored it. That was her thing. Play keyboards and sing. I’ve seen her done it before.

 

That’s how we met.


 

Oh yeah. I met her before and I already knew she was crazy. I moved in thinking, “how bad can it be.”

 

It was bad since that first morning.


 

We met randomly at some hipster event in Pasaje Gómez, an arts alley. Local Tijuanenses were selling homemade Etsy-like shit. I went there with my guitar because my brother asked me to help him with his stand. So I played guitar while people browsed his store.


 

She sat next to me and said nothing.


Then on her weird accent and soft voice, she said: “hi, you… play pretty…” She said it in Spanish, but it sounded like she didn’t know the language well. And the inflection of her voice goes up and down in an odd fashion.

 

Nothing happened that day. I met a weird pale chick and thought nothing of it.


 

Weeks later I saw her pale face at a punk show in Mous Tache bar. That’s what I kept doing those days. Drinking a lot of cheap shit and going to punk shows.

 

She was selling weed cookies and I bought some from her. They were pretty bad.


 

I went to the show by myself and she sold cookies to people on the crowd. I didn’t pay attention to her much, but as the show ended and the beers hit me way more than the cookies, I was ready to go home. This is back when I was still living with my parents.

 

She said she had more weed at her house and invited me over to her place.

 

We walked back to her place.

 

We fooled around on her couch.

 

Then nothing happened and I fell asleep.

 

Her weed was shitty. Didn’t even smoke it. I was too tired.


 

Months later she told me she needed a roommate. Months later I was ready to get out of my parents’ house.

So fuck it. I knew she was crazy, but I moved in any way.


 

She came out of her room that first morning after singing scales wearing a long white gown. Those type of pajama gowns that you only see grandmas wearing. 

 

I told her I wanted to put some plates and shit that was kitchen-related in the drawers of the kitchen.

 

She replied “but we already have plates. Why would you want to put more plates there?”

 

I told her because they were my plates and she had her plates. 

 

The “we” thing was enough of a sign.

 

She complained and said they would gather dust.

 

So great…

 

Two boxes of kitchen shit that was my property were not welcome in the kitchen we were supposed to be sharing.

 

Fuck it. I’ll survive a few months with a crazy chick and leave…

 


 

I left the apartment to go to work. Office at 10:00 a.m.


 

Before moving in, I made her clear of two things. We weren’t going to hook up at all and that I need internet to work.


 

She texted me at lunch time “please buy toilet paper because we need some.”

 

I ignored it.

 

“We also need soap, sponges, and shampoo.”

 

I ignored it again.

 

“Buy this type of shampoo.”

 

I texted her back that I wasn’t buying her all that shit but that I agreed with the toilet paper.


 

I came home and she had done nothing all day.

 

I asked about the internet. She said she was going to get it. 

 

I asked what she did all day and she basically just sat in the apartment, cleaned it, and watched movies on her laptop.


 

I told her I had more shit that I wanted to move into the apartment. My TV and some furniture.

 

She said she didn’t want a TV in the apartment because she would watch it too often. And she didn’t want any more furniture because they get dirty.


 

The only internet I could get was in the corner of my room. I stole the signal from a neighbor and it was low and crappy. But that corner was the only place.

 

So that’s where I stayed for the rest of my night until rinse and repeat.


 

Following morning I come out of my room, shower, and got ready to work.

 

She was in the kitchen spreading some avocado on a piece of toast.

 

I told her that avocados are one of the only things I don’t like.

 

She turns around and says: “oh really?”

 

She then grabbed the avocado and started smushing it all over her face. Eww, why?

 

Because it was an avocado skin beauty mask according to her. It wasn’t. It was avocado spread unevenly on her face to spite me.

 

She then grabbed the other half of the avocado and said: “you don’t like it? What if I do this?” She lifted her gown and gestured touching herself with the avocado.

 

I didn’t fall for her game. Have a good day. Going to work.


I came home at night to find out that she did nothing about the internet.

 

She said she didn’t want internet in the apartment anymore. I needed it for work… 

 

She said she worked online. 

 

What did she do? She went to coffee shops and sold books on eBay for pennies. Books that her parents bought her for college.


 

How she paid rent or anything was always a mystery. I thought she sold weed or did something. But no. I suspect her parents gave her a small stipend and she would spread that stipend as best as she could throughout the whole month. Doing absolutely nothing. Wasting money.


She would also drag her piano and play in public. She barely even knew chords or music. I told her I could teach her but she adamantly said no.

 

She would grind on the piano seat, play random keys, and sing and moan. She told me once, that as an artist, her objective was to have an orgasm on stage in front of people.

 

She had cardboard cutouts in her room. Not official ones. It was just literal cardboard from a box, that she DIY and then crudely drew on them. They were supposedly Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Prince, and John Lennon. She said they were her backup band.

 

She lacked talent and self-awareness. She was also shy and odd.

 

And again, her pale face and weird accent didn’t help.


 

Her name wasn’t Palída Hortaliza. I learned that quick. Her name, according to her, and the landlord was “Alegría.” Happiness. 

 

That’s what she had me called her.

 

Way later after moving out, I found out her real name. 

 

I’ve only seen her once again and I’m not sure if it was her. It was like seeing the devil.


 

I had planned to move out after my two months since I had already paid for them. I told her that I was moving out because she refused to get internet and I needed a place with internet.


 

One day, I came back from work to find out that the couch she had in the living room was gone.

 

She sold it on eBay for $1 USD to a buyer from Arizona. She carried and dragged the old worn-out couch to the border. Crossed it over. Walked over to the nearest post office. Paid $37 to have the couch shipped.

 

Why?

 

Because she didn’t want the buyer to give her a bad review on eBay.

 

Two weeks later. She got a one-star review from that customer.


 

So she wasn’t only crazy in the schemes of being crazy. She also just plainly didn’t make sense.

 

And the type of texts of her demanding shit continued. She kept telling me to buy certain things. Or that the apartment needed something. That “we” needed something.

 

All of that happened in less than a week.


 

I established my boundaries once more. But that didn’t work.


Oh shit yeah.

 

I forgot. 

 

The second night I was there… she started crying out of nowhere. I asked her what was wrong, why was she crying?

 

She replied, “I cry every night because no one loves me.”

 

And she did.

 

I heard her sobbing every night. It wasn’t the quiet type of sobbing. She wanted the neighborhood to know she was crying.

 

And then she would wake up at the crack of dawn to practice singing. Scales played wrongly and her voice not even close to matching the notes being played.


So. To recap.

 

She demanded shit via text. She sold shit on eBay but lost money while selling (and most of her day). She didn’t want a TV because she would spend too much time watching it, but she would watch movies she downloaded on her laptop all day. She wanted to be a singer but was nowhere close to reality in being one. 

 

And on top of all that, she demanded to clean everything extensively. Because that’s what she did all day.

 

I decided to only be in my room and go out to use the bathroom. I never used the kitchen. I always ate out because she would complain.

 

I felt like a prisoner in my own apartment.

 

That’s how it was for another week.


Things got worse.

 

She would demand more things from me, and when I refused she went crazy.

 

She told me the story of why she got kicked out of her parents’ house once.

 

In her own soft awkward inflection voice, the story goes like this:

 

“So… I was at my parents’ house. And I got bored. And I grabbed drawings that my brother had made. He was in art school. Well. I grabbed them and smeared la regla on all of them. Then I showed them what I did during dinner.”

 

She then gave me a sly smile.

 

I didn’t know what she meant by “la regla” which Spanish means “the ruler.” I was confused.

 

She kept saying la regla… la regla… as if it had more significance.

 

Then she said it.

 

“I menstruated on my brother’s drawings.”

 

La regla is another way to say she had her period.


 

And she was proud.

 

She told that story as if she was an artistic genius. As if she did something amazing.


She told me another story.

 

“Another time, I grabbed my parents and sat them down in the living. I unbuckled my belt and stripped naked. I kept the belt in my hand and started hitting the floor and hitting myself until I was bleeding. I kept hitting myself and the floor and screaming: ESTO ES LO QUE ME HICIERON!” 

 

“This is what you did to me.”

 

I have no idea what her parents ever did to her.

 

Shit was scary.

 

I just wanted the two months to fly so I can find another place.


 

It was two weeks into living with her that I came into the apartment and found a handwritten letter from her.

 

The letter was accusing me of being a bad roommate and telling me that she was going to charge me for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom because I didn’t clean. 

 

It basically said that. But it was written on both sides of the page. 

 


 

I saw her that night and told her she had to be joking. There was no way I was going to pay for her cleaning. She wanted a ludicrous amount as well. Like three times what a maid would charge me to clean the apartment.

 

I refused.


 

She started hitting herself.

 

Slowly on her chest at first.

 

Like pounding on her chest with her closed right fist while staring at me.

 

She started pounding harder and harder. Clearly hurting herself. 

 

She then said it.

 

“I’m going to call the cops and tell them you raped me.”

 

And she started beating herself up more.


I closed the door to my room in a panic. I posted on Facebook what I was going through in case things got out of control people knew what was going on. 

 

I opened the door after a few minutes to find that she was still hitting herself. 

 

I left the apartment and went next door to the gas station.


 

The guy in charge of the building worked in the gas station, he told me to called him “Tache”. Luckily, he was there that night. I panicky told him what was happening. 

 

Tache, with his broad white mustache and greasy hands, said: “se le boto la canica, verda’?” Which means she went crazy, right?

 

I told him I noticed the apartment below was empty and asked him if I could move there that same night. He calmed me down and told me not to worry. He gave me the keys to the empty apartment and went over to the apartment to talk to Alegría.

 

She had calmed down but she had some blood on her forehead and bruises on her arms and chest.

 

I told her, through Tache, that I was there to grab my things and that I was moving out.


 

I grabbed my bed, my computer, some other basic things, and went to the apartment downstairs.


The following morning, with the help of Tache, I went back to the apartment for the rest of my shit. She sat in the living room observing me move out all my shit.

 

As I was moving the shit out and taking it to the other place… she grabbed a chair from her room, went to the apartment complex tiny ass patio, sat down with a massive book (seemed like a textbook for coding which I’m sure she wasn’t reading) and kept observing me.


 

She never said a word to me.

 

I never said a word to her.


A few days later she was gone. 

 

Tache told me that she abandoned some shit in the apartment. Her backup band of crude cardboard cutouts. Some random clothes and broken heels. Books and notebooks with scribbles of her poetry. Other crap.

 

She was also didn’t pay rent and left with the keys. The rent money I gave her…

 

The only thing that she took with her was her keyboard.


 

And now I had my own two-bedroom apartment in Tijuana. Two weeks free rent because Tache hooked it up and understood the situation.


You the man, Tache!


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