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 8 — Life Low Points. 

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


Chapter 8. Life Low Points. 

 

I am waiting for nightfall just so I can start drinking. It’s Saturday so I don’t feel like doing any actual work. I almost didn’t do any actual work all week. Just some photography.


 

The editor forgot to pay me for the morgue story. Rare mistake, he usually pays me quickly. I’ll have to wait two more weeks for that money. I should be working on my stories, but I’m not sure what I’m doing or what to start writing next.


 

So I wait for the sun to go away so I can have an excuse to drink. There as a soccer game on TV in a couple hours and I want to watch and use it as an excuse to start drinking, but I can’t. I have little family errands to do at the same time. Once I accomplish those, I can start drinking.


 

Despite not working much, the week was semi-productive. I did photography work more than anything. One paid gig. Two unpaid. The unpaid was photographing pretty girls. I barely just started doing that. I took pictures of many Victoria Secret models and some of the most beautiful women in the world back in my paparazzo days. But this is different. Much different. And I’m not sure what I’m doing, but I’m having fun.


 

If you are wondering.

 

No. The psycho stripper was not pregnant with my baby.


 

Turns out she was trying to get pregnant from her boyfriend plenty before. And not only him, but she was also hooking up with an American guy and also trying to get pregnant through him.

 

Why would anyone want to get pregnant is beyond me. But she was trying.

 

She tried with me.

 

But I’m not dumb, she had condoms.

 


 

This didn’t stop her from pinning it on me. I felt horrible. I didn’t want a child. Much less with a stripper that I didn’t really care much about. 

 

Drama occurred. Obviously.

 

The kid wasn’t mine.


 

I did the math.


 

She was around three weeks pregnant when our encounter happened.


 

But wait! There’s more!

 


 

Nah. There’s not more. That was the last I heard of her. Until five years later. That’s going to come up at some point in these diaries of an old man.


So back to it. 

 

I was broke. I just had one of the wildest nights of my life. I coined “Tijuana Adventure” because of it even though it’s FUCKING blatantly obvious. 

 

Now Tijuana Adventure is about craft beer and street eats. I still get bachelor parties and shit gets wild. But that’s what the embodiment of Tijuana Adventure is.

 

It just happens.

 

The city absorbs you and you have a Tijuana Adventure.

 

My adventure in the city was turning dark.


 

The stripper wasn’t the only Tijuana girl to tell me she was pregnant. Remember the curly hair girl that came over to me and just declared her love? 

 

Well… yeah.

 

I hooked up with her as well. 

 

Before losing my apartment….


 

Thing was… she was way too young. She was 18 and still in fucking high school!

 

And obviously infatuated with me.


 

She made up the pregnant story and I called her bluff. She showed up in her fucking high school uniform outside my apartment to confess that she had lied.


 

Just to be clear, I was 25 at the point. So it wasn’t that creepy. Still… 18. Way too young.

 

I met her at a bar. If I meet someone at a bar, I’m hoping they have somewhat a mature mentality….

 

Well… not anymore. I rather not meet most people anymore…


 

Her lies were enough for me to not see her again. Fuck this shit. Drama for the sake of drama. 


 

I couldn’t pay rent. I had already sold my car. I had no job or prospects for a job. I was losing it all.

 


 

My parents moved to Playas de Tijuana a few months after I moved into the city. I got evicted from my apartment. I borrowed my sister-in-law’s Jeep and moved all my shit to a small room in the small house at my parents.


 

Speak about low points in your life… moving back with your parents with no money and no job.


 

I cramped all my shit in the tiny room in the backyard of my parents’. It was a very small three-bedroom house and I didn’t want to be in a bedroom immediately next to my parents.

 

So I chose a tiny room that wasn’t much bigger than a shed.

 

And I locked myself in there.


 

Decided to become a writer.

 

I was going to write stories about my time as a paparazzi.

 

But I didn’t know how to write at all.


I decided a blog would be a good start.

 

And that’s when I started writing for the first time. My word vomit. The blog. 


 

I also created the TijuanaAdventure.com page and started working on what would become the tours. 


It was bad at the start.

 

I got some attention from Reddit but a lot of negative reactions as well.

 

I was just trying to write and make a living with my stories.

 

Silly me.


 

In less than a week with my parents, I found the motivation to work and get the fuck out.

 

But of course, it wasn’t that easy.

 


 

It took me around a month to find a job. And I landed exactly what I wanted, a writing/editing gig. They needed cheap writers/editors with decent English and knowledge of soccer.

 

I knew a bit about soccer, but not enough to be a writer about it. I started studying a lot. Not only the sport but how to write about it.


I was producing over five articles a day about stupid shit. 

 

Game reviews. News stories that were just translated from other pages.

 

Content.

 

Stupid fucking content.


 

And once or twice a week I would get inspired on something. And I would write that something. 

 

Every once in a while, that something was well received. 


 

But for the most part, it was just producing constant content on the sport around the globe and updating the website.


 

I was getting paid $800 a month for working almost six days a week. It was a few months working from home, then it evolved into going to the office on a daily basis.


After a couple of months on the job and plenty of fights with my father… I was ready to get the fuck out again.


 

That’s when I first moved to downtown Tijuana with a strange girl who I met on the street. She told me her name was Palida Hortaliza which translates to something along the lines of “pale vegetable.”

 

I don’t know why I was okay with that. As if that name existed.

 

She was indeed very pale and had a very weak chin. Almost grandmother-like even though she was very young and as white as a Minnesota chick. Her eyes carried torture and sadness. And she spoke on a weird soft voice with an accent.


Needless to say, that was a mistake.

 

But it was better than my parents.


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Valle Part 2 – Las Hijas de la Tiznada and La Cocina de Doña Esthela

Valle Part 2:

First of all, I forgot to give special thanks to Joe Moon for taking me to Valle in the first place. Otherwise, I would have never gone.


You see, my brother forgot to tell me that his friends had arrived and that they were going to Valle already… he told me when they were already on the way and said “but join us later.”

Luckily, Joe was going to Ensenada the following morning. After having some bomb ass enchilados from Los Compadres, we made our way to Ensenada. Except, I didn’t know where I was going.

Joe was cool enough to drop me off at the actual awesome Airbnb.

Truly appreciate that.


For those who don’t know the ultimate enchilado, it has been my favorite spicy shrimp taco for a long time. Here’s a gallery:

https://imgur.com/gallery/NswFV


On the last post I talked about Península en el Valle on a Saturday afternoon. Really great food in a very lovely day.

Sunday morning wasn’t as pretty.


At around noon time, the gang headed to La Cocina de Doña Esthela, widely popular and known as the very cheap for amazing quality.

Before even getting there, I noticed it was PACKED as fuck. One large bus for at least 40 people was parked outside. At least 4 vans for 12-18 people each were parked inside. Another 30+ cars were parked in and outside the place. We parked outside and walked in… to see hundreds of people packed waiting to be served.

At least one or two hours… TO FUCKING REGISTER to wait.

Yeah. Fuck that.

Before even entering I told my brother “fuck this, if we are waiting, somehow I’m going somewhere else.” He got mad for not sticking to the plan… but after figuring out that the wait was going to be massive, we left.

Where?!

WHERE?!?!

That was the question.


I messaged our trusty chef from our previous night to suggest something.

He recommended Tizne, two friends of him opened the place and he said it was great.


It was a bit difficult to find. It’s also called Hijas de la Tiznada not only Tizne. Google Maps wasn’t accurate, it also said they opened at noon… they weren’t.


It’s inside Viña Emiliana, which was open but not really… it was weird and we were lost.

When we finally found a spot that seemed to be the place, they were unprepared and having a staff meeting. I asked if it was the right place, they said it was. I asked if they were open, and though they said they weren’t they promptly said but we will soon if you guys wait for a second.

So we did.


The scenery of Viña Emiliana was lovely, but it was also closed, so there was no wine to taste or anything to do but just sit for a while and enjoy the breeze in the hot day. After a while, they received us in the outside restaurant.

Tizne means smoke or charred (fire spots). I didn’t know that until now. Interesting.

I usually don’t like burnt food but I do enjoy smokey flavors.


For the menu, just like Península en el Valle, no drinks, but worse. They had no beer, no wine, just Pellegrino sodas and some stuff that got ignored.

And for the food menu, only a handful of options. I asked the chef… and from those handful of options, only 2 were actually available, and the other were meat cuts at a hefty price (regular price for Valle).

BUT IT WAS BREAKFAST or Brunch time. There were no really options for that. We all got the same thing that was on the special menu.

From the actual menu, there were no options except a ceviche. They didn’t have octopus (which is what I wanted) and they didn’t have much else…

So we all got the risottos, a couple of sopes (which were tiny), and a ceviche in the middle.

Table!

The black little spots is the Tizne. You can never go wrong with ceviche and add the tizne touch to make it extra good.

That was the risotto with braised beef ribs topped with tomatillos.

Marc’s risotto looked prettier than mine.

It was good, but not exactly what I desired for breakfast. I felt like I was forced to eat something I didn’t really want just because of the lack of options. It would have been a nice appetizer in a small plate and continue to something bigger.

The tiny tiny sopes with shrimp. Again, really good, but not exactly what I would want or order. The black sauce was delicious.

The best thing they brought us was the bread at the beginning with some tizne sauce they had. I didn’t take a picture of that because I didn’t know it was going to be the best thing… And they only brought us one bread and one sauce (despite officially being two tables). If we wanted more, it was going to cost us. I would have just eaten a bunch of that bread and sauce, get some cheeses, and sip on some wine…

BUT, those weren’t the choices.


Conclusion: We weren’t prepared for Tizne, Tizne was not at all prepared for us.

With so many restaurants to try, I probably won’t go back, but who knows! I really want to go to Valle more and I am confident that Tizne can be way better.

If Tizne is your thing, then by all means, hunt this place down and try it. If you are not fan of Tizne, then there are many more restaurants to try.


After that, we went to a local tiendita and bought everything to not leave the Airbnb. Beers, meatsies, frutsis, spices, snacks, tortillas, salsas, and more beers!


We didn’t leave the Airbnb that night or the day after.

That was my attempt at Astrophotography while chugging a beer. Problem is, the Airbnb had bright lights on either side of the house that ruined my attempts.

A winery nearby has an awesome statue that would make it DOPE as fuck to get some astro there. I want to get the same Airbnb and hit up the winery to let me in at midnight to take pictures (and then sell them the pictures!) Something like that…


Monday in Valle was all pool and beer drinking while grilling meatsies.


We left Tuesday morning and this time we did go to La Cocina de Doña Esthela.

It wasn’t packed anymore, but it was 3/4s full. The waiter acted as if it was packed though. He kept getting the orders wrong (after asking it several times) and kept rushing between tables looking nervous…

But anyway, there we all basically got the machaca de borrego.

The order comes with tortillas and beans, the waiter forgot them, then brought the tortillas and forgot the beans.

We asked for 5 coffees (2 regular, 3 de olla), a round of waters, and two diet cokes. He brought 4 coffees (all de olla), two waters, and an orange juice we didn’t ask for…

It took him almost until we were leaving to bring the beans and the regular coffee I had ask for. He also only brought one diet coke eventually, but oh well. The bill was all over the place….


As for the food, I wasn’t feeling very hungry, and again, not what I wanted for breakfast. The menu had a lot of breakfast items, but they all seem fair standard and the machaca de borrego seemed to be the strong plate. It was ok for me.

I got it in a box to go, threw in a tortilla, mixed all the machaca with the broth and some beans, and left it on my counter at home for a few hours.

I came back to it when I was hungry, AND IT WAS WAY BETTER!

The broth marinating the meat with a bunch of beans truly brought out the flavor… Or maybe I was feeling hungrier. I am not sure, I just know that it was WAY better that way than when I was having it at the restaurant.


 

Saving Private French Guy

I was playing guitar in my favorite café which is hidden in the depths of some apartment building in Tijuana, when a random guy that looked like Luigi (from the videogames) walked in asking for work. His name was Alex and he was clearly not from the area. After a brief chat I learned that he was from Paris, he was traveling around the world and that his credit card, camera, laptop and more things were stolen in a hostel in San Francisco. He arrived in Tijuana because his visa in the USA had expired and he had to leave the country. I told him about Tijuana Adventure gave him my business card and offered my help.

A day later he called me asking for a place to stay. He reminded me of the first person I hosted, another French world traveler. Just like the rest of people that have joined me in many of my Tijuana adventures, he fell in love the city and hopes to visit it soon again.

He stayed in and out of my apartment for 2 weeks and also bounced back and forth between some of my friends, hotel rooms, other couchsurfing hosts and more. His adventures were more enthralling than those of Bilbo Baggins.

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Unfortunately, not that many pictures were saved from all the time he spent in Tj. The only pictures that were saved came from friends or other world travelers that we met, like Joaquin (Argentina) and Zoe (San Francisco) who were hitch-hiking to their way south in Mexico and beyond. Alex is also on his way south. He intends to spend two more weeks in Mexico before making his way to Costa Rica, from there he will fly to Sao Paulo (Brazil) and finally back home to France.

Edit: Forgot about uploading this video! More pics might come soon!

Crazy First Week with a French World Traveler

The co-creator of Youmakemytrip.com, Vincent Romain, contacted me via couchsurfing.org asking for a place to stay in Tijuana. After visiting a great deal of the world he was visiting Tijuana to complete a challenge that his viewers voted on. Interested in his travels, experiences and the challenge, I decided to dedicate my whole week to have a Tijuana Adventure with Vincent. The voting for the challenge was close between the nightlife of Tijuana and investigating the border. Interviewing deportees, migrants, people who wanted to cross illegally and the whole migration issue ended up winning, but we ended up doing both anyway.

We went to places that no many people dare to go, not even Tijuana locals. El Bordo is where a lot of deported people end up in a catch 22 type trap. They can’t leave the river area because the cops will arrest them and throw them in jail, but they have no where else to go. Living in the worse conditions imaginable after the comforts of living as an American, many end up doing heroin or more drugs. They have to deal with the pain of not being able to cross back to the United States to see their families, they live in a nightmare world where they have no friends or any help. It was Vincent’s challenge for YMMT, so I helped him shoot with his cameras and for his work. But I managed to take some video and pictures with my smartphone and I decided to do some editing to make this video:

The making of YMMT with Matingas of Tijuana Adventure:

Vincent viewing the sunset in TJ
Vincent viewing the sunset in TJ
Matingas in Playas de Tijuana
Matingas in Playas de Tijuana