Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 18 — Fuck Hollywood + Bad Tour.

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Chapter 18. Fuck Hollywood + Bad Tour.


Everything fucking hurts.

And I haven’t done much work at all in the past couple of days. All I’ve done is eat tacos and take pictures of tacos. Scribble little shitty notes that will turn into decent text next. That will be the money I earn this week.


It could be so much more. But I’m a lazy fucker.


Everything hurts because I went to play tennis with my buddy Kevin yesterday. First time I do any sports in years. I have a blister on my middle finger. It grew and burst in the second set of the match.


Guess who won?


I fucking won.


Both times coming from behind. Both times sets were 7-5.


Good fucking game.


Speaking of my middle finger. Here’s what happen a few weeks ago. Or a month ago. Whatever.


Thinking about it still pisses me off. 


I got contacted by email for a tour like I usually do. The guy didn’t tell me much about what they were looking for but insisted on talking on the phone.


This was on the same email as the bachelor party email since I received both that same morning.


And I’m a busy guy.


Fuck did I pay much attention to a guy who didn’t tell me much but wanted to talk on the phone.


Guy called me while I was at Mason Ale Works in San Diego after photographing a rugby training for the city’s new team. I was hanging out with another writer and we were invested in our conversation about writer stuff while drinking and eating. 


Writer stuff.


Whatever the fuck.


I was probably talking about this stupid shit.


Guy spoke in Spanish, which was confusing, then he switched to English. Guy told me what he wanted. Something about a Netflix show. A guide to make them feel safe in the city. Blah blah blah.


I didn’t pay much attention. I get plenty of tours like that and this wasn’t urgent at all.


The main thing. They wanted safety.


As if fuckers would get killed the moment they touch TJ.


Weeks later, Guy emails me and CCs Gal. 


Gal seems terrified about Tijuana and asks about safety plenty of times. Gal was coordinating the hotel they were staying in and asked me plenty about it. 


This city has probably a hundred hotels. It’s obvious which are the shitty ones. 


They end up booking a decent one. Not the best, but in a nice area and a decent hotel.


To meet them it was a fucking mess.


They switched up the way to meet a couple of times.


They ended up driving across on a white van and I saw them outside of Costco.

Five people in the white van. The driver who seemed cool. Gal who seemed nervous. English dude who was calm and quiet. Douche Hollywood oldish looking dude. Greek fucker who seemed to be the man in charge.


The Guy that book the tour wasn’t there. 


I direct them to their hotel. While on the drive they discussed plans and they still kept secretive about what the fuck they were doing in Tijuana.


All good so far. Even though I still have no fucking clue what I was doing. I’m great at improvising and I can handle all this shit.

Finally at the hotel. They all seem stressed and indecisive.


They make me sign a non-disclosure agreement before they say anything to me. Yes. I went through it. It seemed alright.


I just googled the company… I can’t find dick about it except the offices in Los Angeles. Coincidentally, they are nearby my old office in Los Angeles when I used to work for National Photo Group.


I can’t find anything else about these fuckers.


English dude and Greek dude start telling me what they want. It was a tall order and out of nowhere, I had to figure out all for the next day.


They wrote me a list.


I needed to find a charity or something charitable and it couldn’t touch the subjects of migrants because it was too political (orphanages preferred). We needed a dangerous-looking Tijuana. Something something something. And last, but not least, we needed someone that was willing to go on camera and say that Mexico is too dangerous to drive through.


I told them they were wrong, that they could do the trip if they wanted too. I met a guy who fucking ran from Vancouver to Argentina pushing a stroller. He went through Mexico and received nothing but support. I’ve met dozens who drove from Tijuana to South America and nothing has happened. Yes, there are many cases gone wrong, but they had a shitty white van. The chances of something happening were very low… And they were going to drive through South America anyway (which could be worse…)


And at the end of the list, the name of the show, they told me to watch some that night to figure it out… AND DELIVER ALL the next morning.


Fuckers are crazy. 


And for what? Like $300-400? 


Fuck it. I was going to do it. I could fucking handle it. Extra money is always nice and I had already planned my days for this shit tour.


I’m getting angry again.


I accepted the gig and put the list of demands in my back pocket.


The show followed the English dude around the world because he was a traveling expert. Something like that Man vs Wild show with Bear Grylls that everyone knows it was staged and that fucker was staying in hotels.


Same with this English dude.


He was staying in the hotel and staging everything else.


And here’s where the non-disclosure takes place. Obviously, fuckers don’t want to disclose to their viewers about this.


Hopefully, I’ve been vague enough to not be in trouble. And… to be honest… the show is fucking suspicious, the company is fucking suspicious, and this is stupid fucking text I’m writing, so I doubt I’ll get in trouble.


If I do, and you are reading this, and you are a lawyer… hit me up!

Time to eat. I was starving. Everyone was starving. Except for the English dude, “ the reality star.” He wanted to stay in the hotel.

The driver wanted to know where to find massive burritos. Technically an American thing, massive burritos are not common in Tijuana. There are a few places though.

Driver dude was cool.

I took the passenger seat and directed him to Teléfonica. He told me he stayed in a hotel nearby not that long ago. 

Gal was all nervous the whole time. She seemed to take abuse from the producers or something. 

Hollywood douche was being a Hollywood douche. Never took off his sunglasses. I never saw his most likely squinty little shit-eyes of Hollywood douche superiority.

And Greek dude… well… he is the one I had the most issues with. 


While driving around, Greek dude asked me frequently where the shitty parts of town were and if it was safe to film in certain places. I told him that shit parts were just a good twenty minutes south and that yes, he can film anywhere as long as he doesn’t film cops. He had no interest in the city of Tijuana or anything else at all except seeing some shit areas for the camera (which are not that difficult to find…)


But first food… right?

This is what happened.


We got to Teléfonica. The place is packed. Many of the people in there are obviously American. Teléfonica always has tons of Americans. You can fucking hear their conversations in English. 

I’m doing the usual tour telling they have many options. I tell the driver that Satabu has big burritos for around $7, he is excited. I tell the Greek guy there’s a Greek place, he fucking shrugs the whole place off. Like he was way above it.

Gal was nervous and said she wanted a vegetarian taco. Hollywood douche said nothing and just talked to the Greek guy.

I led Gal to La Taqueria Veggie which is fucking amazing vegan food. They have a taco truck in San Diego and they are doing great.

I tell her they have insane veggie tacos there. But Gal just wants tortilla and lettuce, nothing of the fake meat or anything else. It made no fucking sense.

Instead of all choosing their own place, the Greek guy tells me to order for all in one place. That fucking didn’t make sense either. I tell him to walk around and choose. Gal is stressing me out because she can’t order a fucking taco to save her fucking life. 

They acted like fucking babies. As if the border fucked their whole fucking views. 

Except for the Driver. The Driver was cool. So my intention was to please him first since he was the easiest to deal with. I took him to Satabu and told him about the burritos and he started figuring it out himself, so I was fucking happy.

I went back to the other group who were arguing amongst themselves.

The Greek fucker pulls out his phone and says, “I see there is a Chili’s nearby, this is like American Chili’s, yes?”


Yep. He had a shitty Greek accent. A good looking douchebag with a Greek accent. No wonder he was so fucking entitled.


I tell him that indeed that is American Chili’s. He says he rather go there because he is afraid that the food in Teléfonica will give him food poisoning as he rubbed his stomach indicating he was sensitive. 


I lost my shit a bit…

I asked him if he was serious. He said he was. He was concerned about getting a stomach-ache. And he made it seem like I should understand. As in “look at this shithole.”


Fucking Teléfonica… packed with Americans and everyone eating happily. That place has never failed me. I’ve taken so many tourists and everyone loves it. Not everything is perfect, the place has its fucking flaws. But it never fails me.


I asked him again. This time added the “fucking serious.”


He said yes. 


That’s when I truly lost my shit.


Asked him if he hired a tour guide or just a prop for his stupid TV show that could say what he wanted on camera. He again said something like “you understand… right?”


I said fuck no. That I didn’t need this shit. For some reason, I gave him his stupid list back. The name of the show was in there and to be honest, I don’t fucking remember the name at all. I tried googling or finding the show… Can’t find shit.


And for reasons of the NDA I signed… I’m just going to leave it like that.


I yelled at the fucker, ” the tour is over, I’m not your tour guide.”


He then asked me if I was serious.


I said that if he was going to Chili’s, I was.


He said, “fine then.” The good old “we can manage without you.” 


And they can. Tijuana is not a dangerous disaster they make it seem. It is a bit… but only if you are stupid and ask for trouble. Not in fucking Teléfonica or anywhere they were staying.


I could see the concern look on Gal’s face. The smug look on the Hollywood douche behind his boss producer also standing tall to his decision to go to Chili’s.


I stormed out.


But was confused because I was also hungry so I didn’t know what to do.


So I stupidly just walked by them fuming. They looked confused as shit. I wanted food but was too fucking angry.


I decided to walk out the backdoor, emailed the guy that “hired me” telling him that I left his group.


I left my black simple hoodie that my mom gave me for Christmas in their fucking white van. I miss that black hoodie. That is what I regret the most… 


I was still fuming, so I decided to call the guy that hired me. 


I told him why I left them behind. He seriously said, “what’s wrong with Chili’s?”


For fuck’s sake. 


Don’t fucking hire a tour guide and then ask him to take you to fucking Chili’s. And not only that, they basically wanted me to shit all over Tijuana.

For a couple hundred bucks. For some shit Netflix show that was staged.


I was still fuming.

Nelson. My refuge. Beer. Calm down.


I emailed him angry still, but more tranquil. I felt bad for leaving them like that. I felt bad for the Driver who was cool and just wanted a giant burrito. I felt bad for the Gal who seemed to be scared shitless. I felt bad for the reality star guy who seemed nice, we talked briefly about soccer, and he seemed like a chill guy. I didn’t give a shit about Hollywood Douche and the Greek Producer. 


So… in the email I included leads that they asked for. The charities that they might want to work with. And the places that they should go to.


But I also told him I was not their tour guide. And just because the Greek guy was the one that pissed me of the most I gave him the stupid analogy that what he was asking for would be similar to ask for a tour of the Parthenon, then tell the tour guide to talk shit about Greece and it’s failing economy, and to top it off, to take me to McDonald’s because I’m afraid of Greek food.


I never got a reply. I’m not sure if they cared. I’m not sure what happened to them. I’m not sure what they ended up doing.


I don’t know if they got another tour guide that helped them out with all their shit. I don’t know if they did it solo. I don’t know if I’ll ever end up watching the show. 


That was the most livid I’ve been in a long time, and writing about it again, made me livid. Fuck those Hollywood douchebags. Fuck Hollywood in general. I fucking hated (almost) everything about living there.


As silly as it was, I was angry for the next following days. Fucking Chili’s.


If you like Chili’s… I understand. There are many places in America where the best choice is Chili’s or Applebee’s. But if you are traveling to a different city and hire a tour guide… asking for Chili’s in a place with so much amazing great food… Well… simply… FUCK YOU.

That was the second tour I have ever canceled.


The first one was early when I was doing tours. The guy that wanted a tour was only going to pay me $25. When I met him, he was obviously strung out. The guy was already in Tijuana in a seedy hotel and wanted someone to connect him with a dealer for heavy drugs. He said this to me five minutes after meeting. I told him I wasn’t his tour guide and left him.

And… now I’m getting bombarded by emails from real work. I have a busy weekend coming up. Lingerie pictures with sexy girls tomorrow, that will be a first, let’s see how that goes. I have to cover a food bank event and dress in my tuxedo again. And finally, more rugby pictures on Sunday. 

And more more more tacos pictures.

I should wrap this up and actually talk about Tijuana instead of all the stupid shit I do.



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

If you enjoyed this, please support me at:

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.




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.”



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.


Tijuana Adventure for 2015…. Sorry, I’ve been busy

My last post was back in September….

I was going to post that I was taking a break in October, but that never happened. My college roommate from Minnesota visit me at the end of the month and we hung out for a week straight in Tijuana. We had plenty of adventures, but we also learned that we can’t drink as much as we did in college.

This happened on Halloween night in Tijuana:

I’ve been very busy, no time to party all night and write about it the next day. I got a regular job in retail at a soccer store in San Diego to have a more steady income and to get a van for the tours.

I keep getting emails for Tijuana Adventures… I’ve been having all sorts of adventures but no time to post about it and I keep forgetting to take pictures.

I had an important tour some months back with a group of 10 (5 married couples). Before meeting them, I took a nap in a co-workers car in the parking lot outside work.

I’ve had plenty of 1 on 1 tours all over the place. All very much fun, I even received this email thanking me for the tour:

And in 2015 I have already had two adventures!!!

I had one booked since last year for a Veggie and Brewery tour that is coming up next Saturday (will post about it later). But out of nowhere I got two last minute tours that ended up being really awesome.

The first one of the year had to be an XXX tour with a programmer from Los Angeles. We ate at Cevicheria Naiz, drank at Mamut, talked about videogames and then headed to the XXX world for unrated fun…. Haven’t done those tours in a long time… they uhh.. renovated some areas of the clubs, the usual dirty business remained the same. He emailed me the next day:
Mark review Through the tour he kept thanking me, it was a wonderful time.

The second one was with friends of friends. A guy from Alabama (Ed) and one from Minnesota (Chris) were roommates in France, Chris visited Ed to Los Angeles where he currently lives and they came down to Tijuana. We went on a classic Tj Adventure party blender with live music shows by Innerds and Octagrape at Mous Tache, street tacos and plenty of drinks.

Here we are eating at Cevicheria Naiz before partying until 4 am:

And we had breakfast tacos at the king, Tacos el Rey, before saying our hungover goodbyes:

2015 seems promising for a lot of tours! If I am lucky, I might be able to quit my job and party with tourists for a living…. make my dream come true… come party… come have a Tijuana Adventure!

First Post – How Tijuana Adventure came to be.

I started giving tours of Tijuana before I even moved into the city…

I was living in Los Angeles in 2008 with my oldest brother, while my middle brother resided in San Diego. I visited my middle brother at least once a month in San Diego, then he slowly started partying in Tijuana, a place I was terrified of. Next thing you know, my brother falls in love with a Tijuana local and shortly there after decides to move there. I thought he was crazy for doing such thing and I said that he probably was going to get shot. Little did I know that a couple of years later I would fall in love with the city.

It happened little by little, I was afraid of Tijuana and would not cross my car. After all I had a 2008 Volkswagen GTI that was a lease from my company, I couldn’t risk it. I would either park by my brother’s old place in San Diego or by the border parking lots that charge $7 for 24 hours, my brother would pick me up and take me back to his house in Tijuana. Since the moment we crossed the border, I had no idea what was going on, I visited Tijuana to just hang out with my brother. Soon I met my sister-in-law’s brother (get it? a.k.a. brother in law? my brother’s brother-in-law). Anyway, I met him, the lead singer of a trash-core (heavy punk) band in Tijuana. I started going out and exploring the city, under his guidance, of course I would buy all the beers. I was living in LA and making a comfortable living, so paying $2-4 beers was amazing. The punk shows were great too, way better vibe than that of concerts in LA where everyone is either filming or texting. I told my friends in Los Angeles how amazing Tijuana was and I convinced a few to come down with me. Tijuana Adventure Tours started without me even living in Tijuana or charging any money.

A year later, I switched agencies for my job in Los Angeles, so I gave the company car back and got myself a 95′ Miata with a broken roof. Not scared of crossing my car anymore, I started driving into Tijuana and I would get lost immediately. Though I dominate the Spanish language, I would get lost in places where I would be afraid of speaking to the locals. For the most part, I would park my car in my brother’s garage then walk around the city exploring new bars and new shows.

By 2011, I was sick of my job in Los Angeles that I decided it was time for a long vacation. I sold my 95′ Miata bought a 2005 Mazda 6 and traveled all around the United States with the idea I would come back to LA to work. After three months of road tripping, I came back to LA, realized I hated not only my job, but the city as well. So I quit my job and moved to San Diego.

I moved to San Diego because I was still afraid of Tijuana, I still believed that my possessions wouldn’t be safe in an apartment in Mexico. Moving to San Diego was the wrong choice. Not only did it remind me of LA a lot, I was going to Tijuana every weekend and the rent was really expensive. Worst yet, I wasn’t even in San Diego, I moved to Rancho Peñasquitos in North County, where rent was $550 for a small room in a house and you have to drive everywhere. Though I needed a job, I was reluctant at taking any. Multiple job offers and interviews came and I didn’t show up to them. Instead I occupied my time hosting multiple people from couchsurfing in my San Diego home, and taking them to Tijuana to party with me. They all loved Tijuana more than San Diego. I lasted in San Diego half a year, when I ran out of money.

I found a one bedroom apartment for $350 in a nice building in a neighborhood I’ve never even been in Tijuana. I took the plunge and moved back, not able to getting a job right away, I sold my car thinking about buying a cheaper one. I soon came to realize that there is no need of a car in Tijuana, public transportation is effective. It’s the weirdest public transit I ever seen in my life and I’ve been to a lot of places, but somehow it’s cheap and it can take you anywhere in the city.

I landed an office job in Tijuana that paid in pesos, which was not really convenient. But I stuck with it for a while. In the meantime, all my friends from all over the United States were worried about me in Tijuana, but they wanted to come visit. I hosted them all happily and obviously for free. The idea of Tijuana Adventure came after a lot of my friends insisted that I could be charging for showing Tijuana around, specially since I know the city very well and a lot of the locals. Tired of my job and realizing I could make money from doing something I love, I quit and started Tijuana Adventure.

Tijuana has changed for the better in the short period of time I’ve been visiting and living. Tourism and the whole city is booming with new life. Encouraged by my friends, my surroundings and my love for the border city, I took the plunge and started Tijuana Adventure. Tijuana has everything anyone could imagine and the arts, music, food and drink industry is rising. Not only that, the popular Red Light District (Zona Norte) is taking new life, for the ones that are into that sort of thing. There’s a new boardwalk on the beach the re-vamped the whole Playas de Tijuana. Trendy coffee shops open everywhere. New artist and musician hang outs spread through the city. Characters from all over the world end up staying in Tijuana, not knowing what brought them here, but for some reason they know they have to stay. A new city is brewing, post-modern 21st century clash between the 3rd world and the 1st world gives Tijuana it’s own culture. Culture that is yet to be defined, but that soon will spread everywhere.

Popular Sexta Street in Downtown TJ.
Popular Sexta Street in Downtown TJ.