Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 22 — Conclusion. 

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Chapter 22. Conclusion. 

I just turned 32-years-old. Facebook posts from friends and people I haven’t talked to in years are posting congratulations on my wall.

I usually hate my birthday. People give too much importance to it. Which puts pressure on having a good time. But it’s just a day. Worse. It’s a Wednesday. And I have some work to do. Work that I don’t want to do. 


Last birthday, I got drunk as fuck early during the day and passed out in the early afternoon. I don’t know why birthdays depress me. 

 

This year, I’m just trying to let it be. I don’t feel as depressed as other birthdays past. 

 

I don’t understand people that like their birthdays.

 

What is to like about getting older? 

 

Count it.

 

I’ve lived for 11, 680 days.

 

Toddler years don’t really count. 

 

I’ve lived for 9855 days.


It seems like a waste.


 

What’s next? 

 

Nothing is next. The same as always. Beer and tacos. Beer and tacos. Beer and tacos.


 

I read all I wrote for the past months. I repeat myself a lot.

 

I repeat myself a lot.

 

I repeat myself a lot.


 

Many stories are missing. Many bachelor parties blend into one. I got three emails about bachelor parties this week. That’s not a common occurrence. 


I just rejected one. They wanted a tour for this Friday. Replied that I’m booked. I’m not really booked. I just didn’t like the way he emailed me. Also, he wanted a bachelor party and strip clubs, no mention of craft beers or fancy food. 

 

I feel like I am retiring from those.

 

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my tours.

 

I’m not sure what I’m doing with all this crap I’m writing.

 

I do have to work Saturday morning. So fuck doing a bachelor tour Friday night…


 

Next tour is in a week. Old couples. Much more my speed. Craft beer, street tacos, fancy eats, Tijuana views, and perhaps a dive bar. 

No more craziness. 


Ted’s Story.

 

One last crazy bachelor story. 


 

We had to carry Ted across the border. This was probably my favorite bachelor party. I was hired by the best man, who had a Chinese name. I was nervous that it was going to be a Chinese tour.

 

Nah. Of course, they were Chinese Americans. And not all of them. It was around 8 guys, half of them were white boys. 


 

Fuck. My bachelor tours blend so much, that I don’t remember if one of the white boys was a reformed yoga teacher. I’m thinking that’s from a different tour, but for the sake of this fucking story, he was a part of that group.

The yoga white boy had long greyish beard and hair, wore sandals, and other hippie bullshit. Apparently, he was recently married and he had all been doing his yoga persona for a couple of years. Before that, he was a businessman that was always clean-shaven and it was all about the money.


 

Yoga white boy was quiet for most of the tour. Barely drinking. Being a hippy. Peacefully observing the bachelor party mess.


 

It wasn’t much of a mess. It was the classics. Tacos, beers, cocktails, tequila shots for the bachelor, party, party, party.

And then! 

To the strip clubs.


We got to Hong Kong and I grab a table for the whole group. Then took a couple of the guys and the bachelor, Ted, to get him a couple of girls.

 

That’s what I usually do at bachelor parties. Grab the best man or a couple of the guys in the party, find hot girls for the bachelor, sit him down, and have the first lap dance.

 

From there on, the party always splits and they do their own debauchery.


 

With Ted… we walked to the back. He sat down where they were doing the show de espuma. Imma gunna repeat myself once more. Show de espuma is two or more naked chicks covered in shaving cream that you can finger for a dollar. It’s fucking nasty. 


It’s really fucking nasty. I went with a good friend from my hometown when he came for a short visit years ago. It was Monday, so not much was open and I always have to show people that are new to Tijuana to Hong Kong. The first girl we saw had the most beautiful pussy I’ve seen… no panties. Just pussy. I remember my friend’s face lit up like he just saw the face of god and it only cost him one dollar to see it.

 

Later that same night, I remember watching the show de espuma, but not watching the girls… just watching the audience. The wolf hungry audience. 25-30 horny men salivating at two naked young girls. Throwing money. 

 

I am sure the girls in there are in drugs. This shit is a bit extreme. $5 and you can grab a dildo and go to town with them. Guys sometimes delve in and lick the pussy that is covered in shaving cream while the girls slide around the stage for another guy to do the same. So many dirty fingers being shoved in exchanged for money, and then they lick that…

That’s the show de espuma.

 

You can understand why I want to retire from this shit.


Another story that went missing was with some Canadians. Just three guys. Not a bachelor party. Just a Tijuana Adventure that ended in Hong Kong. Many tours ended up there and not necessarily were they bachelor parties. 

One of the three Canadians was an extremely good looking dude. We were drinking beers at Plaza Fiesta, because back then, Plaza Fiesta was actually good. Two cute short Mexican girls approached him (and his friend) while I was talking to the Moroccan-Canadian dude. The girls were really cute, and the dude blew them off. And after asked me, “those were hookers, right?”

 

NO DUDE! They fucking weren’t! They were two cute girls that wanted you…

 

That night… we did end up in Hong Kong with hookers… The Moroccan-Canadian dude was so happy spending $5 to grab a dildo and go to town with the girls in the show de espuma. He thought it was two pumps and done. NOPE! You can really go to fucking town with them. 

 

The Moroccan-Canadian dude came back. My tours blend so much and I’ve done plenty that I didn’t even notice him. It was halfway through the tour that he was like, “yo, remember me? We toured together before!” And I came to the realization of who he was. He was with a different group that time… 


 

Fucking tours.


 

Well…

Ted sat in front of the show de espuma. I told his friends to give him money so I can give it to Ted so he can go to town. I yelled at the girls on the show de espuma that it was his bachelor party and show them a $20. They didn’t fucking hesitate. They knew there was more money to be thrown. One of them instantly climbed on Ted covering the poor guy on shaving cream and the other said: “let’s grab him and put him on stage.”

 

So I helped Ted go on stage and told his friends near me that this is going to get out of control.

 

They stripped Ted down to his underwear. Ted was wasted. He was loving the stage and did a little dance with the girls. Then they laid him down on his back, one climbed on his face, and the other climbed on his cock (with boxers still on). And they started grinding and performing other things… 

 

When this shit started to happen, I ran to the table (that was at the other far end of the strip club) to tell all of Ted’s friends what was going on. 

 

They all went to check it out, leaving behind sunglasses, jackets, and other shit on the table. So I stayed behind with the best man. We discuss what will happen in the next few hours for the bachelor party and while figuring shit out… We saw him.

 

Ted was fucking running around the strip club down to his underwear covered in fucking shaving cream, literally fucking running like a little kid, screaming “I AM GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW WOOOO I AM GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW!!!!” 

 

It was a hilarious view. 

 

The bachelor party kept going. Ted kept getting wasted. At some point, we thought we had lost him. And that’s when we saw him with a girl that was trying to take him up to the room though he was WASTED beyond capabilities of deciding what to do. Luckily, we found him and stopped him. The girl was pissed, but Ted gave her some money anyway. 


 

Not even midnight and it was time to go back. We had to carry Ted to the border. Poor guy couldn’t walk. 


What happened with the white yoga hippy dude? Well… that was a different tour. But the point of that hippy dude was that I ended up losing him on that tour.

 

He was supposedly the calmest most chill dude. But when we arrived in Hong Kong, he fucking disappeared. I didn’t hear from him that night. I had to split the party in two. Part of the party stayed in Hong Kong while I took the rest to the border.

 

I was told that they found him hours later. Apparently, he went up to the rooms with a couple of girls. And repeated. And repeated. 

 

Hippy dude had a thing for threesomes. 


 

And that’s barely a tip on the iceberg of what Tijuana can provide. 


 

Libertarian hedonism stuck in fake progress. 

 

So much change, so little change, the dollar still rules supreme. 

 

Anarchy. Drugs. Sex. Sleepless City. Murder. Drugs. Drugs. Sex. Sex. 

 

Craft Beer. Fancy Baja-Med cuisine. Amazing street tacos. 


 

I just got an email asking about barbershops. There are so many barbers in this city. It’s fucking wild how many barbers there. A tour client that later became a friend comes from Los Angeles to get a haircut and his beard shaven. The fucker can’t even grow a beard! 

 

But he still comes for the weekend with that excuse. Then he just enjoys the city.


 

And enjoy the city I will. It’s my birthday, which doesn’t really mean crap. I want to play tennis again. I’ve been playing tennis with my buddy. Yes. I won the first game… and the last two… We tied!

 

We had a tie-breaker on the one before last, and I think I won… But it was more of a tie.

 

And this last game, it was just a straight-up tie. One set each. Third set and the score was 6-6. Instead of playing the tiebreaker… we just left it at that. It was also getting dark that we could barely see the ball.


Then we had beers, more beers, saw a couple friend, told them it was my birthday, more drinks, a couple of joints, and then home. With el Pinche Kevin. I barely beat him on tennis, but I own him on Super Smash Bros. I fucking beat him with Jigglypuff against Cloud. He beat me right after that… but HAH! 

 

Jigglypuff!


 

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Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 20 — An Actual Guide Part 2: Food + Tacos.

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


Chapter 20. An Actual Guide Part 2: Food + Tacos.

 

It’s a slow Friday, so fuck it, why not write stupid shit to feel productive for a change.


 

Billie Joe Armstrong, the singer of Green Day, was here in Tijuana yesterday with his new project The Longshot. I wanted to go to just take a picture of him. I didn’t. I’m a lazy fucker and I hate crowds of people.

 

I regret it a bit…


 

The past couple of weeks have been nothing but eating and taking pictures of tacos. And writing about tacos. It’s the third time I’m part of the special edition about tacos for the magazine I work for. The second time that I’m in charge of the cover picture.

 

My section is obviously all about Tijuana. More specifically, Tijuana taco porn. Even more specifically, I follow a guy name @Baja_Cali_Food on Instagram and he posts some of the best food porn.

 

So I went to the places that he posts to see how they are.

 

And they are pretty fucking fantastic.

 

In fact, I found one that challenges my all-time favorite of Tacos el Rey.


I’ve been writing and taking pictures of tacos for several years now. There are way too many to cover with a simple list. Some that I liked have disappeared. Some I have yet to discover.

 

This is taco city.

 

This is everything city.


Drug city. 


 

In recent news, an American Pale Ale called Juan Cordero by Insurgente just won gold medal on the San Diego International Beer Competition.

 

Fauna from Mexicali and Rámuri from Tijuana got bronze on the World Beer Cup. 


Beer city.


 

Tacos el Rey has been around since the 70s. I’ve been living next to them for more than four years. A couple dozen full moons ago, I was eating at Tacos el Rey on acid with two girls: my used to be neighbor, and some chick who was coming from Houston.

 

We went to a show at Mous Tache.

 

HEY! That’s where Billie Joe Armstrong was last night.

 

I don’t remember what show I was there for. All I remember was the bad trip when I thought the Houston girl was into me, I tried to grab her hand, and got rejected.

 

Mistake.

 

And I remember eating in Tacos el Rey and la tortillera looking at me in the eyes and saying “ya te ves bien mal Mateo, vete a dormir Mateo.”

 

I didn’t return to Tacos el Rey for months after the embarrassment. 


 

I still go there at least once a month. They are still so incredibly good.


 

I did so much acid that year… even played a show on acid. 


 

The new tacos I found are called “El Nuevo Tecolote.” They aren’t close to my apartment, so I don’t think I’ll go that often… but they are fucking delicious. The carne asada is prime rib and their adobada is more like al pastor.


 

Near my apartment, there are more than a dozen taco choices. In downtown Tijuana alone, there are over 100 taco places to eat.

 

So yeah.

 

I can’t cover them all.

 

Next to Tacos el Rey is Tacos Los Albañiles. They are pretty good, but expensive and they cater to Pochos. Mexican-Americans coming down from LA. It looks like a taco place from LA. It feels like a taco place from LA. 


 

There’s a fish and shrimp taco truck nearby called Mariscos San Francisco. I like the batter they use there, so I usually get two fish and one shrimp. That’s breakfast. It costs me less than $4.


 

There is another fish and shrimp place called Los Compadres. I don’t like their batter there… but they have the best fucking camarón enchilado ever.

 

It’s greasy, it’s lava hot, it’s packed with shrimp and cheese, it’s the correct amount of spicy and it could be spicier if you like, and most importantly… it’s fucking dirty, just like the Tijuana gods intended.

 

I’ve been going to Los Compadres for many years now. Both Los Compadres and Tacos el Rey were recommendations from Danger Dave. 

 

Most people in Tijuana think El Mazateño is the best enchilado in town… and though it’s good. It can’t compare to the power of Los Compadres.

 

And I’m sure there are many more and some better places. But these are the ones I know.

 

Tijuana is way too big, changes way too often, and it’s ever-growing.


 

We just got a caravan of hundreds of migrants from Central America trying to cross into the United States. Guess where most of them we’ll end up living?

 

Yep.

 

In Tijuana.


 

Migrant and deported city.


 

Back to tacoland. There are birria tacos by my house that are cheap and filling. They aren’t necessarily good, but they aren’t bad. They are the same as the popular tacos in Calle Cuarta. That place is always packed and everyone is yelling at the poor taquero for more shit. 

 

Seriously. It’s a tiny corner with two taqueros and two dozen people that they want tacos or caldos de birria.

 

If they only knew that the birria is the same in a couple other corners in town, it wouldn’t be such a fuckfest.

 

The one by the park (near my house) is usually empty. And they also have asada that looks tasty (but for some reason, I’ve never tried it).


 

There are more taco places in the park. Tacos varios. Tacos al vapor. Tacos de birria. Tacos de mariscos. All fucking kinds of tacos.

 

Every corner has a plethora of different tacos.


And more taco places are opening soon.


 

Then there are the tacos regarded as classic or best. Taconazo. Tacos el Franc or Tacos el Frances in Playas. Tacos los Perrones in Rosarito. Tacos El Polo. Los Salseados.

 

Classic fish tacos as well. Tito’s Tacos, those are stupid cheap and everywhere. Aforementioned el Mazateño.


 

Classic cenadurías resembling central Mexico are everywhere and stupid cheap.


 

Hipster place tacos. Telefónica has a plethora of hipster choices such as the vegan cauliflower mole, same place has the cactus and panela or the pork taco. That’s La Carmelita. The pellizcadas there are my favorite.

 

Telefónica also has the huitlacoche pulpo taco by Tacosteño. The spicy tuna tostada by Otto’s grill. They have my favorite spicy salsa. It’s tasty and it makes me cry.

 

And more vegan choices with La Taquería Veggie. They recently opened in San Diego after major success in Tijuana. 

 

Tacón Veggie is another hipster vegan choice that is fucking great if you can catch them… They run out of tacos fast. And they might either grow or disappear soon. 


 

Tacos el Gordo is another classic, but it’s not that great. They now have locations in Vegas, San Diego, and other places. It started here in Tj. It’s definitely good, but with the plethora of choices, you can find something better.


 

Tacos Coahuila or “where the prostitutes go eat.” There was an article in Vice about this. I’m in the last picture of that article.

 

Tony Tee, famously as the guy who took Anthony Bourdain around Tijuana, but also a major promoter of the city and in general a decent dude who just likes to party.

 

Well.. yeah. Him.

 

He wrote an article about that place. We went together.

 

I’ve been hanging out with him a bunch lately. We didn’t for a while after he got mad at me for writing about his independent candidate, but that’s all water under the fridge now. 


 

Writing about politics.

 

Writing about food.

 

Writing about bullshit. 

 

It all gets you in some sort of trouble.


 

Tony Tee now has his own food truck in San Diego. I might have mentioned it here already because I’m that stupid that I forgot what I wrote already. The tongue tacos his food truck serves is some of the best in the region. He is celebrating his one year anniversary tomorrow.

 

And tomorrow is also a Reddit meetup/tour with /r/Tijuana and /r/SanDiego.


 

Out of the handful of Reddit meetings I’ve done, a couple have been nice and successful and still not worth it. I didn’t organize this one, but I’m a part of it. 

 

Let’s see what happens.


 

It’s going to be a Border Psycho, one of the leading breweries in the Baja region. Their beer… it’s not that great. It’s more the marketing and name behind it. And collaborations that they’ve done with Mason Ale Works or other big breweries.

 

Ok.

 

And by saying not that great… I don’t mean it’s bad. I’m just spoiled.

 

Beer changes here so often. 

 

Border Psycho started strong, opened a taproom in Plaza Fiesta that also started great… but then the staff and uncleanliness of the place ruined it. The taps weren’t properly clean. All beer got infected… 

 

Also, their beers tend to have a heavy alcoholic taste (and they tend to be high ABV). 

 

Their latest IPA called Hoptastic (or something like that.. It’s new, leave me alone). That IPA is pretty good. They have a double IPA called La Perversa that’s on the sweet caramel side instead of hops. 

 

Many other beers are drinkable but difficult to do more than one.

 

They had one special beer called “Beso Polacho” or Polish Kiss that was a “smoked wheat” beer or a Grodziskie, a very old style of beer not brewed often today. I thought it was excellent… but I was one of the very few that thought the same way.

 

It was very complex. It tasted like smokey bacon. Very dry and pungent. And surprisingly smooth to drink. Only a 2.8% abv (or maybe 3.2%) point is that it was light. 

 

I liked it. I’m never drinking that again because they are never making it again.

 

Overall, they have been improving and going in the right direction and do not expect them to go anywhere. 


 

Beers are next. I was on tacos.

 

Border Psycho has a kitchen now… though not necessarily tacos, their sopes are pretty good and filling. Burgers also decent, but sopes are better.


 

Speaking of sopes, it’s probably the best plate at Caesar’s Restaurant, their tuetano sopes. 


 

I used to go to Tacos Las Amigas, between 5th and 6th in Madero, as a regular stop in my tours. I don’t really like their tacos anymore, but they make huge tortillas on the spot. It’s also one of the few places I’ve ever seen where the taquera is a woman and a man is the one that sweeps and cleans around the shop. In a sexist country like Mexico, it’s nice to see something different. 


 

Near Las Amigas… another great place. La Corriente – Cevicheria Nais. Popular place. When I first got there, it was cheap and they had sold 8,000+ red snapper tostadas written in a blackboard near the kitchen. Nowadays, prices have tripled and they have sold 220,000+ red snapper tostadas, and have several locations, and other spinoff restaurants.

 

That was in just a couple of fucking years.

 

La Corriente is still great. Two tacos or two tostadas is my recommendation (or one and one). Yes, the red snapper is probably the best still. Ahi tuna is second favorite. They have a new ahi tuna called Pacifico that I liked better but that they rarely have since it requires fresh scallops. Tacos, the chile with shrimp and cheese called Taco Kalifornia is one of my favorites, but also Cachondo (octopus) or Mazatlán (shrimp filled with marlin, wrapped in bacon). 

My new favorite thing there is to order the “Pulpo Pacheco” (stoner octopus), it’s four big chunky pieces of octopus grilled with olive oil with a side of tortillas, vegetables, rice, and beans. AKA four great octopus tacos.

 

Oh yeah. And their drinks are fucktastic too. I already mentioned them before…


 

Circle jerk on the food of downtown Tijuana.


 

Tupidos is a classic restaurant with the usual Mexican menu, but on the side, they have handmade Tacos Varios. 

 

Next to Tupidos is Sanborns. Fuck that place. Just go in if you need to use the bathroom. 

 

But also nearby, El Tucumano, an Argentinean empanada place.


 

Just like La Corriente, I saw El Tucumano grow from a tiny place to a huge operation. They used to be in a tiny corner near Mous Tache (oh shit! Mentioned that in this chapter and so many times already… the place Billie Joe was just at).

 

Yeah. Tiny place. Argentinian empanadas with delicious chimichurri.

 

And yes, I know Argentinians are going to be like “fuck you we don’t put chimichurri on empanadas.” I’m aware. These empanadas are probably not Argentinian, however, they are delicious and cheap. So fuck off.


 

Near all, there are Chinese restaurants. If that’s your thing… then go crazy. I can’t even imagine trying to cover a the dozen of Chinese restaurants here. There are hundreds in the city and some were caught serving dog meat a few years ago. 


 

It’s like there are more restaurants per capita than any other place I’ve been at.

 

A lot of Tijuanenses eat out for all their meals. It’s just cheaper. Especially when you earn in dollars. Food is fucking everywhere.


 

Everything is fucking everywhere all the fucking time.


 

Except for a great delicatessen. Yep. A good ole deli. There is nothing like that. There are some cheese and meat stores that try… but usually overpriced and not that great.

 

I just need a classic great deli where I can get a cheap sandwich to go. 

 

Preferably in a liquor store.

 

A deli that sales caguamas and craft beer. That is also a barbershop and tattoo parlor. 

Tijuana could use a place like that. Hipster bastardized the place to beyond Portland levels.


 

KoMe was a Korean taco place that had great tacos, but it was poorly executed. 

 

They lasted 9 months. I wished they didn’t close. That was the last place I wrote for the food section in the magazine. I couldn’t deal with the editor. He turned a positive review into a negative one. 

 

My article didn’t have anything to do with their demise, but I still feel bad.

 

Their mistake was opening to big and simple. They should have done it small, secretive, and hipster.

 

That’s what Millenials want. Places that they only hear from word of mouth as great but that no one really knows the spot.

 

And Tijuana has a lot of those places.


 

There was a birria place by my house that also lasted less than a year. It was goat birria, which is rare to find up here. Almost everyone uses beef birria.

 

I miss them. They were delicious and cheap.


 

There’s taco alley, called Las Ahumaderas. My first apartment was behind the taco alley. The smell from the five (now four) taquerías in a row would enter through my kitchen window. All the taquerías have a similar name to “El Paisano” except the fifth one that closed that was named LAS QUINCE LETRAS. “The Fifteen Letters,” when counted, is actually fifteen letters. Dumb. 

 

I would go to the same one (third from the corner) every Monday when their tacos de cabeza were 2×1. Get four tacos and a caguama from the store and barely spend any money. Being a regular, they opened the caguama for me, put it behind the bar, and serve me in a plastic cup.  

 

The dollar was cheaper back then, but everything was also cheaper.


 

And there are tacos fucking everywhere! In every single neighborhood. In every single place. All types of tacos.


 

I went to Otay for Tacos el Gallito recently. In the same street, I saw that there were another dozen taquerías.


 

I went to La Cinco y Diez, which is barely halfway through the city, for Tacos Wichos… and on the way there… well… You could eat at three different taco stands for a whole year in Tijuana and not repeat a single one. 


 

Fancy restaurants also tend to serve tacos.


 

There is a club called Esquivel that has a taquería inside near the dance floor called Mucha Muchacha. That’s pretty fucking new… let’s see how long it lasts.


 

And I barely even scratched the surface of how many tacos there are. Much less how much food you can fucking eat. 


There are secret foods as well.

 

I’ve actually only seen this one once… and that was before I even lived here. The morning mariscos.

 

Apparently, the corner of 11th and Negrete (or somewhere around there) there is a little shop that sells only caldo de mariscos (seafood broth) from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. to drunk people.

 

I was there once years ago when I was still living in LA. I wasn’t hungry for seafood soup… so I didn’t order.

 

But there was a long line to order and a wedding arrived at the scene. I was too drunk to recall details, just thinking “this is fucking insanity.”

 

I haven’t tried to get that seafood soup… but have heard it from uber drivers and others about the place. And supposedly, the main guy died, left the place to his sons and it’s not the same as before. 


 

Other secret or weird foods… a liquor store called El Oasis. They recently remodeled it… but it’s like a house that is also a store, that is also a restaurant…

 

That sells giant ass clamatos and beer with whatever ingredient you want in the big gulp glasses from 7-Eleven. Two parrots sit inside the store annoying the fuck out of the customers.


 

My clamato with beer is using cheat codes. Right downstairs from my apartments sits Israel “el Buzito” son of El Buzo (or scuba diver). 

 

He has been selling ceviche tostadas and seafood cocktails in the corner below my apartment since the 80s. It was his dad’s business, which Israel told me that grew to several restaurants, but finally ended up closing to just ending up in the same corner.

 

His dad was an alcoholic, hence the name “Buzo,” because scuba divers are always underwater, which apparently means he was always drunk.

 

Israel is the complete opposite. He is a Christian gentleman that works hard to support his family in his little food cart.

 

And this is where the magical clamato is.

 

I get a caguamón of Tecate in the corner store and get a shrimp cocktail from Buzo (sometimes with clam and octopus, sometimes just shrimp). Eat a bit of the shrimp cocktail, then fill with beer, rinse and repeat. 

Thanks, Chad. I think he originally did this and I just perfected it.

 

That’s one of the best breakfasts you can have on a hot day. Buzo told me where to pick-up the shrimp he uses… 

On Calle Sexta, there are a bunch of fish stores… like three straight blocks of just fish. He says the Chinese have the best and biggest shrimp at the best price. His shrimp cocktail usually has nice big shrimp.


 

Today. Today is fried chicken Friday at Voodoo Stu’s. Dude that comes from Atlanta, married a Tijuana girl and has southern comfort food and gumbo shack in the art alley. Not sure how much longer he will last there either. This week, he is only opening today. He opens less than 6 days a month. Not sure how he stays in business. But I love it there and his chicken is fantastic. His side veggies always make me feel like I ate healthy hearty homemade southern food, or at least I like to deceive my mind to think so.


 

Today. I’m also hoping to play some tennis and maybe get a picture I took of tacos printed. Yep. Someone asked me for a poster-sized print of pictures of tacos.

 

The taco cover comes out soon. 

 

And I have much work to do.

 

A bunch of photography work. A bunch of writing. And a tour at some point. 

 

Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 19. An Actual Guide Part 1: Tacos + Beer. Nevermind… Cocktails.

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


Chapter 19. An Actual Guide Part 1: Tacos + Beer. Nevermind… Cocktails.

 

I’m almost done with my text for the taco issue. I went to food porn places that some dude on Instagram name @Baja_Cali_Food posted. His food porn always made me salivate… so I went to check out the places. One of them (El Nuevo Tecolote) is one of the best tacos I’ve had. The rest were more than okay… but I still prefer my neighborhood tacos.

Up next, going to San Diego to take pictures of tacos by other writers and the cover photo. 

I have a sweet gig going. 


 

This is my third year doing the taco issue. And it will be my second taco cover…. Tacover… 

 

Dumb.

 

The first tacover was at my friend’s taco/torta truck named Corazón de Torta. I didn’t choose the location, someone in the office did. Turns out they are cousins.

 

A sneaky way to make the cover.

 

And my hand was on the cover.


 

Corazón de Torta was barely opening and it wasn’t that great… but I’ve been back recently and holy shit… I can easily say they have the best tongue taco in the region, better than most of Tijuana, and only beaten by Birrieria Guadalajara in Ensenada.

 

Guadalajara has the best tacos de lengua I have ever tried. 


But this is not about Guadalajara or San Diego. This is mostly about Tijuana and just a bit of Ensenada. I do declare sir! Tijuana has the best tacos in the mother fucking world.

 

Just hands down.

 

Best fucking tacos in the world. 

 

And I’m going to take it a step further… 

 

We even have the best fucking beer in the world.

 

An outrageous fucking claim… but that’s the reason I live here.

 

And it is all insanely cheap! Especially if you earn dollars.

 

Fuck do I love this city.


 

And most people only come to fuck prostitutes and leave.

 

Not knowing the food and beer paradise behind the dirty streets.

 

It’s fucking crazy how much food and drinking there is.


 

Tijuana’s cocktail game is not to par with other places in the world. I can only name less than a handful that prepares great cocktails and just a dozen places that can perhaps make a cocktail.

 

Let’s get that shit out of the way.

 

Nortico, the speakeasy behind Oryx Capital probably has the best cocktails… but they pricey!

 

It’s a great experience to take people to Oryx… then lead them to the bathroom… and to the secret green wall. Every once in a while I meet people that know about Oryx and still don’t know about the speakeasy. Drinks here are going to cost $10+ each. That’s fucking dollars. So yeah. Pricey but worth it.

 

Tras / Horizonte follows closely. They had a bartender from San Francisco that ended up being an alcoholic and fell in love with a girl that I dated briefly… now they live somewhere else.

 

Fucking Tijuana.

 

Anyway. Their cocktails are flashy, very inspired, and good… but lack the alcohol taste. I’ve probably drank a couple and felt nothing. Also. Pricey. Drinks are actually better priced than the food… Maybe because Tras / Horizonte used to be Kokopelli, which used to be so fucking good and cheap. And now it hurts to pay almost triple for their tacos… when a few years back were better and way cheaper…

 

By the way.

 

Everything might have changed by the time you read this. Everything might change fucking tomorrow.

 

This city changes way too fast.


 

What I try to do in my tours… is download the map of the city that my brain has… into other people’s brains.

 

But that’s impossible.

 

We’re not machines… not just yet.

 

But I do have a map similar to Metroid Prime’s Gamecube style of mapping. The 3D map. If you played the game you know the joys of navigating that map. In fact… they did everything in that game. It should be played more. I should play more Metroids…


 

Continuing with the cocktail list… let’s keep it simple. The other two were not in downtown Tijuana… and downtown is my stomping grounds.

 

Bar Nelson. Find me there on a regular basis… though less and less each day since there is no oxygen in the bar, only cigarette smoke. I’m going to die of lung cancer before any of those fucking smokers. 

 

Bar Nelson is fucking cheap. Cocktail experts… not really. It’s a divey bar and the main bartender and owner knows what they are doing. They can whip up a cocktail. Erica makes a great fucking margarita. And everyone goes for the “especiales” which used to be called “mamadas” years before. 

 

They’ve had the same especial for decades. Old people go to Nelson. Young people go to Nelson. It’s a spectacle.

 

And I’m that asshole that plays jazz in the jukebox. 

 

It happened yesterday.

 

The bartender, Liz, lost the toin coss, so she said “go play jazz.” She hates jazz. Almost everyone hates jazz. I don’t get it.

 

I enjoy it. A lot. But who knows… 

 

Yesterday though… I took it too far. Four jazz songs in a row is too much for bar attendees. I heard what I presume was a gay patron shout out “who is playing this crappy music?” I can tell he was gay because of the way he said and the way he looked. Yes. My gaydar is semi-accurate. I can also tell because the whole table seemed to be gay. His shirt was on too tight. And he had GREEN fucking hair in a stylish fashion.

 

Nelson. Boom. Roasted.


 

La Justina and Cine Tonalá both are newish have fancy cocktails and they are doing a decent job (but a bit pricey). La Justina is much better at it, but their food got stupid small and expensive. It’s more enjoyable to just get a couple of drinks and munch on their free popcorn with ash and salt. 

 

Don’t try the old fashioned at Cine Tonalá. I told the owner this and she told me they made it better. It’s still not good. I’ve had better old fashioned at dive bars in the US than this fancy cocktail place. I got to tell her again… but I’m not buying it. She’ll serve me one, once she comes back from Europe.

The rest of the cocktail menu is pretty good. They have mezcal and some gin drinks that are refreshing. Their beer menu is a fucking mess. The food is hit or miss. Some of it is delicious and well priced, some of it is way overpriced for how tiny it can be.

Try this one, the Santa Tlali (maracuya mezcal):

My ex used to love the beet and spinach salad with goat cheese. I enjoy their burger… dare to say one of the best in town. But that’s not saying much. Tacos are what’s best here… burgers… not so much.

I mean… I’ll probably take In N’ Out over almost any burger in TJ. I just tried a burger in San Diego at a place called “The Friendly.” They don’t give you options, they just serve you this dirty greasy fucking double cheeseburger that would make Randy from Trailer Park Boys proud. Dirty greasy bomb perfection for $5. I could munch on those fuckers forever and then die of diarrhea.


 

That’s pretty much it for cocktails! All dive bars carry the standards, but not every bartender knows what the fuck they are doing besides opening beers and pouring tequila shots.


 

Oh shit!

 

Almost forgot… 

 

El Tinieblo inside La Cevichería Nais… That place has a smokey old fashioned made with mezcal that is fucking killer.

 

They also have “mezcalitas” margaritas made with mezcal and they are all fucking tasty as fuck. There’s the “pulp friction” which is a chamoy based margarita (again… with mezcal, called mezcalitas). La cuchi cuchi which is like the classic mezcalita, a mango one, a spearmint one that is perfect to cleanse the palate for whatever the fuck you are gonna do next. 

 

And the food is fucking amazing. The ambiance is great too. The service is a bit too much, they take your napkin away as soon as you barely wrinkle it. Dudes. Relax. I don’t need my barely dirty napkin taken away immediately.

 

The cocktail list is extensive and it has never disappointed.

 

So yeah.

 

For the best cocktails in downtown… El Tinieblo (which is getting remodeled right now) inside La Cevicheria Nais (which is your only option right now due to the aforementioned remodeling).


 

Honorary mention. Caesar’s Restaurant. 

 

I actually don’t think I’ve ever had a cocktail here. I just know I trust that they can actually do good work. Caesar’s is a Tijuana staple. The place where caesar salad was invented. Though it has changed. It was acquired by the Plascencias in 2011 (I believe) and remodeled. It’s a bustling success. They have great live music on some nights. Their menu is extensive and most of it is delicious (avoid the salmon fingers… DO FUCKING go for the tuetano aka bone marrow or for their oysters Rockefeller). The best thing about Caesar’s… It’s not that expensive. 

 

It wasn’t that long ago that I was sitting with the publisher/editor of one of the only surviving real surf magazines out there, The Surfer’s Journal. 

 

He read my articles before and wanted to chat with me. I ended up hanging out with the guy at Caesar’s for a couple hours drinking and snacking. We had a couple beers each, a couple shots of mezcal, Rockefeller oysters, and something else… I forgot. But the check was $28 or something like that. He was happy.

 

We then went to Valle de Guadalupe the following day to Finca Altozano for his interview with Javier Plascencia, Tijuana’s most coveted chef.

 

That’s the second time I’m in his presence, but the first time I actually sit with him at a table. He is a fucking chill guy living the best life you can possibly imagine. Busy as fuck. But who wouldn’t want to be him…? The “inventor” of Baja-Med. The trendy tasty cuisine of this region. Octopus is his strength. 

 

Octopus is the strength here. And seafood in general. And tacos.

 

Fucking tacos. That’s what I was going to write about and look how fucking deviated I got.


 

Other honorary mention, the classic of classics, Dandy Del Sur.

 

I started going there lately in exchange of Nelson. The main reason is… NO SMOKING ALLOWED at Dandy’s. I can breathe.

 

It’s a classic. Almost legendary. People come from far to drink at Dandy’s. 

Dandy’s: where the legendary Anthony Bourdain set foot to have a drink with la Señora Aida whose birthday is one day before mine. They have their picture framed in the bar.

 

And I got a VIP card.

 

I didn’t do anything to deserve it but pay 250 pesos (around $14 at the time I bought it). It guarantees a 2 x 1 in any first (national) drink every day. The card pays for itself in 7-10 visits. It has other perks, but the best is the 2 x 1.

 

They suck at cocktails. They are strong and not well mixed. They also have their own “especial” but I haven’t bothered to try it. 

 

I know about their cocktails because they have specials depending on the day. 3 whiskeys for 90 pesos ($5). Straight up shitty whisky. 

 

Palomas 2 x 1. Fucking shitty as palomas.

 

Cuba libres. Shitty. 

 

I’m not sure if they can actually prepare actual drinks. I guess I’ll have to venture into cocktails there… but I rather just get a couple of beers 2 x 1 and get out.

 

That’s what I did yesterday.

 

After visiting the new Mamut taproom on Calle Sexta. What used to be Praga 2. What before was the shitty strip club that I mentioned with Hudson and Penner.

 

Right across from Dandy del Sur. Near La Cevichería Nais.

 

All this shit is nearby. And there’s still dozens of bars and restaurants that I haven’t ventured. 

 

And that’s just fucking downtown Tijuana… when I go to other regions of the city it feels like I went to another fucking city.


 

I have a sexy photo shoot in an hour and I haven’t had breakfast. This turned out to be about cocktails. Next will be about tacos. Or perhaps beer. 

 

Beer is going to be extensive… should save that shit for last.


 

About the sexy photoshoot… this is newgrounds for me. I had a friend model for me a couple times and she is sexy as hell, but it was more urban wear that looked like an American Apparel ad or something. Not really because AA likes to use exotic and really young looking chicks. This girl has a rocking body, but a tomboy feel. The point is… it was sexy, but not as sexy as the next.

 

I did a different sexy shoot with a different friend. She got semi-naked… the only problem is she isn’t that hot. It was still a fun shoot and turned out some great frames that she liked. So that she is happy means I’m happy.

 

And today… in an hour or so… yep… An hour. 

 

Another friend designs lingerie for “suicide type” looking chicks. You know… like goth lingerie. So I’m meeting two models who I have no idea who they are and taking pictures at a laundromat for a lingerie brand.

 

I’m sort of nervous… sort of excited… 

 

Let’s see how it goes. 

 

I’m not getting paid… so I should actually do some real work after (and I have two paid gigs lined up this weekend…I’m set).


 

Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 17.5 — Ensenada Again And the Last Bachelor Tour.

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


 

Chapter 17.5. Ensenada Again And the Last Bachelor Tour.

And yes.

That was a fucking gruesome tour. By the end of it, I told them I was retiring. They might have been the last bachelor tour I ever do. 

 

Fifteen fucking people. I guess one didn’t show up. Or I was the sixteenth.

 


 

I was early for the tour. There was absolutely no border wait line. I was supposed to meet them at the border at 4:00 pm. I crossed by 3 pm, didn’t see them until almost 5:30 pm.

 

The bachelor was wasted already. He had been drinking since waking up at around 8ish a.m. His brother seemed to be in control.


 

It was around 7 American-Hindu guys, one Hindu with an accent, and the rest white boys. 

 

Sorry for the generic description. My tours tend to be one big blur. I think I’ve only done around 20 bachelor tours… and I barely remember a single person. Except for Ted. Ted was great.

 

I still have to tell Ted’s story.


 

The tour started at Norte Brewing Company. The views and the beers there are always killer. Moving around 15 people is a pain in the ass. 

 

The bachelor requested Mision 19. We actually reserved the place… 

 

But it’s outside of downtown. Moving 16 people to Mision 19 was a real tough mission. You could say it was an impossible mission…

 

Ok.

 

You can stop reading me now.


 

…..

 

So I decided to skip Mision 19 and convinced them it was the right move. Not only that, fuckers were already wasted and obnoxious. And I’m not taking them to Mision 19 like that. Improvising is the name of the game.

 

I led them to La Cevicheria Nais. On the way there, the bachelor hired mariachis to follow him around and play music. Fucking hilarious shit. 


 

I went directly to the manager of La Cevicheria Nais and told him I had a bachelor party of 16 people. They shuffled so quick to get us a giant table ready for us in the back of the restaurant.

 

The service, like always, was great.

 

Pricey.

 

But fucking great.

 

The total check was around $850+ tip for 16 guys who drank a bottle and a half of tequila, more than 20 mezcal old fashioned drinks, I saw a few mezcalitas going around, and a couple of beers.

 

Also, two or more tacos each and a few specialty plates.

 

Point was… it was a fucking feast.

 

And a drunken feast.

 

The manager of the place came to the bachelor to give him the classic tequila shot from the bottle in his mouth.


 

And from there… to fucking Hong Kong. The biggest craziest brothel I’ve ever seen.

 

Some guys even said the same thing… they’ve been to clubs in Southeast Asia, nothing like this. 


 

Seriously. FUCK THAT PLACE.

 

It’s so good at first, but it’s so bad once you are burnt out. Fuck that place.


 

But if I’m there… I have to enjoy myself. Can’t be at Hong Kong and not get “Chinese food.” And by that I mean, I chose one girl from the hundreds and buy her drinks for her to sit on my lap and dance.

 

She also helped me not to lose the guys. Which was hilarious. Her name was Merlina. 

 

HAHA

 

Fucking Merlina.

 

Like a creep, I asked her her real name later.


Then she showed me pictures of her kid and her American boyfriend. 

She was only 20-years-old. Divorced. She got married at the age of 16. How that is a thing in Mexico still… I have no fucking clue.

She said that it was normal for her and her family. And she was happy to be divorced and working there. She was adorable. But for some reason, her two front teeth were heavily discolored. And her teeth weren’t bad, they didn’t seem crooked or anything. Just the front two were yellow. 


 

The tour ended at 1ish a.m. 

 

Some guys wanted to stay. But instructions of the bachelor and the brother were that everyone must go together back to the border.


 

Somehow I got them all together. Three were lost. So I took the rest of the party to get tacos while I went looking for the missing guys.

 

What a fucking shitshow.

 

But it all ended well.

 

We walked back to the border. It was dark as fuck. The scary bridge with flickering lights didn’t even have lights this time. But it’s fucking 16 dudes. And one guy was 6’8. I doubt robbers want to mess with that group. 


 

By the way, the guy that was 6’8 took a girl to the hotel room and said he couldn’t do anything because the girl said he was too big… He wanted to complain, but that doesn’t really work in Hong Kong and plus fuck it. That sounds like a good excuse to not be with a prostitute.


 

Mission successful. I made decent money + tips. But holy fuck is that shit tiring.


 

And after I dropped them at the border, I had money in my wallet and had the desire to go back. But not to Hong Kong. Just another shitty club in the area. 

 

I’ve learned my mistakes at Rio Verde but for some reason, it was calling me. That place is a dirty drug-fueled mess. Before stepping in, I decided against it. So I went to my classic cantina for a beer.


That was not enough. On my walk home, I decided to check out a drag show… At Villa García bar.

 

And that bar turns out to be a gay Hong Kong or something. So many guys hit on me that night. I accepted a couple of Tecate Lights. There were beautiful transsexual women at a corner of a bar. There were also a lot of non-passable crossdressers.

 

And 10 guys only wearing underwear running around and dancing on everyone. 

 

It’s a fucking riot.

 

Gays have beyond great sex life and I’m jealous of it.

 

But I couldn’t.

 

I lied about my name, told them my name was Charlie. I lied about where I was from, told them I was from Texas. I didn’t even speak Spanish to anyone. 

 

So for a couple hours, I was gay Charlie. And I’m happy to say that a lot of gay guys find me attractive. An older gay couple came to me and told me I was cute and bought me more beer. Transsexuals were giving me the eye. One of them danced on me… and then she got mad because she tried to kiss me and I turned away. Other gay guys tried their luck and I played hard to get. 

 

I felt like a pretty whore. 


 

This chapter was the continuation of Ensenada. It wasn’t meant to talk that much about bachelor parties. 


 

I can’t Ensenada as well as I can Tijuana. I won’t do Valle de Guadalupe tours because I barely know the place. And every time I go it changes.

 

Plus, it’s fucking expensive. And I don’t know much about wine.

 

If you have the chance to go to Valle de Guadalupe… fucking do it.

 

The same goes with Ensenada. It’s an awesome place to visit. And I want to do it more often.


Though I don’t know much about Ensenada… I ended up being a tour guide there last weekend. I knew more than the Americans I was with that had absolutely no clue about Ensenada.

 

Texting my friend Kelvin also helped. He told me where the party was at.


 

Before the wedding, it was some sort of bachelor tour, but not quite. My friend is not into strippers and refused to go to the strip club in Ensenada. The best one, supposedly, is Paris de Noche. I still have never been. From what I heard the next morning… It wasn’t very good. Or not nearly as good as Hong Kong.


Instead of that, we went for street tacos, walked to downtown, did Cantina Hussong’s because is the classic cantina in Ensenada. It was packed, so we moved out after the first beer. Everything seemed shitty and like a tourist trap. Kelvin came up with the suggestion of Distrito Barra Pública.

 

He nailed the suggestion. Quiet place with a nice patio with great beer. Exactly what the party wanted. And after that… everyone back to their hotel for the wedding the next morning.


My hotel…?

 

The groom of the wedding got an Airbnb for me and other people at the wedding. It was fucking next to the house I stayed four years ago.

 

It was a really nice big house, but not as huge as the house next door. Ocean views, it could easily fit 8+ people and it’s only $150 a night. 

 

And the first night, only me and the groom’s brother stayed there. In the kitchen counter, the owners left us a bottle of wine… How romantic.

 

It wasn’t awkward, but it did feel like a waste of space. So for the second night, we invited more people to stay with us after the wedding.


Oh.

 

And the wedding.


 

Wedding was work for me. I also ended up being a translator in general… I ran around everywhere and took thousands of pictures.

 

When my flash died and the party was in general winding down, I sat down exhausted and had some more beer.

 

Yes. I drank throughout the wedding. I take better pictures that way.


I don’t know how it happened.

 

I just know that I was telling her “are you sure you want to do this?” while calling an Uber to the Airbnb. I also remember making out with her.


 

Who was her?

 

Well… the wedding didn’t really have that many attractive women except the bride and older women.

 

And she was old. Yet attractive. And weddings + Ensenada. That’s just a cocktail for disaster. 

 

An actual GILF. She was more than double my age. 


 

Again. I don’t know how it happened.

 

But I took her to an Uber back to the Airbnb with me and we woke up naked next to each other.


That’s all you need to know.

 

And some in the party found out… 

 

Because on my way back to Tijuana from Ensenada they asked me about it. And they saw me as some sort of legend. And the reassurance from the guy that was the same age as me that he would have done the same is nice.

 

For me… 

 

It was one week ago. And I’m still in shock.


Sorry, mom.

 

Hope you never read this but I’m sure you will.


 

Now to move on. I have shit tons of photo work to do. That’s why I might retire my tours. I’m making good money with pictures. And if all this shit that I’m writing makes me good money. Then… fuck. Tours are done for sure. Or just making them hella expensive.

 

Money is good. Mkay? 


 

And my upcoming homework is great. The taco issue. I get to eat tacos, photograph them, and write about it. 

 

That’s what I am doing for the next couple of days. Then more work work work.

 

And soon to be finished with this shit.

Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 17 — Ensenada Adventure.

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


Chapter 17. Ensenada Adventure.

 

I have a tour in a couple hours. It’s 16 people in total. Given their names, I’m pretty sure they are Hindu. Most are coming from New York.

 

I have no desire to do the tour.

 

I’m sure it will go awesome. But I’m tired. 


 

The tour previous to this one… Another one that came to film a reality show went horribly wrong. Just thinking about it makes me livid.

 

I’ll talk about that shit later. 


 

This was a good week. April has gone awesome and it just started. I made money left and right. A friend got married, I did the pictures. He paid me more than what I had asked for.

 

I took way too many pictures. And a huge edit. I can still be better.


 

Got a bunch of other photo work done. I’ve been regularly busy.


 

The wedding was in Ensenada.

 

And here’s the thing about Ensenada.

 

It’s a fucking awesome place to visit.


 

In a way, it’s a glimpse of what Tijuana used to be. It’s heavily visited by tourist Americans who are too afraid of Tijuana so they choose Ensenada. 

 

In this last visit, I saw that they sold bracelets that read “Fuck Trump.” And also a racist yet somewhat hilarious bracelet that read “I ❤ Nigga Pussy.” 

 

There were a lot of black Americans walking the streets of Ensenada. I wonder what they would think of those bracelets. Or if the Mexicans selling them ever got in trouble. I’m pretty sure they get a kick out of it.


 

You know those woven bracelets that they sell in the touristy beaches of Mexico, right? They don’t really sell those in Tijuana. Seeing that shit is like going back to the 90s. At some point, I wore those bracelets. A lot of them.

 

That point was high school.

 

So yeah. The late 90s.


 

Every damn time I go to fucking Ensenada crazy wild shit happens. This was no exception.

 

And oh…

 

Of wild stories to tell.

 

My fucking life reads like fiction.


 

The first time that Ensenada engulfed me was in 2014, four years ago exactly.

 

I was broke as fuck at the time. I could barely afford rent. I lived day by day wondering when my next paycheck will come.

 

I still live like that… But it’s been getting better…


 

My neighbor knocked on my door. He wanted to go to the Ensenada Beer Fest, Mexico’s biggest and best craft beer festival. I told him I had 300 pesos in my wallet and barely any money in the bank. He said that it will be fine. He wanted company.

 

About where I was staying. He said not to worry, he had a house.

 

About getting into the beer fest, he said not to worry, he knows some people.


 

So out of nothing, I was suddenly on my way to Ensenada with my neighbor who I barely knew. Younger than me, but not by much, he was still going to college. 

 

I haven’t seen him in forever. Cool guy. But I believe he lives in Mexicali now.


 

We arrived at his house in Ensenada. It was his parents’ house in pretty much the nicest neighborhood in the city. On top of the hill, overlooking downtown with views of the ocean and the port. I couldn’t see much from the outside but it seemed like a pretty big house.

 

Where were his parents? “Don’t worry about it, they won’t be back,” he said.


 

The house was locked.

 

He had no key.

 


 

So he called every locksmith in town to figure out a way to get in. But to do this, he had dropped me off at the Ensenada Beer Fest.


 

He left me at the mercy of some girl. I’m sorry that I don’t remember her name. She was cool. I want to guess “Rosa,” but I’m really not sure.

 

Rosa had extra tickets for the beer fest, so I joined her. And with the 300 pesos I had left, I got as much beer as I could. They were selling at 10 to 20 pesos the 4 oz samplers. Plus, they were giving a lot free tasters. It was a lot of fucking beer.


 

The only bad memory I had about that day was at the Donkey Punch Brewery stand. They offered me a beer. Like literally offered me a beer without saying I was buying. They served me two glasses… It was clearly an indication of free beer. The festival was ending and this dude was serving everyone.

 

Then he charged me.

 

Fuck that shit.

 

My final pesos gone.


 

I didn’t hear from my neighbor. I never saw him at the Beer Fest.


 

Rosa took me to a nearby bar. Red Lion. They have that shit in Tijuana (yep, the same as the first bar I went to). It’s a nice looking bar but fucking generic and boring. Beers are cheap. 


 

Rosa bought me a big beer (they serve draft beer in 1-liter bottles of Oso Negro Vodka). There were other friends of hers there. I was tired and drunk and had no idea where I was going to sleep.

 

I knew I had some money on my debit card so I was thinking of getting a hotel for the night. $30-40 hotel if possible. I knew I had at least $100 in the bank.


 

Just as I was looking at the possibility of the hotel, Rosa tells me that my neighbor called and that we should come to the house.


 

Apparently, I went in and told everyone I felt like I was in an episode of House Hunters International. The house opened up to a beautiful living room with huge windows and a huge balcony with views of fucking everything. It was truly astonishing. There were bottles of wine on the counter. The usual Tijuana celebrities were there. 

 

I drank wine and mingled. But I don’t remember much.


 

I think I passed out on the couch.

 

I did.


 

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. in a bedroom by myself. 

 

I walked into this huge bathroom to drink from the sink and cool my head down. 

 

The fucking towels were wrapped like fucking geese as if it was a fucking hotel room.


 

I walked out to the balcony and saw the huge looming house above me. I had no idea where the fuck I was. All I thought was… sleep some more… It will all get clear if you sleep some more.


 

I slept a bit more and then I got woken up by my neighbor who was tapping my forehead with a cold can of Coors Light.

 

He was drinking one already.

 

“Let’s go to my Grandma’s and have brunch,” he said.


 

Before figuring that out… we drank a bit and played Wii U as other people that crashed in the house were figuring out what to do as well. 

 

That was the first time I played Wii U…

 

On the couch, in the living room, there was a black, white, and gold cushion that read “My Other House is in Paris.”

 

“Where are your parents?” I asked.

 

“In Paris,” was the obvious reply.


 

His grandma’s house was also a beautiful villa. Not as huge as the house overlooking Ensenada, but more of a traditional Mexican house with a nice patio with fruit-bearing trees.

 

His grandma not only treated us to a traditional and amazing grandma brunch she brought out caguamas.

 

So we drank beers with the abuelita while she told some horror stories that happened recently in the family. A horrible robbery that happened. It killed the mood a bit.

 

Fucking Ensenada.

 

But they were all fine still alive and healthy. So the mood lightened up and we drank more and ate more.


 

Later that night we met with more of his Ensenada friends. We were supposed to go back to Tijuana, but we ended up in the huge house with people drinking wine and smoking weed looking at the sunset in the magnificent fucking balcony.


 

That was my first time in Ensenada. Ever since… I’ve had plenty of good times down there.

 

The latest comes next.

 

Now I have to get ready for the tour. It’s going to be a long one. I’m not totally ready. I do not want to do this.


 

I might retire soon. It’s not the first time I’ve said that. But I’m burnt out. Tours take a toll.


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

 

 

Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 14.5 — Rumble Fest, Acid, and Meth. 

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


Chapter 14.5. Rumble Fest, Acid, and Meth. 

 

The festival ended. It was a mess. We lost a lot of money. And I barely even slept.

 

I still owed $400 to Mothers of Gut and Habits who came all the way from Los Angeles. They also had a horrible time, except when they were on stage and then partying. They had a horrible time on their way down to Tijuana. They got a flat tire, got in trouble at the border, and it was a general mess. They also got up on stage later than promised but made the most out of it.  

 

Not only that. I promised them $400+ expenses. I only paid them $400, it was all I had. As in, seriously, all I fucking had. $64 were left in the bank. And I had no real income.

 

We thought that we were going to make money with Rumble Fest.

 

Fuck were we wrong.

 

And all the signs that it was going to be wrong were there. And I knew it. But we were having too much fun.


 

I crossed the border to the US with the bands and gave them the cash. I didn’t sleep for over 20 hours and border crossing took us around 2 hours. I was destroyed. And cashless.


 

I went home, got food, got plenty of water, dropped acid, and floated away for what seemed days.


 

After everything that happened… everyone was on acid during the festival except me. It was my turn. I could see my body floating away as I blasted live concerts on YouTube by Battles and other noisy/mathy bands. I rested on acid. Again, as if floating/levitating in the middle of the room. 


 

Months before Rumble Fest, we were organizing mini-festivals. It involved bands that were going to be featured in the event and other minor bands that asked us to be in it but we couldn’t. We did one or two every weekend. This often involved music, alcohol, and drugs.

 

Sex. Sex was also included and random.

 

Everyone was single. And we ruled the stage, the entrance, and the party. The party never fucking ended.


 

The party started since the idea of Rumble Fest came about. We worked. But work was partying. And coming up with ideas. And talking to bands.

 

I did a lot of the work.

 

The website. The ideas. The actual fabrication of what was going to go down. Logistics. They never trusted me fully, and a lot of that went wrong. Logistics. I had some contacts in the music industry and other vendors.

 

David had the crazy idea and the contacts for music and party people. 

 

Chad had the contacts for music and artists. 

 

And for three months we coordinated to make it all happen.

 

 


 

 

J-Mar came later. He had contacts and his own ideas. His band was opening the festival. We needed his support.


 

After many preview shows, the date of Rumble Fest was near. Which was a week before my birthday.


 

The ultimate party celebrating that this shit was actually happening. At the gym, with our partners.

 

Tecates abounded. And we drank for a long time. 

 

Cocaine was also available. And though I don’t like the drug, I partook. 


 

Suddenly, we were running low on beer and out of cocaine and it was past midnight.

 

Someone said he had a contact for both. Forty minutes later when only one beer was left, the contact showed up with a 24-pack and more cocaine.

 

Party saved… momentarily.


 

That was harsh cocaine. 

 

In fact, it didn’t feel like cocaine at all.

 


 

 

We were at the gym. There were mirrors everywhere. So I remember staring myself in the mirror and realizing I just did some meth.

 

My hair was crazy, I felt insanely energized and powerful, my eyes were bloodshot red, and I had a sudden thirst for everything.


 

That feeling continued the next day. 


 

And the next day.


 

And almost to the next day.


 

We drank Tecates throughout the whole weekend. Mostly at Tropics Bar. 

 

That’s why I loathe that place. 

 

And many other reasons… 


 

That year, 2015, was the last time I went there, near Christmas time.

 

Except, I broke my promise of not going there last week. When friends from Minnesota came over and we were invited there. It wasn’t as horrible as my memory painted it.


 

It was on Sunday at Tropics Bar when I started to feel the fucking worst withdrawal feelings ever. Thank god I don’t really fucking smoke cigarettes or ever dabbled with heroin. 

 

Fuck that.


 

It was a fucking nightmare.

 

I was wearing sunglasses at night like a fucking douchenozzle. But I did it because my fucking head felt horrible. I was a zombie. I was fully awake but tired as fuck. I knew the only thing that would make me feel better would be more meth.


 

Or “cricais” (crick-ice) cocaine mixed with “ice.” That’s what it was.

 

That shit was fucking nasty.


 

To top it all off, there were four women at the bar that I have previously slept with. One crazy chick, one girl that I fell in love with and the feelings weren’t mutually, and two one-night stands.

 

And there I was with. Feeling like shit. Drunk as fuck and coming off from meth. And ex-lovers in the same bar talking to other lovers. 


 

“Tijuana es un cojedero, se cree ciudad, pero es un pueblito.”

 

Tijuana is a fuckfest, it believes its a city, but it’s just a small town. I was warned about that when I first arrived in the city. It was. It still is.


 

One week to Rumble Fest. Nothing was really ready. Problems were mounting. Everything was falling apart. And the solution were more drugs and alcohol.


 

Clean the fuck out of the area where the fest was going to happen. Fell behind in permits. The vendors were confused. The sound was a shitty contractor. The bands were a mess. And organizers… 

 

Organizers were kept together by drugs, friendship, Tecates, and a fucking belief that we could pull the best fucking concert ever out of our asses.


 

For some people it was. For a lot of others, it was a fucking disaster.

 

It had its highlights, for me, it was 100 Onces. That was it. That was the only moment I enjoyed myself for a second.

 

The rest was running around FUCKING everywhere answering fucking EVERYONE about FUCKING anything. And almost everyone was on fucking drugs. Which made things worse.

 

I had to kick out bands off-stage. Held the ankle of the drummer of the Wax Children to let them know it was their last song. They expanded that last song for many minutes and I had to grab his ankle again. Everything fucking behind schedule.

 

And bands always want special treatment. They are all rockstars in their heads.

 

I had to kick out one of the bands. I told them that I couldn’t be giving everyone fucking blowjobs. And they came in demanding instead of helping. The schedule was way behind, and they wanted the stage. Told them it wasn’t their turn, they got up on stage anyway.

 

Kicked them the fuck out.

 

Not your fucking turn.

 

Fucking bands.


 

Many were helpful, many were in drugs (yet still helpful), and most seemed to enjoy themselves.

 

Only one band were complete ratdicks, they don’t exist anymore, so it’s not even worth mentioning them. Great musicians. Shit attitude.

 

The other, San Pedro El Cortez, they were the fucking best. They didn’t care what happens as long as they could have beers. They played at 4 fucking a.m. The last band to play. And they were happy to do so. With a shit drum set and without checking sound over and over. They just went up on fucking stage and did their thing. 


 

And that’s the last time I tried organizing a major event. And I don’t think I ever will. Unless I get paid a lot and the investment is not my money. And that’s never going to happen. So yeah. 

 

No.


 

I rarely even go to shows nowadays.

 

This last week I went to two. That felt good. I should go to more. But no more drugs. Those days are behind me.

 

That’s what your twenties are for, right?

 

Hunter S. Thompson would disagree. But I don’t have his talent or his wit.  


 

One show was in San Diego. Kirby Dream Band. Nerdy shit. It was great.

 

The other was in Tijuana with my Minnesotan friends. Perdición. It was hardcore. It was fucking loud. Very fucking loud. Dangerously fucking loud.

 

Minnesotan friends couldn’t handle the loud. So we bounced after a few songs.


 

That was after days and nights partying in San Diego, one night in Tijuana, Minnesotans were hungover as fuck, we still fucking managed to party somehow.

 

No strip clubs. 

 

They did that in Southeast Asia. And didn’t feel the need to do it anymore.


 

My stories are enough.

 

I don’t need new stories.


 

And I only have a few left before I’m done embarrassing myself.

Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 14 — Pachangas Matt, Drugs, Rumble Fest, Donkey Show, Bands, and Party.

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


Chapter 14. Pachangas Matt, Drugs, Rumble Fest, Donkey Show, Bands, and Party.

 

A blog post about my life 2 years ago show me that I was very sick in February, I was broke, and my life sucked. That blog post also contained pictures of Mila Kunis that I took 10 years ago.


But two years ago, I was a party animal.

 

Pachangas Matt.


 

I’m sort of a professional alcoholic now. I don’t really drink in moderation but it’s really hard to get me drunk.

 

My roommate said he never saw me drunk. My ex-girlfriend saw me real drunk probably twice, but she also said she never saw me drunk.

 

Besides that… I drink, I get tired. I go to bed.


 

I don’t know how other alcoholics can do it. I’m not capable of drinking and staying awake. At some point, I’m just done. 


 

Pachangas Matt lasted a bit until dawn.

 

Drug infused Danger Dave lasted for days. Cocaine is a hell of a drug.

 

And in Tijuana, cocaine is usually not the purest…

 

Chad was fueled by caguamas back then. He could last until noon or later just drinking caguamas and talking to everyone. His Spanish improved after three or more caguamas. 

 

Spanglish ruled supreme. 

 


 

I often had to drag Chad back to the apartment or leave him behind because I was fucking going to bed. 

 

The sun rising felt like an indication that it was bedtime.


 

Some bars never close in Tijuana.

 

I haven’t been in any past midnight in a while.

 

It used to be an every night thing.


 

$100 a week is all you need to live off caguamas and street tacos. 

 

Making US dollars and living in Mexico can be very cheap.

 

Rent was $340 a month (split into two).  Expenses were minimal. That’s a couple days of work. Or just one. It depends.


 

There’s a lot of time to be spent drinking caguamas. It was a full year of doing it. I still do it now.


 

The average caguama in a dive bar goes for $2-4, they are $2 in the store, so bars virtually sell caguamas for the same price. 

 

I don’t want to do the math, but that’s a lot of caguamas a week for just $100. 

 

Tacos are just $1.

 

You get it.

 

Your money is worth a lot more.

 

That’s why thousands of people do it. Cross the border, work for a couple of days a week, live in Tijuana like a king.

 

Two workdays, five rest days. Caguamas and tacos.


 

After many caguamas as the three amigos, we came up with the idea of Fist Fest.

 

Nope.

 

That was wrong.

 

Fist Fest turns out to be a festival of men fisting each other.

 

That wasn’t it.

 

Yep. Just googled it. Still is that shit.

 

“Fist Fest® is most likely the longest running men’s fisting weekend in the world. Established in 1997,Fist Fest® came under our stewardship in 2011. We are thrilled to be able to continue and grow this event. We currently produce four annual weekends.”


Rumble Fest.

 

Let the rumble fest shit begin.


 

Rumble Fest was the attempt of an impossible idea. The perfect and cheapest music festival uniting Baja California and California under one abandoned factory. 28 bands. Live art. Cheap beer. Lots of drugs.

 

$2 entrance.

 

And people fucking didn’t even pay.


 

We lost a lot of money that night.


 

A lot of money for our standards. I lost close to $1,000. 

 

There was more money lost.


 

Hah. I just realized I’m wearing the rumble fest t-shirt.

 

I spent $300+ on t-shirts that didn’t sell.

 

By the end of the festival, I was begging people to buy one so I can recoup some money.


 

It was the most stupidest fucking thing I have ever attempted. 


 

That shit snowballed out of control quickly.


 

We had the idea in early March and started printing the first posters when we found the location of an abandoned factory owned by a gym that Danger Dave frequented. The gym became partners. That’s why the name of the festival had to have something aggressive. Like fist.

 

Except not that.

 

Tijuana Rumble Fest.

 

Shit tons of bands.

 

More than half drop from the first poster. Second poster. More bands from LA. More Hype. New graphic designer who I never paid. Sorry, Zuko. 


 

100 Fucking ONCES.

 

That was one of the things I cared about the most. That band fucking ruled. Too bad they are not together anymore.


And my band.

 

Donkichow.

 

Or Donkey Show.


 

Pretending to be a rockstar playing shitty math rock for bands from LA that are barely known.


 

100 Onces got big for a bit. Not big big. Just big in the math-rock circles. 


 

Music. I miss it.


 

Before Rumble Fest.

 

Three months of previous shows. Getting drunk as fuck. Cocaine seemed to be everywhere.

 

Fucking cocaine.

 

Never liked that drug until the year of the Rumble Fest. 

 

There was also a lot of acid…

 

And a lot of ecstasy.

 

And there might have been some meth.

 

I haven’t done any drugs for more than 2 years ago.


 

You only YOLO once.