Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 16 — Reality Show Appearance as Fake Mad Dog Mateo.

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Chapter 16. Reality Show Appearance as Fake Mad Dog Mateo.

 

So… 

 

I was in a reality show over the weekend.

 

My tour were British guys following a commercial pilot. I signed a non-disclosure agreement, so I don’t think I am allowed to talk much about this but fuck it.

 


 

They were five guys total, don’t remember anyone’s name except Noah, one of the camera guys, and Christian, the star of the show. There was another camera guy, a sound guy with a boom mic, and the director. The pilot and the director were the main show. A clap would initiate the takes.

 

Some crazy shit I’ve never been part of. Until now.


 

I talked a lot. I told some of the stories I already wrote here. The South African guys’ story that was the previous chapter and the story about the pilots which was earlier at some point in this stupid shit.


 

I said shit I might regret. Similar to the shit I’m writing here. 

 

No ragrets.

 

Fuck it.


 

It was a fake tour for a reality show. Fake Tijuana Adventure. Fake Mad Dog Mateo. 

 

Fake reality show. Nothing new here.

 

The tour was basic, I didn’t even plan it much. I didn’t think of it. I just improvised like always. 

 

It started with my basic explanation about the city and why Tijuana exists. We walked to Norte Brewery Co for the sunset views of the city. Here I told the story of the pilots on camera to a reality tv show pilot. I ignored the cameras and just acted natural.

 

I’m going to hate it once it’s out. 

 

And people in Tijuana are going to give me so much shit about it.


 

After Norte, we moved to street tacos. Las Amigas that they never disappoint and it’s an interesting taco stand. I found out that the star of the show was a vegetarian here. Good job telling me about that before rolling cameras… 

 

All the guys got one taco, but we wanted more food.


 

We had a second dinner at Cine Tonalá. 

 

They didn’t want to drink or party for real. More like do it for the cameras and move on.

 

The meal or drinks didn’t get recorded. It was like a break from work. 


 

After done with the second dinner, they started recording again. Us exiting the Cine and talking casually about the meal.


 

From there they had one request. Strip clubs where they could record.

 

And of course, there is only one shitty strip club that would allow us to do such a thing without a warning. El Zorro. Yes. The same one with the South Africans just from the previous chapter.


 

I convinced the bouncers and waiters to let us film. We told the girls that they weren’t going to be on camera… and none of them were attractive… 

 

We ordered a bucket of beers but didn’t drink any. 

 

I ran to the bathroom quickly, and when I came out, girls were all over the guys. A fight ensued between the producer and the pilot. The pilot went to get a private lap dance. The producer stormed out with the cameras following behind.


 

It’s a reality show.

 

That was planned.


 

After they “reunited” I walked them through Zona Norte and told them they couldn’t film here or to be careful. The camera guys started filming as the “paraditas” or the street prostitutes ran for cover while hiding their faces.

 

“Están grabando!” I would hear them say to each other and scramble to hide. Never seen that before.


 

A cop started following us. I told them to ignore it and we kept walking.

 

But then he blasted his siren and stopped us. I said I would handle and expected the worst. It was the complete opposite. He told us that if we needed anything to let him know or give him a call. He was super excited to see the cameras and told us to record whatever we wanted. It seemed like he wanted to be on the show. So the crew kept filming. They were live bandas being fucking loud and they filmed that. 

 

It might be some of the best recordings of Zona Norte and it was only 9 pm. And now I know, if you enter Zona Norte with a bunch of gear, the cops are fine with it, the prostitutes are the ones that hide and hate it. 


 

And then it was over. Walked back to the border.


 

I offered them more places to visit and drink. Nope. They were done. The job was done. Short fake Tijuana Adventure. I got paid. Signed the contract. And took them to the border.


 

I wonder what will happen next with them. I wonder how the show turns out. They don’t really even know where it’s going to appear. Or maybe they did and they just didn’t want to tell them. Netflix maybe? YouTube? Maybe only in Europe? 

 

Oh shit. I just googled it and it has an IMDB. 

 

“A documentary filmmaker follows his best friend, a Windowed airline pilot, around the world as he looks for a new love, via the TINDER Passport dating app.”

 

We did talk about Tinder and Bumble. So the premise they told me is real. No Tinder girls were met. 


 

HOLY SHIT! 

 

After more research… I’ve been duped.

 

The “pilot” was, in fact, the producer that I was in contact with.


 

I’ve been googling these guys… They told me the producer stayed back in LA setting up the next appointment. Nope. The producer was the main star the whole time. And obviously, his name wasn’t Christian.

 

Holy fuck.

 

Nice one.

 

Nice fucking one.


 

I should have googled these fuckers a bit more before I actually took them on a tour. They have two movies, one out with a bad rating and the other still in production. And now their new show. 


 

Oh fuck.

 

What’s going to happen to my appearance….

 

I might get heavily edited or cut. This show might not even be aired. But… oh well.

 

Shit is done. I made some money. Tour is over. 


 

I have more tours coming up. A lot of people have been hiring me to film around Tijuana. Might as well change what my tours are about and help filmmakers and journalists. They seem to have enough money to pay me.


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Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 15 — Mad Dog Mateo And Crazy South Africans

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Chapter 15. Mad Dog Mateo And Crazy South Africans

 

I have a tour the day after tomorrow. A British film crew is coming over to shoot a documentary that follows a commercial pilot. Five guys total, the pilot, the director, two cameras, and the sound guy. It should be interesting.


 

I have some work tomorrow. Shooting a new rugby team in San Diego. It’s supposed to rain. It should be interesting.


 

Interesting. That’s what my life aspires to be. I should travel more instead of just receiving travelers here. Spend 6 months in a different city for the rest of my life. Writing 1,000 words or more a day in my experience in that place. 

 

Professional traveler. The dream job.

 

I’m stuck in Tijuana for now.

 

I can’t afford to travel now. Can’t afford much. Saving up to get a car. I haven’t owned a car since I moved to Tijuana. Now I need one.


 

Interesting.

 

A lot of interesting tours have happened.

 

One of the stories that I tell a lot is one that I barely recall.


 

Bachelor parties sort of mixed into one gigantic story. 

 

Then there are other special events that are not bachelor parties.


 

That one boring tour I had with a beautiful Australian couple. They were vegan and they arrived in Tijuana before noon. That tour was forgettable. The couple was gorgeous (both models), but no personality. That tour was one of the tamest most boring tours.


 

I had different Aussies as well. Three friends that were friends of the wife of a great friend of mine. Yep. Friends of friends of friends.

 

The three of them were on the chubbier side. One was ginger with long hair and beard, the other had salt and pepper hair and was a comedian who Playboy retweeted often, and the other was a chubby bald DJ.

 

All of them were hilarious.

 

I stayed with them for a couple days. The first night in Hong Kong, the comedian and the DJ started fighting. Ginger ignored them and suddenly he had a beautiful girl on his lap. The girl told him he loved gingers. The guy didn’t believe her but did buy her a couple of drinks that night. Nothing happened.


 

Next night, a similar story. Went out for food, tacos, drinks, and more. And ended up again in Hong Kong. Comedian and DJ started arguing again, and suddenly the Ginger disappeared with the same girl he chatted the previous night. 

 

We didn’t even notice.

 

Apparently, the girl recognized him from afar and they disappeared together.


 

That feels like it was many years ago. The guys loved Kokopelli tacos. They wanted to open a franchise in Melbourne because they swore it would be a total hit.

 

They promised to come back.

 

They haven’t.


 

I haven’t seen my friend or his wife in a couple years. I’ve been planning to visit them. It’s only LA. But I am stuck in Tijuana.


 

Nah.

 

The story I tell a lot it’s the one with the South Africans.

 

South Africans have broken the record of alcohol and food consumed in two days.


 

I forgot how they contacted me, but I remember when we met.


 

They booked Hotel Ticuan for the night. I met them in the lobby. Two best friends in their mid-40s. Both plenty rich, one fucker had a house and business in Malta. Both had their own businesses in South Africa. Both married with children. 

 

And every year, they take two weeks and party the fuck out in Vegas. They just spend thousands of dollars partying. Just the two of them. Their two weeks of fuck everything, we are just going to do whatever the fuck we want.


 

That year, they found me and Tijuana.

 

They loved that I knew who Die Antwoord. And that I obviously knew District 9. I fucking love that movie.

 

I lived in LA when they install them fake benches announcing District 9. They didn’t look like movie posters. Just said that aliens aren’t allowed to sit on the bus benches, humans only. They were awesome. 


 

We got beers in the lobby’s bar. Three each to be exact. In less than 20 minutes. Before 4 pm.

 

We got the check. $9 dollars in total.

 

They thought it was $9 per beer.

 

Nope. I informed them that beers are a dollar each in Ticuan. The hotel is owned by the same owners that have multiple bars and hotels. Beers are less than a dollar at most of their establishments.

 

South Africans started laughing. They couldn’t believe such a nice hotel would be selling beers for a fucking dollar.

 

They dropped a $20 and we left the hotel.


 

Tour was typical. Food. Craft beers. Drinks. And then strip clubs.


 

Before going to the best strip clubs, they requested a shitty one. Just as a warm-up.


And I knew exactly where.


 

El Zorro Bar. “Well… cum… to Tijuana! Exxxotic girls!!!”

 

That’s what the cheap sign on the front of that shit bar reads. It’s next to one of my all-time favorite bars here. Nelson Bar. You’ll find me there constantly. Or maybe not by the time you read this. Probably not. 

 

Who the fuck is reading this?

 

Maybe once I’m dead.


 

We went to Nelson before going to El Zorro.

 

And here is something I found out about myself. Don Julio tequila makes me black the fuck out.


 

That’s why I say I don’t really remember what happened… Just little flashes… of debauchery.


 

We took two shots of Don Julio each. Again, guys were rich, so they were just throwing money with no regard. They were used to Vegas. Tijuana was nothing.


 

I woke up the next morning to find my wallet, my phone, and a crisp $100 bill on my desk. The very same desk I’m typing this crap right now. I barely had a memory of what happened the previous night.


 

I seriously checked my butthole.

 

Why would I have an extra $100? 

 

Nope. Butthole was safe.


 

Checked my Uber history. Saw that I got an Uber before FUCKING midnight from Hotel Ticuan to my house. 

 

I didn’t even fucking lasted till midnight.


 

I called the guys asking them if they were alright and confessing I had no idea what happened the previous night…


 

I was so fucking hungover and confused.

 

They told me not to worry, that I was a great host.


 

I told them I was going to cure my hangover at Telefonica Gastro Park, the trendy food truck location that opened in Tijuana in 2015 and has grown since. Featured in the New York Times and shit. 

 

That place.

 

Before it was huge. But still pretty popular.

 

Especially for a Saturday at around noon.


They met me there.


 

And yes. I’m listening to Die Antwoord while I’m writing this crap.


 

 

Mad Dog Mateo!

 

That’s the nickname they gave me.

 

Mad fucking Dog Mateo.

 

Pachangas Matt and Mad Dog Mateo.


 

Those days are behind me… I think.


 

Saturday morning. Well… morning for hungover people. Brunch time.

 

South Africans order food from a lot of food trucks. And then we hit the bar. Too early for craft beer. So we got caguamones.

 

And…

 

Shots of fucking mezcal.


 

We stayed there eating and drinking for three hours. Wasted before 3 pm. 

 

Those guys could fucking drink.


 

We were being obnoxious and they were telling me all that we did the previous night… at a family-friendly place.


 

All three at some point had two girls on top of us. I can’t even imagine how much money we spent. 

 

It was way before 3 pm and I saw them spend around $200 on drinks and food….

 

The waitress would bring us shots of mezcal, they would pound it, and ask for the next round before the waitress was even done serving them. We finished a bottle and a half from that bar that day. 

 

Drunk and obnoxious telling stories of prostitutes, strippers, and debauchery surrounded by families. At least it was all in some weird English that I’m hoping not that many people could understand. But we were still fucking loud and drunk very fucking early. 


 

By 5pm, one of the guys requested cocaine. So here I go to call my guy. Obviously, he took hours to get to me. But there. $50 worth of cocaine. That’s shit tons of cocaine.


 

Oh fuck. I haven’t even explained how I met my coke dealer.

 

It was at a poker game with my weed dealer. 

 

I was winning. He provided coke. He got irritated when I was clearing the table. The bets weren’t much money. So I let him win a couple times. Then he became my contact for cocaine. And he has the best cocaine I ever had.

 

Disclaimer… haven’t seen this dude in years.


 

The Korean tacos were still around back then. We had some of that shit. 

 

And then… they wanted to go back to El Zorro.


 

We virtually repeated the previous night.

 

I told them that Don Julio was probably the reason I blacked out.


 

So we had Don Julio shots again. 


 

I became friends with the manager of that shit strip club that night. He told me that he has never seen that much money spent in his shitty club. And that they keep bringing me girls or drinks and I kept just saying no with my hand. One older woman stayed on my lap for the most time. 

 

The South Africans were doing drugs, whores, and drinking like crazy.

 

Keep in mind this shitty strip club only has five or six girls working at the time. The place is a shithole. The private rooms are little improvised cubicles. The wall where the shitty tiny stage is located has broken mirrors in a horrible fashion. Like they tried to do something creative but executed horribly. 

 

It’s a shit strip club. But it’s also anarchy.

 

The beers are cheap for a place with naked women.

 

The women are cheap. And you can see the battle-scars. And one of them is obviously a transsexual.


 

But that’s what they loved.

 

They loved how nitty-gritty it fucking was.


 

They also loved Hong Kong and Adelitas. But they said it didn’t feel real. And they were too big. Too many girls.


 

At shitty El Zorro, it was as if they owned the place. And for the hours that we were there, we basically did own the place. That place can’t be worth much. 


 

Those two nights those fuckers probably spend over a thousand dollars each.

 

Definitely more.

 

And I got paid $300 for two nights of partying with crazy South Africans.


 

I blacked out both nights.

 

Now when I walked by El Zorro, the manager likes to tease me with what happened that night.


 

I am pretty sure I recognize the older prostitute that I had in my lap most of the time. I am pretty sure she doesn’t recognize or remember me. I still see her from time to time on my way to Nelson.


Can you imagine the stories that a 40-year-old prostitute can tell? 

 

I don’t really want to know.


 

I live too close to all the debauchery.


 

And I’m obviously desensitized to all that shit. 


 

Like most of the people that come on a tour with me, they promised to come back. They said they had forgotten about Vegas after experiencing Tijuana.

 

I haven’t heard back from them since those two crazy wild nights.

 

I wouldn’t mind going full Mad Dog Mateo again. As long as I’m getting paid for it…


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Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 12 — Shit Attempt at Writer. Frenchmen and Other World Travelers. Eating in Hong Kong.

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Chapter 12. Shit Attempt at Writer. Frenchmen World Travelers. Eating in Hong Kong.

 

I have a weird phantom pain on my right leg. I hope it’s not because of my horrible diet of tacos and hamburgers. That’s not a proper diet. 


 

I have so much work this week. I didn’t do any last week and just let all the shit mount. Haven’t written dick. The one story I sent hasn’t been published and I have low hopes. It doesn’t matter. It wasn’t very good. Pictures were great, the text wasn’t.

 

That’s what I’m into now. Taking pictures. And I have a bunch of those gigs this week. It should be fun.


Instead of working, I ended up partying for four nights in a row. It’s incredible how easy this city does that to you. I didn’t even plan to do any partying at all. Wednesday, the young freckled brunette that was mentioned earlier who thought I was the love of her life texted me. She is back in Tijuana. She wasn’t even living here. 

 

She is now a blond. She’s also now 24.

 

Things happened. They shouldn’t have. 


On Thursday, another girl contacted me for pictures. Things escalated quickly when they shouldn’t have. 

 

Tititijuana.


Friday, buddies from San Diego came over and we went bar hopping and ended in a meh ska show.


Saturday, friends from Mexico City came over with tickets for the Xolos games. They were great palco tickets and included free drinks and food. Pizza and wings were shit, but they were free. There was only light beer available, but also bottles of Black Label.

 

From there, the partying continued until almost 3 a.m.

 

Titititijuana.


 

Two important things happened which turned me into a writer. Somewhat. Up to this day, I still have no idea what I’m doing.


 

Meeting Chad. He inspired me to become a writer and to try to get published for the magazine I currently work for.


Meeting Vincent, the Frenchman world traveler. 


 

Besides announcing on Craigslist, I also had a Couchsurfer account. A lot of people stayed with me through there. I don’t use it anymore, but back then I used it to practice giving tours.


 

Vincent messaged me for a couch and to help him with a project called You Make My Trip. He was basically traveling the world asking the internet what he should do in the city he was staying in. 

 

For Tijuana, the voting was between partying his ass off or investigating what the life of the migrants and deportees that lived on the river by the border was like.


 

The internet chose the deportees. I wanted the party for my own sake and to grow the tours.


 

This was the turning point in my life. Vincent stayed with me for almost a week. After a drunken tequila night, Vincent met and fell in love with my friend Shappu. 

 

Their romance ended up in disaster years later, but that’s beside the fucking point.

 

The point is that with Vincent and Shappu, we explored the Bordo area and more of Zona Norte. Really gruesome stuff. People doing heroin or meth on broad daylight. The disgusting Tijuana. 

 

The Tijuana that I got addicted for a while. Nueva Pachanga.

 

The lowest of the lowest of the fucking world. 


 

It’s like staring at the face of death and walking away.

 

So much misery. So many drugs.


 

I knew I had to write about what we experienced.

 

This was my first failed attempt at writing for a magazine.

 

Pretty much like this is my first failed attempt at writing a book.


 

Can’t wait until I throw all this shit to the garbage. Or just post it online somewhere for free and make no money.

 

There goes all my pride.


 

My article got rejected.

 

Not only was it plagued with grammatical and spelling mistakes, but it was also just purely bad. “I this. I that. This happened.”

And wow!

Bad.

Horribly written bullshit.


 

The editor rejected it and told me to rewrite it. It took me a long time to write it… so I wasn’t happy. I thought it was good.

 

It wasn’t.


 

I rewrote the article. But I just fixed grammatical and spelling mistakes and cut down a lot of the fat. 

 

It was still a horrible fucking article.

 

No details.

 

Nothing interesting.


 

It got rejected again.


 

My gamble didn’t pay off. I quit my job to spend more time doing Tijuana tours and attempting to be a freelance writer.

 

I was rejected and was left with little to no money. But not much money is needed to live in this city. 


 

The editor ignored my following emails and my attempts to rewrite the story. I had destroyed his patience and the door was closed. 


 

I did a couple of more free tours through Couchsurfing. Another Frenchman and world traveler named Alec. Also, guys from Montreal that I randomly met playing chess at what used to be the only craft brewery in Tijuana.


 

Tijuana has changed so much and will continue to do so.


And Tijuana changed me.

 

I like to say that I’m not a writer, Tijuana is just easy to write about. Tijuana transformed me for the better (maybe). Tijuana transforms people, not always for the better.


 

Random little tours kept me a bit afloat. One was with a guy named Jesse and a dude named Max who carried a banana suit wherever they went. 

 

I’ve done way too many tours and have fucked with Tijuana too much to remember how things went down. We did the basic Tijuana tour to Playas and dive bars in downtown. Again, back then the craft beer or food scene was nothing to what it is now. Options were scarce.

 

All I remember that his time we didn’t do Hong Kong, we ended up in La Malquerida.


 

La Malquerida is a much cheaper strip club that’s mostly for locals. Beers are cheap and it has more of a wild cantina feel than that of a strip club.


 

The guys got plastic looking women sitting on their laps. The one I liked was cold and not into it, so it didn’t pan out well for me.


 

For them… I had to negotiate.


 

Mini-pimp translator.

 

That’s basically how I made some of my money.


 

After buying the girls plenty of drinks, the guys were tired of having them on their laps and wanted more. 

 

I negotiated blowjobs for $20 + the private room.

 

They left immediately to the private rooms and came back a few minutes later to share the stories. One got a raw blowjob with no condom, the other was forced to use a condom. Both were very happy with the outcome. 


 

That’s all I remember.

 

And that I got paid.

 

Paid to party and to be a mini-pimp.


 

After that tour, I had a tour with what I thought was a perverted old Canadian man. After giving the basic tour around the city, I learned sadly, that his wife had passed a couple years ago, but now he was free to do as he pleased.

 

He owned property in Jamaica and had his own business in Canada. His two sons were old enough and married. He decided to travel the world and ended up Tijuana.


 

The first time I ever had food in Hong Kong was with this fellow. He ordered the breaded shrimp on rice.


 

He stayed in the Hong Kong Hotel (Las Cascadas) and book the master suite (not the penthouse). It was a super nice room that looked like a porno set that I described before. 


 

After the basic tour, we went back to Hong Kong. He picked a girl that he liked and kept buying her drinks.

 

Then he told me to choose a girl that I like.


 

I walked to a girl that I like but she gave me the cold shoulder, so I picked the one next to her.


 

As soon as we got back to the table, the girl jumped on me and said: “güerito, que bueno que me escogiste.” She said she had been checking me out and was so happy I picked her out.

 

The young girl with the older Canadian wasn’t happy, but I told her that the dude was willing to spend a lot of money.


 

The Canadian gave me $100 and told me to keep the girls with me while he goes to his room to shower. He told me to specifically not let go of the girl that he picked. 

 

It took him almost 30 minutes to come back. The hotel is a crazy maze, so he had trouble finding his room and finding his way back to Hong Kong.


 

We stayed with the two girls for a couple of hours buying drinks, food, and tequila shots.

 

Then it was negotiating time for the Canadian.


 

My girl was all over me without the necessity of paying her. She was just happy we were buying her drinks (she makes money that way). And she was happy it was with me instead of some other pervert.

The tequila man with a whistle that comes around and forces tequila shots down your throat to ask for tips after swung by our table. Instead of getting tequila directly poured into my mouth, it was poured down the navel of the chick I was with down to her pussy and into my mouth.

Yuck. But drunk and having fun. Don’t judge.

Also, tequila should’ve killed bacteria, right?

Or so I told myself.


 

His girl… 

 

She was not very happy.

 

The Canadian made his offer. $300 for a couple hours with her. Way more than the usual average pay. The girl was hesitant but she took it.


 

I am not sure what happened after. I went home. The Canadian stayed with the girl in his hotel room.


 

He paid me more than the rest. My tours started to have value. But I was just taking guys to strip clubs and translating for them.

 

Cupid translator mini-pimp.

 

Not a good thing on my resume.

 

Not a good thing to be writing about.

 

But that’s how I stayed afloat for a while.


 

 

 

Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 11 — Music and New Friends.

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Chapter 11. Music and New Friends.

It is crazy how much can change in a short period of time. Last week was incredibly slow and today I find myself scrambling to see what I should take care of next. So many stories I pitched that I need to write. So many emails for other gigs. A completely different feel than last week. 

 

And it’s not only that change. This city changes constantly. And that changed my tours. And it also changed me.


I rarely do bachelor parties. Or like how my last tour called them “stag parties.” Much less just take a single individual to the strip clubs. 


My last tour wasn’t even a real tour. It was more like real work. Irish reporters found me through the internet and they hired me for two days to help them with their work on the border. We covered a lot of Tijuana ground. I helped them with some interviews. And I helped them navigate this city. 

 

We got pretty amazing shots.

They got some really great interviews. It’s not the report I would like about Tijuana since they are focusing on migrant issues and the border. Not a travel piece about Tijuana. But once it was all done, we got to hang out more and had a couple of beers.


I never thought my tours would turn into that. I never thought I would be back into photography. I never thought I was going to be writing this much or that I would actually make money doing this.


I still can make more money. I have to work so much more.

 

But the goal of the beginning of this year was to finish this silly book. 


So now I have three photo gigs to take care-off, the tour is over, two long stories, and perhaps a couple of short stories. 

I’m hungry.

And I need to get to work.


 

So… I had my own apartment. A roommate that was barely home. And when he was, we partied a lot.

 

Routine settled in. 

 

Every morning wake-up, shower, go to the office, pick breakfast on the way.

 

Come back late in the afternoon, drink a beer, do more work, go to bed.


 

Rinse and repeat for a few months.


I almost fell in love with a girl who was friends with my roommate. She told me she thought I was gay because I lived with him.

 

I had no idea my roommate was gay.

 

Is gay.

 

He has never told me.

 

I never asked him. We never talked about it. I love that guy. We hang out often. I just don’t think he wants to talk about it.


 

That girl was in love with her ex. It ended as quickly as it began.


And then I met him.

 

Him.

 

My sensei-master at writing.

 

The one that might be editing this text.


It’s getting near the end of the tales since I’m catching up with current times of what happened to what is happening.


 

I met the Chad master at a show in Mous Tache. That’s what I did for the weekends. I went to shows in the city.


 

Chad looked like a young Santa Claus. German looking blond with blue eyes, a protruding belly, with a caguama in one hand, cigarette dangling in his mouth, and his goofy fucking smile.


He doesn’t remember the first night I met him. He remembers a different night a few weeks later.


 

That first night, he told me he was a writer. He told me how much money he made per article. He failed to tell me this was for cover stories or for his own columns, not every writer made that much.

 

Also, he had been writing for the Reader for years.


 

That’s when I started losing interesting in writing about soccer. I was tired of the job and routine. 


 

As far as Tijuana Adventures go, there wasn’t much tourism and I wasn’t getting many customers.


 

I was going to shows and meeting bands and musicians. I would tour them around and help them with anything I could.

That’s when I thought about doing tours for traveling bands. 

Stupid me didn’t realize that bands never have any fucking money.

So those obviously never went anywhere except partying with musicians.


 

That’s the night Chad remembers. When Mothers of Gut came to town with HABITS. 

 

I don’t think either of those bands exists anymore. But they were great.


 

HABITS was a crazy synthesizer band mostly done by Dustin. The singer would climb speakers while singing distorted shit whilst the drummer made noise next to a keyboard and more synth shit.

 

Something like that.


 

The genius behind Mothers of Gut was Aaron. His band was just fucking crazy. The drummer had the body of Super Saiyan Zach Hill mix with the veiny full of heroin arms of Iggy Pop. He fucking beat on them drums like a motherfucker. The guitarist had long hair and looked similar to the singer of HABITS. The bass player was missing his front teeth.


Two songs into the show of Mothers of Gut, the bass player fucking tripped off stage and broke the head of the bass.


Show over. There weren’t many people at the show anyway.


 

The large group ventured into Zona Norte. I don’t remember much of that night except finding out that the drummer did not have an ID of any form or shoes. 

 

He had crossed the border and forgot to grab his passport or any ID. Not forgot… He didn’t have any.


 

There’s also a picture of the toothless bass player with a prostitute in Hong Kong. 


 

I believe they all crashed in Chad’s apartment that night. 


 

A small friendship developed that night. That friendship would change my life.


Later on, I would show a stranger that I met a coffee shop the CD that Mothers of Gut gave me. He fucking loved it.

 

And another small friendship developed with Danger Dave.


Chad, Danger Dave, and Pachangas Matt. The year of the Rumble Fest.

That’s coming up next.

But not before explaining a bunch of other mess that was going on.


 

Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 10.5 — Rudy the Italian New Yorker who said Tijuana was the DR mixed with 80s Brooklyn.

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Chapter 10.5

Rudy the Italian New Yorker who said Tijuana was the DR mixed with 80s Brooklyn.

 

I got busy again and I forgot where I was going with all the shit I was typing. I said it had been slow days in the other intro. Well, that got reversed. The editor accepted my pitch for a feature story, then I went to investigate another short story. I got really good material, so I pitched a lengthy story and he went for it.

 

Now I have a couple of days to finish the first story before I leave town.

 

And also… one paid photo gig to take care of.

 

And a tour…


Not really a tour. My tours have changed a lot. There’s still the occasional bachelor party, but it is very rare now. 

 

This tour is of journalistic nature, not that of gross nature. Irish reporters are visiting this weird city and they need someone to show them around. They found me somehow. And I got to take care of that this weekend.


And there are a lot of good events this weekend. And tomorrow I’m jamming with some guys to see if we start a band.


And…

And…

 

Tijuana is a lot. And I’m getting busy. Let’s get it over with so I can go back to work.


 

We left Hong Kong and it was nice and bright out. What an experience. Especially for a 20-year-old who has never been in a bar or much less a titty club like that one. 

 

I stopped feeling joy showing people that insane place. It used to be awesome to watch. How people’s eyes lit up when they see that depravity. Men and women. LGBT or anything. It’s world-famous for a reason. And getting famouser as I write this (I am aware famouser is not a word).


So you can imagine Kevin’s conflicted feelings and emotions and excitements.

 

Taking him to La Nueva Pachanga is like throwing a bucket of cold water on his face.


It goes from tempting depravity from hell to actual hell. A real one. No makeup on this fucker. Crude reality. 


 

We sat on the back near the inflatable palm tree. The only fucking decoration inside La Nueva Pachanga besides the Chivas posters.

 

There used to be a pole there. Not sure if they changed it. But there used to be one.


 

Kevin didn’t understand why I took him to this shithole. I didn’t really even know either.

 

That place still fascinates me, but I used to be obsessed with it.


 

There was a drunk older woman with a summery dress dancing by the pole. She had a date on a table. A date that was passed out and she barely paid attention to him.


Kevin kept staring. I told him not too, but he couldn’t help it. I tried not too, but I obviously played it dumb like I wasn’t watching it.


Then she came over and touched Kevin and asked for a dollar. 

 

His reaction was of “eww no, get off of me.”

 

Drunk woman got mad and said, “if you don’t like it then don’t watch!”

 

And kept dancing and making obscene gestures at us. She lifted her dress to show a very undesirable body. 


We left way before sunset. 

 

That was Kevin’s brief introduction to Zona Norte.


 

Reviewing memories of the time, my friend Nick from Minnesota was here when all this shit happened, since Kevin and Nick met at some point.

 

This is when the craft beer scene barely started occurring and my tours started to shift focus.


 

I never took Nick to Zona Norte. Just craft beers and dive bars. More like my tours now.


 

Later that same week, I had my first legit paid customer. He was not interested in craft beer.


When I started, I used to advertise on craigslist. 

 

The ad said something along the lines of “Hey, I’ll guide you through Tijuana for $25.” 

 

It probably included beer, tacos, and strip clubs as part of the ad.


 

My first client came through those ads.

 

A guy from New York named Rudy. Classic Italian New Yorker from the Bronx. Super heavy accent straight up from the movies. Never met a guy like that. Incredibly New Yorker.

 

He compared Tijuana to the Dominican Republic and to 80s New York.

 

“Me and my boys, you know, we would go to the DR and get all these girls for cheap, you know, the DR was great, you know.”

 

He sounded something like that.

 

Really funny dude.

 

“New York was like this in the 80s, you know. You would drive around, you know, and get girls to suck your dick for a $20, you know.”

 

For him, Tijuana was that. A mix of 80s New York and his experiences in brothels in the Dominican Republic or “the DR.” (Dee Ahr you idiot, not doctor). 

 

He requested chicken tacos.

 

That took me by surprise. Chicken tacos are an odd request. Or rarely even seen. I told him Tijuana is about fish and shrimp tacos or meat. Nah. He wanted chicken tacos.


 

This is how bad I was giving tours. I didn’t know where to take him. 

 

We ended up in a shitty place that served shitty tacos. He didn’t like them.

 

Again, I told him chicken tacos aren’t really a thing. Should have just taken him where it is good and not giving him silly choices.


We had a beer somewhere before going into the strip clubs.


 

He loved the shit out of Adelita’s. Again, he said everything was the same as the DR. 

 

He said that some politician came to the DR and cleaned all up.

 

“They fucked up, you know. DR was great and then they cleaned it. No more hookers. We used to fly every other month, rent a house, you know, and get girls, you know. Beautiful girls for cheap. The DR was great. But no more, you know.”

 

“You know” was never a question. More like an interlude between thoughts. 


 

I charged him $25 for the tour which he paid upfront. Then he paid for all the rest.

 

After Adelita’s, of course, Hong Kong.


 

Oh was he loving the fuck out of Hong Kong.

 

He picked up the most plastic looking girl. He said he liked that. The faker the better. He bought her a couple of drinks and told me to get a girl for myself.

 

He then said he was going to take her to the room and gave me some cash so I can drink while I waited for him.

 

He came back all happy with the same girl and kept buying her drinks.


Old school photographers roam strip clubs to try to sell you a picture of the memory of you with a hooker.

 

He paid for a photograph with him and his girl. Two actually. One of them posing as if they were the most awkward high school couple before prom. The other of him with his head between her tits.

 

$5 per picture.


 

We drank a bit more in Hong Kong. He said goodbye to his girl. And then left.


It was still day time. Nearing sunset.

 

He wanted to see more. So I took him through Zona Norte. We didn’t go to La Nueva Pachanga, but I was more confident about where to walk in the area. He wanted to see the street girls.

 

It was DR this. 80s New York that.

 

He fucking adored Tijuana.

 

We walked by where the transsexual hookers stand.

 

“I’ve seen a lot of transformers in my days, you know, and let me tell you, those transformers are some of the best transformers I’ve ever seen.”

 

I never heard anyone called them transformers. I know it’s derogatory to call them trannies, shemales, ladyboys, or many more… but transformers.

 

I think transformers is just fucking hilarious. 

 

I’m pretty sure they find offense in that. They should find it empowering. Transforming oneself is some difficult shit.


Sorry trans community. That was Rudy talking. 


 

As we walked back to the border, he asked why so many farmacias. I explained the giant medical and dental tourism we have at the border.

 

Suddenly, Tijuana was not an interesting thing for him just for the girls… 

 

Rudy needed dental care that he had been neglecting because it was too expensive.

 

He said he planned to come back in a couple of months, get dental work, and go find the exact same girl in Hong Kong.


 

Sorry, mom. Sex sales.


 

Rudy crossed back to San Diego and it wasn’t even night time. I charged him $25 for the tour, but he was so happy with everything that he learned that he gave me $50 tip. 


 

I made as much money as the prostitute he slept with. I was conflicted, but I made money. Sleazy money. 


 

I called my mom to tell her my first tour was a success and that I made more money than I was expected. And told her that I was sorry because sex sales…


Rudy did come back. It was almost a year later. And his adventure was similar to the one above, except dental work, and he lost his keys in a taxi cab.

 

Not sure if that story is worth telling.


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

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


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

 

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


 

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

 

That. And pictures of food.

 

And photojournalism.

 

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

 

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


 

I don’t think no one ever does.


 

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


 

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

 

Holy shit that was terrifying.


 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I heard every single movement in the complex.

 

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


 

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

 

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

 

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


 

It was shitty. But I was happy. 

 

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


 

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

 

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


 

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


 

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


 

Introducing La Nueva Pachanga.

 

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


 

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

 

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

 

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


 

And that’s where Ricardo was taking me.

 


 

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


 

The joys of La Nueva Pachanga.

 


 

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


 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

2 Pasifico Caguama 50 pesos


 

Ricardo bought me a 10 pesos shot of tequila.

 

Tequila el muerto, 10 pesos

 

You read that right.

 

That’s around 60 cents for a shot.

 

Obviously, it was fucking disgusting.

 

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


 

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

 

It’s the end of life.


 

I became addicted to it.

 

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

 

I rarely walk through there anymore.


 

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

 

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


 

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

 

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


 

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

 


 

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


 

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


 

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

 

Can you imagine that?!


 

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

 

But not bars.

 

And not like this.


 

Take 1.

 

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


It was Adelita’s.

 

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


 

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


 

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

 

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


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

 

Strippers and fun.

 

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

 

I wasn’t making much.

 

Neither was him.

 

So we didn’t stay there long.

 

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

 


 

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


 

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

 

Shithole to fancy sex palace in seconds.

 

You have to see both.

 

Otherwise, you are doing it wrong.

 

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


 

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

 

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

 

Others might be completely empty with maybe one hot girl.

 

Playboy for some reason always has a group of Asians.

 

Zona Norte.

 

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

 

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

 

But the rest.

 

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

 

But for now.

 

Let’s go back to the double whammy.


 

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

 

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

 

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


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


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Book — Confessions of a Tour Guide: Chapter 8 — Life Low Points. 

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


Chapter 8. Life Low Points. 

 

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


 

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


 

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


 

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


 

If you are wondering.

 

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


 

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

 

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

 

She tried with me.

 

But I’m not dumb, she had condoms.

 


 

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

 

Drama occurred. Obviously.

 

The kid wasn’t mine.


 

I did the math.


 

She was around three weeks pregnant when our encounter happened.


 

But wait! There’s more!

 


 

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


So back to it. 

 

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

 

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

 

It just happens.

 

The city absorbs you and you have a Tijuana Adventure.

 

My adventure in the city was turning dark.


 

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

 

Well… yeah.

 

I hooked up with her as well. 

 

Before losing my apartment….


 

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

 

And obviously infatuated with me.


 

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


 

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

 

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

 

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


 

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


 

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

 


 

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


 

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


 

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

 

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

 

And I locked myself in there.


 

Decided to become a writer.

 

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

 

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


I decided a blog would be a good start.

 

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


 

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


It was bad at the start.

 

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

 

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

 

Silly me.


 

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

 

But of course, it wasn’t that easy.

 


 

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

 

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


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

 

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

 

Content.

 

Stupid fucking content.


 

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

 

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


 

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


 

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


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


 

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

 

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

 

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


Needless to say, that was a mistake.

 

But it was better than my parents.


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