Lets face it, Mexico has some major problems but despite its bad reputation, I was super excited to know that my friends were down to spend a day in Tijuana. It’s just one of those rights of passage when you live in Southern California and all my other friends were too chicken shit. I love speaking Spanish (though it’s wildly improper) and I also do love tacos and tequila.
Just a short drive from San Diego takes you to the border where you simply walk across a bridge and suddenly you’re in Mexico. You don’t talk to customs, you don’t show your passport, They literally give no shits who’s entering into their country. In fact, if you were a criminal escaping the law, this would be the perfect place to quietly disappear from society and fade into the mist. Upon immediate entry, you cross over the Tijuana River canal better known as “El Bordo.” This was the only point in our trip that felt slightly sketchy. This canal is like the Skid Row of Tijuana where all the deportees and homeless drug addicts live. It’s depressing. You cross the canal from above and some slightly frightening individuals yell up at you from below. It kind of reminds me of what it’d be like if you were fresh meat in prison walking past a bunch of screaming criminals in their cells.
Sure, it was possibly an unpleasant first impression of Tijuana but once you actually enter the city it’s a completely different vibe. This may come as a surprise to you, but Tijuana is totally hipster. We basically were in the Austin Texas of Mexico, the Spanish speaking Portland Oregon, the Brooklyn of Border towns. Like we had craft beers and ate tapas listened to Arcade Fire. Andrew, a buddy from college, insisted that we had a classy visit to Tijuana. Not the type of usual Tijuana portrayal of strippers and debauchery. We are respectful classy individuals who must behave that way (I guess?). So what did we do all day? Well let me tell you: You may notice as the night progresses that we gradually become way less classy.
- Supposedly Tijuana created the Caesar Salad. A hotel, appropriately named “Caesar’s” claims to be the original. I love those salads so I was AMPED. They came out with a cart and made the dressing from scratch right in front of you. (Anchovies for days.) It was delicious and I’d say on a scale of 1 to the classiest, we were quite up there.
- Some guy had 2 pug puppies for sale who I’ve already done the pleasure of naming Oscar and Felipe and it took every bit of internal strength not to buy them both, as they both seemed to be slightly unwell. Pug puppies are officially the greatest creation from God.
- I sat on a Donkey named Tony and wore a sombrero (and this probably offends a lot of you)
- We went to dark Mexican saloons, drank beers with cats and watched Futbol
- We went to a casino. Did we win anything? No. Were all the games really confusing? Yes.
- We ate deep fried chicken necks where I became best friends with the owner and gave him a free photo-shoot at “Kentucky Fried Buches” If you didn’t understand heartburn before, this place would solidify any doubts of what heartburn is or can escalate to.
Side note: Have you ever been to Sams Club or Costco? You know all those sample carts where they let you try bits of what they are selling? Well the liquor stores in Tijuana let you do that. So pretty much you can take free shots of whatever you want. This is when things went South (pun intended)
I want to tell you that we went to museums and learned about Mexican culture but in all honesty I don’t even remember crossing back into America. That’s because all I did for the entire day, in between little side adventures, were shots and food and shots and more food. Tijuana had me hating my 2 hour drive back up to LA this morning. Tijuana made me gain 40 pounds from all the fried chicken and tacos I ate. Tijuana was amazing.