Tuesday, August 04, 2015


I wake before the crack of dawn and drag my suitcase across the sleeping Calexico streets to hop a bus west. I sit in that cramped and crowded carriage riding high in anxiety and mounting fear as I neared my final destination: Tijuana. What will it be like? What insufferable hell am I to be exposed to? When I debark the bus in San Diego amid a mass of howling homeless (they have relocated the station from Broadway to smack dab in the center of skid row) I wade through the throng of screaming derelicts and jump a trolley south toward the International Border. I realized I was in Califas on account of the uncounted multitude of signs posted. All forbidding, denying, warning, stating no. Fuck. How can people live under such suffocating restrictions?
Through the website craigslist, I contact a man named Jack who was renting a room in a three story hacienda. Flashy pictures revealing a snazzy set up of outright bohemia. Only when the time to meet arrives it is milled in misfortune and bad connections. I cross the border (which has changed in my 10 year hiatus, the entrance to walk into Mexico is behind the San Ysidro McDonalds and not over the pedestrian bridge spanning the Interstate as before), pass the line of impatient people a million bodies deep, and hail a yellow taxi to the hotel Economico on Madero where I am checked in by an over the hill hooker. She flashes a gold tooth and refers to me as guapo. I sit in my stuffy room and wait, finally receiving the call from the previously mentioned Jack.
He picks me up on the corner under the Millennial Arch on el Revu in his ratty SUV and whisks me off toward his hacienda with a pink-haired snaggle toothed broad and sulky white boy. Jack was a garrulous, potbellied bearded gnome in a Hawaiian shirt, deftly attempting to impress me with his lascivious tales of titties and hetero porn infatuations. Girl, if you only knew.
The house is huge and basically a hive for Ugly Americans untrained in the life south of the border. A multi-raced mix of burnt out misfits. In desperation and out of options, I rent basically a stuffy closet-sized room, bare walls and sagging, single bed with a pole nailed across one end for clothes. The first annoying shock was on the first of three floors, there were a gaggle of screaming children from the age of one to six years of age bouncing on a trampoline which took up the entire front yard. Their screeching caterwauling annoyed the fuck out of me. Oh, how I loathe kids! Secondly, the walls of my room stopped an inch from the ceiling and I was subjected to the rasping sounds of my neighbors fucking – he being a snarling hillbilly in a wife beater named Rocky and she a meth-mouthed hag – I forgot her name. Horrid. On the contrary, since I am one to make lemonade from these fucking lemons, the upswing is I can now locate a decent apartment firsthand instead of relying on misleading internet photographs.
My first evening in this town of ill-repute was spent up on the roof patio with a toothless old geezer named CJ and his once handsome heehaw friend called Hank. We smoked weed and chatted of casual things. So…here I am. Once again in the city I so dearly love, only how much has it changed? Is it still the lurid town of lore? Has it changed as drastically as I have? Time as they say will only tell…

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