A night out in Tijuana is really not the same without Oso, but it was still fun. I joined Nathan, his wife Rosario, and several of their friends for a Tijuana run to celebrate his birthday. I haven’t been to Tijuana since the last time I went with Nathan and Rosario in June, 2006.
My sister drove out with me to San Diego. At my tío Beto’s and tía Ana’s house (our place to sleep for the night) she realized she’d forgotten her passport. She wasn’t willing to find out what happens if you try and cross with only a driver’s license, and I didn’t want to stay home after driving a couple of hours, so I left her behind.
I met up with Nathan, Rosario and the rest of our group of eight people at the trolley in San Ysidro and walked over the bridge to Tijuana. We had dinner again at Cantina de los Remedios. The 2-for-1 drink special made up for the cold enchiladas de mole.
After dinner, we hopped in taxis and walked off the food with a short stroll along Avenida Revolución. We then entered La Estrella, our first dancing destination. At nine something, it was already full. Except for the fact that all clubs feel rather meat market-ish, La Estrella was the exact opposite of Tangaloo, the trendy club we went to last time I visited Tijuana. I’m sure we stuck out in the crowd as too young. Most of the crowd was middle-aged working class crowd and played “música popular” (as Rosario described it). It was kinda cool to see women my mom’s age — still wearing their smocks from the maquiladora where they work — line dancing to “No Rompas Más Mi Pobre Corazón,” a cover of Billy Ray Cyrus’ hit.
We ditched La Estrella for a second more age-appropriate place. The second place, La Iguana Rana, skewed young, was much more empty and louder. They played hip hop and reggaetón. We danced for a bit before leaving around 1 a.m. to cross back to el Otro Lado.
Aside from answering a lot of the (Latino) border agent’s questions, I didn’t have any issues crossing the border.
He: Good morning.
Me: [I hand him my passport, eye his name tag] Good morning.
He: Are you bringing anything back?
Me: Just this. [I show him a bag of the wheel-shaped doritos I’d just bought.]
He: Bringing back any medications? [He eyes my tiny purse.]
He: [Continues looking at my passport, changes the angle to make sure it’s not a fake.] Where do you live?
Me: [For some reason I need to think about this.] Um, LA.
He: How often do you go to Mexico each year?
Me: Once or twice.
He: What’s your dad’s nickname?
Me: [Huh?] Charlie.
He: I had a friend with that last name, we used to call him Mosquito.
Me: Oh, yeah. I get that too.
He: [Hands me my passport.] Thank you, have a good day.
Me: You too.
Back in San Ysidro we split up and headed back to our own cars.
As I made the five minute trip back to my tío Beto’s and tía Ana’s house, I thought about the entitled feeling I had to cross that border. I take that privilege for granted.