Backstory to Mexico Trip
Back in February 2021, I moved to Guadalajara, Mexico for a month to complete a certification program. The decision was a no-brainer. The proximity and cultural ease made it easier to make that leap. Besides, Mexico was a country I had never been to and was excited about moving to. It’d make my fourth foreign country. As I deplaned from the Airbus A320, I walked out to the tarmac, then to the bus to drive passengers to the jetway. After I went through immigration and customs, a rush of adrenaline hit me. Little did I know then, I would experience some crazy ass times in messy ass Mexico.
Mexico Dinner Party (2/26/21)
The celebration was tonight for me and the entire class finally obtaining our certifications. So, I was glad to see my new homeboy Cory, who had been going through some troubles lately, at the dinner party. Cory was an unusually tall (6'6") slim, and reserved Brit who was big into hip-hop and rap. Since we were only a year apart, we bonded a bit more than the other participants. He had recently lost his cell phone (or maybe had it stolen). So, he was more aloof than usual. I devoured some grilled salmon and mashed potatoes with iced seltzer water on the side. It was an uneventful evening.
After our dinner concluded, we walked the ten minutes to the club. Myself, Cory and the other three people. Two American chicks and a Canadian guy. Also, the office staff and coordinator. The club was a place called “Lupita”. It played music like John Cena’s “My Time Is Now” (a song I hear more often than I should) and what I call “Jersey Shore music”. Loud fist-pumping electronic music with autotune galore and whiny vocals. While dancing and exploring the club, I noticed something hard to miss...
La Lupita Nightclub
Cory (very nauseous) was sitting down and had his head turned towards the window. We had to drag his 6’6”, 225lbs body out the club. Management had kicked him out before he could vomit there. In fact, we babysat and dragged his sloppy ass all night. Into cars, up the stairs to my home. We initially tried his home but couldn’t find his key, and the cabbie summoned the cops, after trying to overcharge us.
One cop was a good cop and his fatso partner was the bad cop. We ended up paying half the charge. The bad one slowly drove off and threw some sort of explosive out the window. A girl we'll call "Areola" was scared as hell and crying how we're Black in a foreign country without leverage. She figured they were trying to plant us as some sort of killers. Now, cabs aren’t my first choice, but the first Uber refused to drive any drunk passengers. Beggars can't be choosers. The tuna tartar he ate only added insult to injury. He'd throw up like twice that night. But, let's rewind a bit.
“My place or your place?” the overweight chick who me and my neighbor called “Areola” said. Her name was really some weird forgettable "A" name. She kept trying to twerk on me. I entertained it because I’m something of a party animal and like to have fun. Sometimes a dance is just a dance. But she didn’t want to leave it at that. She insisted on coming home with us under the guise of “helping” Cory. But she just wanted to help herself to some dick!
Several girls came up to me and started dancing with me that night. Indeed, women like men who other women like. But this evoked much jealousy unwarranted in a woman (unattractive at that) I’d only met for the second time! She envied that I showed everyone else more attention than her. I spent all night nursing Cory to health (till 4am) and had a podcast to do in the morning! It was so late that it was early!
Carlos The Ex-Con (3/4/21)
While Cory and I were in his 2nd floor Airbnb we smoked and chilled while watching Netflix. Specifically, How High and Paradise PD (very funny show). We were sitting in the kitchenette at the small round table by the balcony, when there was a loud knock on the door. A sudden and strong knock, may I add. It sounded like the police. He looked at me. This was characteristic. He always awaited my lead.
“Bro chill out. Just answer it.”
“I think it’s the cops or the landlord.” he said. Cory was high and paranoid. His bloodshot eyes told it all. Plus, the entire room smelled like dank. After deliberating, Cory did answer it. At the threshold appeared a tatted brown-skinned Chicano guy. He had tattoos all on his arms and one on his neck. He introduced himself. We’ll call him Carlos. He explained, “I saw a White and a Black dude smoking and was like ‘what’s going on over there?’” His big personality and charisma was always on ten. A wildcard for sure. “What y’all doing tonight?!”
Cory looked at me for approval. There was dead air. “Nothing,” I offered.
“Let’s link up and go out. Just get to know each other. I know the city well. I’ve been coming here all my life.” He gave us his number while he stepped out to pick up a package. When he came back he knocked that loud knock again.
We walked the fifteen feet over to Cory's new neighbor’s apartment unit for a drinking and smoke session. His favorite word was “nigga.” He said it on the phone with his fellow Chicanos ad nauseum. We learned he was a barber by trade and had did three years in the pen for armed robbery. An ex-con.
“Relax y’all.” he insisted. He seemed to notice the awkward silence among us three as we stood on the wall.
We then sat down and proceeded to talk with him. He kept showing me a video of his play-cousin being murdered. He lamented over it repeatedly, but in a weird way seemed to be bragging about it. As if to glorify the violent gangsta lifestyle.
“I don’t want y’all to think I’m a drug dealer,” he said pulling out the nightstand drawer and revealing all kinds of goodies. Molly. E…After twenty-five years of living in Texas his whole life, he claimed Trump was why he'd been deported back to Mexico. He had his own personal driver and seemed very well-connected in these Mexico streets.
Bloodshed in 7-Eleven
Later, we walked to the 7-Eleven gas station and browsed around. I bought some bottled water. Meanwhile, Cory waited outside in the cold Mexico night.
Carlos picked up a piece of glass and started fiddling with it. Inevitably, he started bleeding. Blood streamed down his hands, as he pretended to videorecord the female cashiers who refused to service him with a Band-Aid. His phone was dead.
We eventually just left there.
“Lemme see your phone.” he said.
“No.” I said incredulously. “You already ‘videotaped’ them.”
“Bro, they know the phone wasn’t on.”... I ignored him...
“Yo, pour some of the water on me bruh,” he said. We stood outside by the gas pumps.
“I was going to do it anyway.” I admitted.
No doubt, this was not the blood of Jesus nor was anyone's sins being washed away tonight. By no means, am I squeamish… But I just didn’t want to attract any unwelcomed attention or more police encounters.
On the way back to the apartment, Carlos was still tipsy and feeling himself. “Llevantar perro perezoso!” Carlos shouted at the hobo lying down on the street wrapped up like a mummy.
I walked ahead to catch up with Cory. “He’s being an asshole.”
“Dave, this dude’s crazy bro.”
BOTANERO VENTIUNO- GUADALAJARA, MEXICO (10PM)
We all three rode down to Chapultepec. The street to be for Guadalajara's most popping nightlife. Carlos seemed to be more interested in documenting the night on Snapchat than having fun and living in the moment. We went to Botanero Ventiuno. There were some Blancitas with their aunties who we chatted up and popped some bottles. When the tab came, my eyes grew the size of saucers. It teetered on $1000 MXN!
On the way home, the cab driver (not Carlos’ personal driver who brought us) tried to overcharge us $20 MXN extra. To his mind, it was payday. A replay of the night just days prior with Cory and the fat chick. Being the only coherent and cogent person, brought much responsibility. We went back inside the house anyway while he tried to finesse us.
“He’s still out there.” Carlos noted. “Let’s go beat him up.” he coaxed.
Of sound mind, I refused.
“Man, you scared!”
“Scared of what?!”
“Let’s go beat this nigga!” Carlos was plastered and making no sense. But we went back outside to try and remedy the situation. To no avail.
“Alright this getting on my nerves.” I walked off and crossed the street then made a left down Calle Federalismo. Carlos and Cory followed me. So did the cab driver who circled around. “He’s too calm to not be scamming!” I reasoned. Ultimately, I didn’t pay him a peso more. "You all are bad dudes!" he said in Spanish and skirted off...SKURTTTTTT. I can't say I disagree.
Later, we went back out sans poor Cory who probably was traumatized. Surely, he ain’t never seen nothing like this back across the pond in the UK. Carlos had left his charger at Botanero, so we went to an Oxxo all the way down the street.
“I don’t like walking out here at night.” he said, looking around.
“C’mon, it’s a straight shot.”
There was no one else on the streets but us. Indeed, a telltale sign of its danger. Carlos was drunk off some tequila and kept staggering. He ended up peeing (simultaneously while walking) on the dirty sidewalk en route to Oxxo. Like it was nothing. Bold move. Institutionalized maybe?
On the way back from Oxxo, we stopped at the hot dog stand right outside.
“You want one?” he asked me as he downed that hot dog like the last supper.
“Nah, I’m good bruh.”
There was this bar down the street from my apartment that I frequented a lot. Since I was vegetarian at the time, they really catered to me. They didn't let patrons drink on an empty stomach so always gifted me popcorn, nachos etc. They even once gave me their special house drink. On the house! It was green and had some sort of unique Mexican vegetable and mint in it. It was good. I got to know the staff and bartenders on a first-name basis. Initially, Carlos and I were going to go to the casino but instead went to some afterhours club full of cougars and overpriced drinks. Prior, we (the barkeeps and Carlos) all stood in a semicircle outside the bar once it closed at 3AM as we plotted the next move. They were “hitting the slopes”.
Time went by so fast, I had some hindsight bias and figured I somehow accidentally had snorted some of that “girl” too. Later that morning we rejoined with Cory to go get iHop in Zapopan. That was the last time I saw Carlos.
Takeaways for Foreign Living
One night, I was walking down the street and ran into an associate. One of the kids from my barrio I often played basketball with. I agreed to wait outside while he stowed away his bike in his house. Afterwards, we began to walk to the basketball court. Lo and behold, the cops appeared out of the shadows. They put us against the wall and ran both our pockets. Thank God they found nothing. While he continued to the basketball court, I decided to return to the bar where I was a mainstay and explain it to the barkeep.
It was the same two cops who frequented my neighborhood bar. They swung by the bar too and explained something. Turns out my basketball teammate was a drug dealer! Get this: In Mexico, the poverty can be very dire and thus these young kids try to make a way in order to feed themselves. So, honestly, I have no judgments against that. Luckily, the cops didn’t try to extort me or anything. I had a guardian angel watching over me. The main takeaways here are: Only take Ubers (predetermined prices), keep good company, and never dance with horny fat chicks!