What It Was Like to Visit Mexico While Serving in the United States Navy As an Enlisted Personnel
The first time we went to Tijuana, Mexico, we rode the trolley car, that goes right next to the boarder, and lets you off right there. When you go into Mexico, it immediately seems like you’re going into another country, right when you cross the border. If you are walking across, like we did, you have to go threw metal bars, that are like cattle guards, or a revolving door, and once you go threw, there is no way to change your mind, and turn around, and come back.
Immediately when you walk threw the gates, you see a bunch of government type offices, and then you see a bunch of taxi cabs, and the guys that drive them, standing outside of them, trying to get you to take a taxi. All the drivers are shouting, and trying to get you to take one of their cabs. We kept saying, “no thanks”, and walked faster. You go threw a shopping mall district, where it’s all bottles of alcohol for sale, and gifts, cigars, and more. All catering to the tourists, that flock there every day.
We were heading to the main part of down town, where it is nothing but bars, and shopping stores, full of leather items, blankets, and Mexican hand made products. Most all of the stores, seem to sell the same things. If you see an item in one store, you’re bound to see it again, in the next 50 stores you come across while walking.
Most of the bars are all strip joints, and titty bars. They have their hagglers out front, that try to get you to come in and spend some money. Most of the bars, have girls walking around in the bar, all over the place, trying to get you to buy them a drink, and let them sit down.
There are lots of different acts they do, much more wilder and erotic, than the United States side allows. It seemed, the rules for, “anything goes”, was in effect, and a lot of these bars, had some wild women in them, doing their various sex acts, and routines.
For as many times as I traveled to Mexico as a tourist, and mostly to get drunk, party, and see what kind of girls we could hook up with. I never went to Mexico alone, I always went with someone, and sometimes a bunch of us would go together. For all the times I traveled down to Mexico, there was a total of three times, I had to pay a policeman kickback, just to let me, or us go.
The first time, I had to pay the police, me and two buddies, went down to Ensenada, Mexico. We rented a room for the night, and it was my friends first credit card, he had ever received in the mail, and he said the party was on him. So he paid for the room, and a lot of food and drinks that night.
We had a ton of fun that weekend. We went to a few different parties, with lots of sexy girls, that weren’t bar girls, but local girls. On one of those occasions, we were outside, taking a pee, right against a concrete wall, all three of us were peeing at the same time. We had been drinking a lot, but we were done, and ready to head back home.
Well, these three cops, in long black leather trench coats, showed up, out of know where. They came up, and gave us a hard time. They ended up leaving, after they got all the money we had left between the three of us, which was a total of $7 in all. They took the $7 we had, between the three of us, and let us go.
The second time, I had to pay the police, was in Tijuana, Mexico. It was me, and some buddies, sitting in this one bar, shooting darts, and drinking some beer. It was mostly all the younger guys from the ship, the DAVID R. RAY, that were not old enough, to drink in San Diego, but in Tijuana, it did not matter. Overseas, we could drink in any bar we wanted to, but, in California, you could drink on the base, but only beer, if you were in the military. Everywhere else, except the base, and Tijuana, you had to be 21 years old to drink.
That was weird, I had been overseas drinking non stop, in tons of bars, and back in San Diego, you could only drink beer, at the enlisted club. I guess that was still better, than the guy would could not drink anything, if he was not in the military. I have to give the Navy that, they fought for the guys to have beer, and they got it.
Right across the border, in Tijuana, sits San Diego, right across from it. Mexico would get pretty rowdy sometimes, there were lots of service guys out in the bars, and lots of college kids, from Southern California, in the same mix. Well, in one of those bars, one of the guys we were with, got in a fight with a local guy in the bar.
The cops came, and took all of us outside, to the front of the bar. They told us we had to leave, and each one of us had to pay $20 each, not to go to jail. We all had $20 each, and was able to pay, luckily.
The third time the police had to be paid, was when, me and a friend, who was Mexican, and could speak Spanish, went out into town together. Me, who was white, and could not speak a lick of Spanish, just tried to understand it. Well, we went into a bar, and as we went in, I told my friend I was going to take a leak, first.
After using the restroom, I came out, and my friend Carlos, he was not in the bar any longer, already? I wondered what happened to him, and I stepped outside. When I went outside, Carlos was talking to a policeman in Spanish, as they were talking, I just stood there, and did not have any idea, what they were talking about.
Carlos asked me if I had $20 he could borrow. I loaned it to him, and he handed it to the police officer, and the police officer walked away. I asked him, “What was that all about, I was only gone for a minute, and you already had a problem with a cop?
He said right after I went into the bathroom, the cop came in, and told him to come outside. The cop told him, in Spanish if he did not give him $20, he was going to say, one of the girls inside the bar, would accuse him of something. He borrowed the money from me, and we were out of there.
I still travel to Mexico, I think bribery, or extortion, or whatever you want to call it, is just part of their heritage, or something. Most of the time, things go smoothly. When you travel by car, you get stuck in long lines, that can last an hour, or even several hours. It is an amusing hour, if you have never been there.
The lines that you have to get into, with your automobile, eventually spread out, to over 20 lanes wide of cars, like a parking lot of cars, moving in one direction slowly. In between all of these cars, are various people walking up and down, threw all the rows of cars, hawking their wares, that they bring out from the stores, and walk up and down the aisles of cars, and sell items to anyone that will buy one.
From the time you get in line, until you finally cross the border, you might be approached 50 to 75 times by various vendors walking around with cigarettes, trinkets, toys, hats, you name it. If they can sell it, someone will try to carry it out to the shoppers, waiting in cars, and try to sell it to them. It really is fun to watch.