Archive for the ‘Mexico’ Category

A Mexican Dessert You’re Unlikely to See at Taco Bell

January 5, 2012 Leave a comment
Female Silouhette

The "Tijuana Special"

As anyone who regularly dines out would know, restaurant staff frequently utilise “upsell” questions to encourage additional spending by patrons. Common examples I’m sure most people have encountered include, “Do you want fries with that?“ and, “Would you like to see the dessert menu?”

Asking diners if they’d like a hooker with their lunch, however, is probably not something most establishments would consider normal practice.

At least that’s what I assumed prior to visiting Tijuana, a place where they clearly have a very different idea about what is considered normal.

It was here that I was introduced to a whole new level of customer service when, after a meal at a popular restaurant, my traveling companion and I were approached by the grinning proprietor and, instead of being offered dessert as expected, were asked if we would like some “ladies”.

Now, at first, we were a little confused as to precisely what he was offering, but it soon became apparent  – mainly from his crude hand gestures – that he was attempting to supply us with a couple of prostitutes for some after-dinner “entertainment”.

Fortunately, my companion – a guy I had admittedly met just a few days earlier and knew very little about – was as disinclined as I was to visit an illegal Mexican brothel (or any such establishment, I should point out), and we politely declined the offer in favor of another Corona. This is a compromise we felt was wise under the circumstances, as offending a Tijuana pimp seemed like something we should try to avoid if at all possible.

I suspect that had we accepted his offer though, the next “upsell” would have been a couple of cheap penicillin shots and a tube of extra-strength Zovirax from one of Tijuana’s notorious “no prescription required” drug vendors.

With all due respect to the ‘ladies” in question, I have a strong suspicion we would have needed both very shortly.


Border Insecurity

Despite sharing a heavily fortified border facility, the US and Mexican governments appear to have vastly different opinions on what constitutes adequate immigration control.

When entering the USA from Tijuana, it’s easy to think you’ve mistakenly wandered into a maximum-security prison complex. The heavily-fortified American half of the building is filled with armed guards, sniffer dogs, razor wire fences, and humourless officials interrogating everyone who passes through the gates.  Photographs are strictly prohibited – as my snap-happy traveling companion discovered when set upon by a group of heavily armed military officers – and customs officials subject you to not one, but two x-ray baggage checks, one on the way into the building and one on the way out (the ridiculousness of this situation is acknowledged with a hand-written sign reading “Yes, again” on the second machine).

Conversely, when entering Mexico from San Diego, the only “security” you have to navigate is a single rusty turnstile. That’s it, push once and you’re in the country. There are no guards, no customs officers, no bag checks, and no passport checkpoint; in fact, apart from the turnstile, they don’t appear to have any form of border control at all. You could be carrying twenty kilograms of cocaine, an AK-47, three babies, a rare Bolivian parrot and a small nuclear weapon and no-one would bat an eyelid.  Hell, there’s not even anyone there to bat an eyelid.

As long as you have money to buy tacky, overpriced souveniers and cheap Viagra in Tijuana, it seems that no-one cares what you do.

What an awesome country.

A deserted Mexican Border facility

A Mexican Border Patrol staff photograph

Categories: Mexico, USA Tags: , , , ,

Mexican Zebras

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Mexico, famous for Tequila, Tacos, Aztec ruins ...and, apparently, zebras

I’ve seen some unusual tourist scams in my time, but a group of entrepreneurs in Tijuana has come up with a particularly creative way of separating gullible visitors from their money.

Along the Avenida Revolucion (a.k.a. the main street), there are several live “zebras” with which tourists can pay to have their photo taken. Now, I paid enough attention in school to know that Mexico is not normally the place you’d expect to find zebras – even domesticated ones – so I decided to take a closer look. It didn’t take much detective work to determine that the creatures in question were not zebras at all, but white donkeys that had been spray-painted – rather badly, I might add – to look like zebras.

Even with this clearly shoddy paint-job however, there were still dozens of people queing up to have their photos taken with the “local wildlife”…which I think proves beyond any doubt my long-held theory that some people are just f***ing stupid.

Note: I later discovered that this “tourist attraction” has been around since the 1940s…which goes to show that stupid people were just as stupid back then as they are now.

Categories: Mexico Tags: , , ,