Good morning word vomit!
That’s like my good morning Vietnam…
Alright. I have an hour and a half before I have to leave to San Diego to take pictures of burgers. I made some calls yesterday and scheduled a couple of places for today. I realized now that some burger places are just burger places and don’t care about calling them ahead of time. Only fancy restaurants do. Or who the fuck knows?!
Point is. I’m shooting the cover today in a few hours.
And I just got an email for yet another cover.
I’m not sure what cover comes out today, but I don’t think I took the pictures for it. I’m refreshing the page to see what is up, but I won’t find out until around noon.
Or maybe if I check the digital version….
Not out as a digital version either.
Yesterday, like I said, I crossed the border for cash. I bought some beers. Arrogant Bastard Ale. The cheap $5 six pack of Stone was gone. The six pack of 16 oz cans of Arrogant Bastard was $9 no tax. Still a great price. Bottle of Makers for $18.40, again, no tax, great price.
Bisho is being cute. I need to go cuddle him for a second.
I came home and decided it was time for an early drink so I can have the courage to go outside and interview the people I wanted to interview.
Before going out to interview, I decided to write part 2 out of 5 from my travel story.
I didn’t do that.
I got inspired to write something completely different.
And on a whim, I wrote an article about Tijuana. Inspired by two articles that came out. One by the Reader itself, and another by Frontera columnist Pepe Avelar.
I used the word SHIT a lot. So I’m not sure if the Reader can run an article that has the word SHIT over and over. Maybe they can use SH*T or S***. Who knows. Maybe I’ll just get rejected.
I like what I wrote. My girlfriend obviously liked it a lot.
And my mom, who out of nowhere told me that downtown Tijuana smelled like shit… also liked it.
So instead of going out and interviewing people, I felt satisfied by the story I wrote and by the phone calls I made. I need to make more phone calls later today. And I need to get out of the door soon. No breakfast. I’ll eat in America.
Coffee coffee coffee.
Definitely need to shower since I didn’t yesterday.
Check the batteries are on. Check my bag is complete. I am ready to cross the border.
Shit. I haven’t taken pictures in more than a week. I get rusty that quick. I should be taking way more pictures!
Well… with the actual camera. I’ve been taking tons of pictures with the iPhone. And playing with that stupid app I paid for called Plotagraph.
Coffee coffee coffee.
Shit alright coffee.
I watched that Vice documentary on what happened in Charlottesville. It is really well done that it had me in tears. Shocking stuff and must watch.
I watched it at around 10 pm. My girlfriend was sleeping since 6 pm, but she woke up from the yells of terror from the video (and to go to the bathroom). And then she implored me to go to bed with her even though, like always, I wasn’t really tired at the moment.
This time I did follow though, and I slept early at around 11 pm with many dark thoughts in my head.
Yep. The US has gone crazy. I haven’t talked politics much in here because I’m somewhat desensitized to it. Trump will be talking crazy shit though. Let’s see how bad it can get.
It’s getting real bad.
Bad and sad in the likes of which you have never seen before.
Unless you lived in the 50s and 60s. Then you might have seen this crap before.
Except like everything in the future, it’s on steroids.
So these are weird protests on steroids with polo shirts, khaki shorts, and Wal-mart torches. It’s so fucked up that it’s hard to be funny about it.
And the most fucked up thing was yesterday. When Trump spread the blame around and said it was everyone, not just white supremacist….
Somehow he will manage a way to place blame on immigrants and Mexicans. Bad hombres in fake marches and fake news. The imaginary illegals that voted for Hillary will be part of the new “alt-left” or “radical left.” What the fuck is that?!
It somehow feels like it doesn’t affect California or the border, but not sure what will happen. For me, it means to keep looking for jobs and/or gigs and keep on writing and taking pictures. I have no other choice.
iPhone is at 68% battery. In an hour or so I leave to the border, borrow my brother’s car, take tons of pictures of burgers, drive all the way to Jamul, take more burger pictures, and probably call it a day.
Repeat the day tomorrow.
Go back on Saturday to do other work.
I just checked the Digital Edition and the magazine is out.
This time I don’t have a single article in there. Or a single picture.
I didn’t do absolutely anything for the magazine this week. And that’s why I’m getting paid absolutely nothing (except for one that they owe me from two weeks ago… I think… they maybe already have paid that… in which case… I’m fucked).
Oh well… :(
That’s what happens when you don’t work as a freelancer.
The only real small thing I did for the Reader this week was to confirm some Spanish translation that wasn’t right. The story looks great and the pictures look great. I’m jealous of the inside spread which is HUGE. I like those huge inside spreads.
None of the pictures are mine.
They do owe me one news story. That pays really well. If I could manage two a week, I would be more than fine, but I can barely manage to do one every two weeks.
And I still have to work on those cover stories I pitched and never worked on.
I’m a horrible freelancer.
This post needs a picture.
I don’t really have any good pictures to post.
Here are the two I took yesterday on my iPhone.
My shitty breakfast from Jack in the Box. It’s so gross but I love it so much. Double sausage sandwich. #27. That shitty sandwich is my guilty pleasure.
And what the border looks like at the moment. They are building a hospital next to the border that is going to be huge. That’s going to be a parking lot connecting to the hospital. Workers stand on the edge with no real safety.
Which one gets the cover photo?
Gross looking sandwich?
Meh looking picture?
I can’t decide.
Coffee coffee coffee.
Small breakfast burrito on my way to the border. Get to work.
I am starting to feel the workout is not enough. I should get a gym membership and I actually dedicate a full 30 minutes to an hour of working out. Instead of doing 4 sets of push-ups and sit-ups. But I like it.
Coffee. Workout. Coffee. Workout.
Cuddle Bisho because he is being cute again.
Emails emails emails.
My morning routine.
Then get to work.
My shit story got shitty rejected before I could even have a chance….
Too much editorial. And I knew it.
I didn’t interview anyone. I could interview the shrimp tostada man that is below my apartment. Or others. But I went with my feelings of the shit smell in this shit town.
Well. That was wasted work. And I was confident it was a good story.
Now I’m sad.
I need an outlet for this type of stories and I don’t have it. And I don’t know where to get it.
It got rejected. So fuck it.
This post is already way over 1,000 words. Adding 1,000 more that I wrote yesterday.
Tijuana Smells Like Shit
And Shit Tons of Other Problems
The first bridge when you cross into Tijuana through San Ysidro, pedestrian or by car, smells like shit. The border entrance to Tijuana is next to Tijuana river which is the city’s main sewer drain. Walking on “Puente El Chaparral,” the pedestrian bridge, the shit smell penetrates your nostrils.
People, mostly deportees and drug addicts, used to live under the shit smelling bridge. They were removed forcefully by the government in March 2015 with the excuse that they were saving them from the flood. The squatters have been returning little by little this year. The abundant rain filled the river with wild vegetation mixed with garbage and black water. This is the water run-off that is causing the problems in Imperial Beach.
The shit smell doesn’t stop at the river, it penetrates several areas in the city.
Zona Norte smells like shit mixed with old greasy fried chicken, stale tacos, and over perfumed sex workers. If sadness had a smell, it would be similar to the entrance of Zona Norte.
The cross streets of Third Street (Calle Tercera) and Avenida Constitución, better known as “la DAX del centro,” also smells like shit. DAX, a chain of ‘farmacias’ that are also department stores similar to Walgreens or CVS, try to hide the smell with concentrated perfumes. The heavily transited corner is a clash of smells, vehicle traffic, and people that cross the intersection on the barely understandable diagonal crossing that lasts under 15 seconds.
“The city just farted,” is my little joke when I have tourists visiting. The city flatulence smell like rotten eggs and you can smell them in almost every corner.
Little pockets all over downtown Tijuana smell like shit. Especially near some of the open sewers. When it rains, the sewers tend to overflow and it turns into a river of shit. Sometimes, rain is not the cause for shit rivers, this last weekend, there was a leak near my apartment building and the street turned into a river of caca. Because it was the weekend, no workers showed up to fix it. It was until Monday morning when the sewer leak was stopped.
It’s not only downtown Tijuana.
Plaza Fiesta, the beer and party plaza, has a problem with a rat infestation. Insurgente brews some of the best beer I have ever had and they have won worldwide accolades, but I’ve seen rats scurrying around on their tap room hallway that leads to the bathroom. To be clear, the tap room and the brewery are not in the same building, Insurgente is still great beer, but Plaza Fiesta has turned into an under managed cesspool of fat rats.
Zona Rio, the River Zone where Plaza Fiesta is located, it’s Tijuana’s most developed urban area.
Vía Rapída, Tijuana’s version of a highway alongside the river, is the main vein of Tijuana connecting the city to its remote neighborhoods. The shit smell is present anywhere nearby the river. Most places I have visited in Tijuana have that same shit smell, some get it stronger than others, in other places it comes and goes.
Playas de Tijuana, the beach where it all ends, many times have it worst. Sure you can rent a beachfront house or apartment for less than $800, but the breeze possibly can smell like shit. Named one of the most polluted beaches in Mexico, Playas de Tijuana is the city’s toilet. Playas is one of the nicest and most Americanized areas, English is often heard more in coffee shops than Spanish and the roads make more sense, but is still Tijuana, thus it is conditioned to smell like shit.
Though the shit smell has been a long time problem in Tijuana, according to Frontera writer Pepe Avelar, the smell can be attributed to three governmental services: CONAGUA, CESPT, and city hall.
CONAGUA: Mexico’s National Water Committee. Water basin reservoirs are a disaster, wild vegetation has grown in Parque Morelos and in the Tijuana river. Sewer water, as well as garbage and other pollutants, are found throughout the river.
CESPT: The State’s Committee on Public Services in Tijuana, the one in charge of water, sewers, and drainage. There are old pipes throughout the city that are subject of leaking or ruptures. Water shortages or complete cut offs are common as workers attempt to fix old pipes that were never meant to hold a city of more than one million.
Shit smell whack-a-mole.
City Hall: after neglecting garbage collection at the beginning of the year, the mayor solved his crisis by renting outside extra garbage trucks at dubious prices. But filthy grimy junk and rubble is still a major problem as businesses, especially those in the food industry, often leave garbage poorly contained in street corners. Stray dogs and cats tend to rip bags and spread the waste all over. I have witnessed late at night stray dogs fighting over a beef carcass outside a closed taco shop.
It’s late 2017 and Tijuana is riddled with issues extending from a return of narco-violence, petty crime, drug addicts, increasing population (rat and human), and the lingering shit smell.