December is flying by.
And not in a good way.
It started with my flight back from my adventure. And I returned ill. Very ill. It started the day before my flight. I was bedridden with diarrhea and a fever. Meds made me feel better. And I needed it before the flight.
I was sick on the flight. I knew I shouldn’t fly like that, but I had no choice. Sorry society. I fail.
Was it Covid? Probably. Most likely. It could have been RSV as well. The symptoms are the same.
Thick fucking mucus and a rough cough were the start of my December.
Followed by nothing. A lot of nothing.
Except for one thing.
Tijuana Adventure – Confesiones de un Guía Turistico!!!
Ahora en Español!
It comes out next week. I finished it. I fucking finished it in Español. It has a new ending and a few new chapters. And it’s done.
I can’t believe it’s done.
Well… It’s 99% done. I’m done writing it. My editor is almost done editing. Then I have to convert it to a friendly PDF for Amazon and BOOK! In Español!
What does it mean?! Hopefully, money. But I know how books work and there’s not that much money to be made.
Now I can say that I have two books published in English and one in Spanish. I became a Spanish author of some sort. It’s a translation. It’s sort of a rewrite. It’s a different book based on the original one. And I rather translate it than have someone fucking it up and re-arrange my style.
What a fucking adventure. Unplanned one. Just go.
I spent less than $150 on the flight. So it was a cheap adventure. I was nervous before leaving. Probably because I didn’t have much of a plan. Or maybe because I felt on heavy fear of leaving my comfort zone. My depression comfort zone. Alone in my apartment getting high and drinking beer as soon as it gets dark.
Watch YouTube. Play videogames. Pretend to work. Get high. Do nothing. Rinse. Repeat.
Every once in a while write something. Make some money.
Every once in a while have a photo shoot. Make some money.
Every once in a while have a tour. Make some money.
November was slow. December is way slower. And I still avoid getting a steady job. I do not want to cross the border.
I had my cover story. That gave me comfort money to leave on my adventure.
I flew early on Wednesday, November 23rd. My friend Denisse had keys to the apartment to feed my cats and housesit. No one asked for my ID at the airport. Security glanced at it once. The flight went well and before I knew it, I was in Mexico City.
No fucking plan.
My friend Sanchez didn’t get home until the afternoon. He left me the keys to his apartment. How nice of him. I still have the keys. I didn’t give them back (this was an accident). I tried to Didi out of the airport. It failed. I asked for a taxi. It was 1/3 of the price of the flight. Fuck that. Almost 500 pesos to get out of the airport.
Metro. The infamous metro of Mexico City. I was nervous because I was carrying all my gear. Two cameras, four lenses, a flash, and the drone. By the time I made the decision to travel by Metro, Sanchez left work and was on his way home.
We met outside his apartment a couple of blocks away from el Metro Balderas. Metro was a breeze. I felt like a true Chilango navigating the metro with ease. We got comida corrida para llevar and ate at his place. I wasn’t hungry then. I wasn’t hungry throughout the whole trip.
Turns out that not smoking weed really limits my appetite. And I quit cold turkey for the trip.
I only had one mission. Drink beer. First stop was Morenos Beer. First realization is that beer in CDMX is way more expensive than Tijuana. None of the beers were under 100 pesos. Most of them gravitated to 130-150 pesos mark. Fuck it. I’m on vacation. I don’t want to think of the price tag.
I worked hard on TikToks to no avail. Here’s the TikTok for Morenos and La Roma Brewing.
Morenos was excellent. Probably the best beer in Mexico City. But their taproom was small and uninteresting. Cool mural of a devil drinking a beer but besides that, just a small space in La Roma.
Again though… Excellent beer. All of them were great. Too bad they don’t do flights. It’s like CDMX is still years behind when it comes to craft beer.
We found La Roma brewing by accident by just walking nearby. Someone at Morenos suggested other breweries. It turns out he worked for a brewery in Querétaro called Punto Medio and he had his gold-winning amber lager with him. We drank that in Morenos as well.
La Roma Brewing shared space with Escollo and VKBC Brewery. To my surprise, they had a sour slushy with mango and coconut an adventurous style to find somewhere like CDMX. It was surprisingly good and it was followed by a bunch of other good stuff. I tried 10 out of the 24 beers they had. I would gladly go back and try some more.
But it was late on a Wednesday so we went for tacos and then bed.
Thursday Sanchez went to work and I was left with no plans but beer. Breweries in CDMX also don’t open until after 3 or 4 pm. They are not like in Baja by noon, most of them are open.
I wanted to check out Falling Piano. I’ve had them before and they were bloody awful. Threw away the can awful. I haven’t had a single good beer by Falling Piano… until now.
I thought it was all going to be garbage. I went with my smug face and order all they had on tap. They had 10. I ordered 10.
And I was happily wrong. Their Berliners were nice, their experimental beers were going places, and their IPAs were weak (the hazy wasn’t even a hazy). Definitely, the winner was the Tucsi Pop, a cherry lollipop Berliner made with Tutsi Pops.
And the falling piano inside Falling Piano looks dope as f. It was the only brewery I went to that brewed in-house. Space is very limited in CDMX, but Falling Piano makes it work.
From there I went to two recommended breweries: Monstruo de Agua and Yeccan. Here’s the TikTok for all three.
Monstruo de Agua is a lovely space and a lovely name. The place smelled more like coffee and tea than beer. Turns out, they do coffee and beer and their own sodas.
Again, I ordered all the beers. They were all a little bit off except their habanero ale. They truly fuck with experimentation here. They use rain water to brew and use mushroom tinctures they make during the elaboration process. They were all earthy and funky. I didn’t really like any of them… It’s like they tried to reinvent beer before brewing the correct beer. I trust they will get better because they seem to have some passion to their craft.
And after that… I went to Yeccan. It came highly recommended by locals in different bars. I ordered a flight. They told me the flight came with four beers. And they were 12 fucking oz beers. THAT’S A HUGE FLIGHT.
The waiter kept calling it flyer. So I just said yes, sure. Flyer. They had around 15 house-beers on tap and another 15 guest beers. From the guest beers, I recognized my homies of Syncopa and Mamut up on the board. I chose four house ones. As the server was pouring the beers, I noticed he was using two glasses because they were all extremely foamy. One glass for the foam, the other glass for the golden liquid for me.
It was a nice presentable flight of a variety of beers: Japanese lager, cold IPA, and two others I forgot.
I tasted the first one. It was bad. All sorts of bad. Bacteria infested badly. I told the bartender to throw it away. He looked at me in disbelief. I told him it was undrinkable, please throw it away. He did.
I tried the second one. It was supposed to be a cold IPA. It didn’t even taste like beer. It tasted like a dirty rag. Worst. Like a dirty mop. Again I told him to throw it away. I asked him if he poured the correct beers. He was sure of it.
I forgot what the other two were. Somewhere in my notes, it says what they were. In my TikTok, it says what they were. All I know is that I also threw them away. Fucking garbage. I was pissed.
I told the bartender to throw them away and how much did I owe him. He didn’t charge me. I left.
I was still angry. Despite not paying. I was just so angry… and what felt like a betrayal. The place was nice. It had happy people drinking. It seemed like it was going to have a cool music event. But the beer… The beer was garbage.
After that, I was left without a plan again. Sanchez was done with work. I told him to meet me at Paracaidistas, another place that was recommended by locals. I met him there. He was drinking the Kolsch which was nice.
I went up to the bar to ask for a flight. They didn’t have any. I asked for samples and asked the bartender which one was the house favorite. He said none. He was a little fucking ratdick. I asked for three samples and none convinced me. I asked for the fourth and he told me he couldn’t serve me more than three. I told him I’m willing to pay for it. He said he couldn’t serve it. Company policy.
None convinced me for a full pour. The bartender was being a ratdick. I told Sanchez we should just leave. And we did. I was still furious over a shit beer at Yeccan.
We had street tacos. They were okay and greasy. And we had one more beer at a random bar that had craft beer. Again, the beers weren’t great. The lines seemed infected. Maybe CDMX doesn’t know that they have to clean their taps at least twice a year…
On the way back to Sanchez’s apartment, I heard live music in what seemed like a warehouse. There was a 50 pesos cover. I asked if I could poke my head to get the vibe. The doorman said yes. I poked my head and said… yeah. I’ll pay 50 pesos.
Turns out it was Capitan Gallo venue. Of the four bands we heard, two were awful, one was beyond fucking awful, and one was alright. Like a very shitty version of Dream Theater alright. I enjoyed it.
I enjoyed the vibe in general.
Cool shitty bar. I could see myself there hanging again. We had a few Bohemias and then to sleep. Well… to play Smash Bros. Sanchez beat my ass. I suck at Smash now. I gotta practice and level up.
On Friday I grabbed a ride to Querétaro with UrbVan rideshare app between cities. It was a fucking mess. The app switched the pick-up location four times.
I made it to Querétaro with a dead phone. My iPhone’s battery is FUCKED. It doesn’t last more than two hours (in constant use). That’s not good for someone traveling doing TikToks on his phone.
I made it to Querétaro at night and went straight to Hercules Brewery. What a fantastic place that is. My friend Irving and Edu met me there. I haven’t seen Edu in over 20 years. I’ve only heard his voice playing video games.
He doesn’t drink but he was willing to try the flight at Hercules.
Here’s that TikTok.
Hercules does everything right and their IPAs got way better. The weakest was an Irish Stout that supposedly was on nitro but had 0 carbonation (apparently, on purpose, but I don’t believe that). One of their newest beers, New Hops, with Yakima hops was outstanding. The best I tried from them.
They also made a Grodziskie! I haven’t had that style in years. And it was perfect!
But as I discussed with my friends, people that go to Hercules go because it’s an amazing place with great food and perfect beers. They don’t necessarily go for the beer. If they served caguamas, people would order that instead. The place is magical. It goes underappreciated by Queretanos. They have one of the best craft beers in Mexico.
After drinking and eating pizza, I spent the night at my friend Irving’s house. The next day I hitched a ride with Killer and his wife to San Joaquin in La Sierra Madre de Querétaro.
I’ve known Killer since kindergarten. He has a new daughter. We met at his parents’ house. Flashbacks of my childhood hit me because I haven’t been in that neighborhood for over 20 years and I roller-skated with Killer there.
From there we drove to San Joaquin in La Pitfuina for Julio and Sarai’s wedding.
I had no idea where I was staying. I had no idea how the wedding was going to go. Julio didn’t say much except that before the wedding everyone was going to watch Mexico vs Argentina and then the wedding was going to happen.
I tried not to worry about it. I should have worried about it.
After the shitty game, we went to the wedding. And well… I ranted about it on Reddit. Over at Wedding Photography. Here’s a link to my rant.
Here’s the rant.
“Hi all, I need to vent a bit.
I’ve been a photographer (of all kinds) for 15+ years, but I recently started trying to cover more weddings.
A good friend invited me to his wedding in a Pueblo in the middle of Mexico (San Joaquin in La Sierra Gorda). I told him it was my gift to him to photograph his wedding. If anything, I would appreciate it if he could give me a place to stay.
I asked for details of the wedding to be prepared. He told me to not worry about it. All the information I got from him was that at 1 pm everyone was going to gather to watch Mexico vs Argentina and then the wedding was going to start. He provided no other info about the ceremony or the location or where I was going to stay.
After flying to Mexico City (and staying a few days) I hitched a ride to San Joaquin with a mutual friend that was also going to the wedding. When we arrived at the pueblo, we couldn’t find anyone from the wedding. It turns out, there’s no cellphone signal where it was going to take place. They set up a big screen for the townspeople to watch the game in the middle of town, and that’s where I waited. Little by little people from the wedding started arriving to watch the game. About the groom or the bride, I didn’t know anything. Their house was up in the mountains and there was no way to talk to them.
After the (disappointing) game was over, everyone headed to the wedding. It was a 20-minute drive into the mountains and to a park. There was NO electricity (they had a generator for the DJ and lights). But it looked like an actually nice wedding. I finally saw the bride and groom and I started taking pictures of everyone posing with them.
There were other people with cameras, but no one was covering as a true wedding photographer except the cousin of the bride and myself. He told me it was his first wedding and he had nice gear (this was my 6th). I was glad to have a second shooter. The shooting was easy for a while, though my drone wasn’t charging (I wanted to do some aerial coverage and I wasted my battery playing with it the day before).
The outside ceremony was led by my brother and it was short and sweet. The pictures were okay. After the ceremony, it was food time. Again, the pictures were just okay. By that time I still had no idea where I was going to stay and the rest of my stuff was in my friend’s car.
At around magic hour, pictures started to get that beautiful glow. I started shooting a lot. And this is when the bride introduced me to the woman that was going to lend me a room in her house. It turns out, her house was full and she was going to lend me a cabin. This is where all went to shit.
The woman told me the cabin was a 10-minute walk from the wedding. It was magic hour and I didn’t want to waste a single minute, but hey… a 10-minute walk to see the cabin before it got dark was a good idea.
It wasn’t a 10-minute walk.
It was almost an hour’s walk to the cabin. During the whole walk, I kept asking how much longer to the cabin. She kept saying, “oh it’s just around the corner.” BULLSHIT. The cabin was so fucking far. I told her I couldn’t miss the important moments of the wedding. The toast/speeches. The first dance. The dance with the parents. She just kept saying “it’s around the corner.” I kept following her (after all, I needed a place to stay). When we finally made it to the cabin, magic hour was gone and it was getting dark. She gave me the keys to the cabin and handed me a lamp. The cabin had no electricity (or phone signal… which was a given, at least it had running water). I thanked her but I told her I needed to run back to the wedding.
I ran as much as I could, I don’t exercise much, so I wasn’t fast. When I made it back to the wedding, my fears were confirmed. I missed all the important moments.
At least there was a second shooter. He told me he got nice shots and covered it all. I was extremely frustrated because I missed it all. But at least someone covered it.
All I had to worry about by then was taking pictures of the nighttime party and people dancing. Again, the pictures were just okay. Nothing magical. But there was nothing I could do anymore.
Almost at midnight, I hitched a ride to the cabin with my friend. I stole a beer and a large mineral water from the wedding because the cabin had no drinking water (there was no regular water at the wedding). We got lost on the way because it was truly in the middle of nowhere. My friend feared for my safety especially because of no signal, but I was fine.
After all that, the cabin was actually quite nice and the stars were wonderful (picture I took before going to bed). The following morning I walked (for over an hour) into town to the same place where they showed the game. After a few minutes I bumped into friends from the wedding and they took me up the mountain where everyone was eating leftovers (if anything, the food was the best thing of the wedding, amazing barbacoa).
And that’s where I found out… The other shooter somehow MISPLACED his memory cards and LOST all the pictures that he took at the wedding.
Now I’m culling through the 2,000+ frames I took and I’m left with just… okay pictures. There is nothing spectacular. Nothing great. Just okay pictures.
Whoa… didn’t realize I typed out that much. Thanks to whoever read this much.
TL;DR – I missed the most important parts of a wedding in the middle of nowhere and the second shooter lost all the pictures.
Edit: Thanks everyone for the replies. I was being WAY too hard on myself. I’m like 8% with the edit and feeling better. My friend’s smile and the first kiss are great and I’m getting sentimental (I’ve known the guy for 20+ years). The main anger was at me for missing the golden hour because I walked to the cabin. I was livid when it happened (especially because the lady kept saying “we’re almost there, you won’t miss a thing”) and I got angry again while culling. I didn’t get the shot I envisioned for my portfolio, but what I got is not bad at all (especially doing it for free). Definitely, the lesson to be learned is never to do it for free no matter how much you love the dude.”Edit: Thanks everyone for the replies. I was being WAY too hard on myself. I’m like 8% with the edit and feeling better. My friend’s smile and the first kiss are great and I’m getting sentimental (I’ve known the guy for 20+ years). The main anger was at me for missing golden hour because I walked to the cabin. I was livid when it happened (especially because the lady kept saying “we’re almost there, you won’t miss a thing”) and I got angry again while culling. I didn’t get the shot I envisioned for my portfolio, but what I got is not bad at all (especially doing it for free). Definitely, the lesson to be learned is never to do it for free no matter how much you love the dude.”
I’m still angry about leaving at the best moment of the wedding. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t that lady’s fault. The cabin was indeed fucking amazing. I even had time to take some long exposures.
My favorite picture from the wedding:
This one, I’m proud to catch and not have them pose the ring thing. Caught it in the moment:
And some nighttime shots.
I sent them 900+ pictures. They could have been way better. But I got pulled in the best moment. I also should have planned everything better.
I told you nothing was planned.
I woke up from the cabin in the middle of nowhere to nothing. I walked into town. Luckily I bumped into friends to take me to get breakfast with the wedding people. I still had no plan. And I needed a ride back.
I went back to Querétaro with my good friend Doro, wife, and kids. His new house is near my childhood home. And the house looks… somewhat like my childhood home.
A part of Querétaro I liked. We had caguamas and tacos and talked about our respective women.
I texted mine before leaving. She didn’t text back I text her during. She didn’t text back. I texted her when I came back. She didn’t text back.
I miss her.
I love her.
But I wonder if she ever did.
I was going to go back to Mexico City and drink more beer. I don’t like being in Querétaro, much less on a Monday. But my eldest brother lives there and it seems like it’s a bit of a permanent move. He hasn’t lived in a city other than Ibiza for years. He is almost one year living back home.
He seems to be doing great though he gets kicked out of places often. I started feeling sick that Monday. I ignored it and bought beers at Hercules Warehouse. Tuesday is when I woke up like shit. Wednesday I miraculously flew back. And then I spent my first week of December sick as shit and finishing my book in Español!
Here’s the new cover in Spanish!
Now my car is fucked. I haven’t even driven it in weeks. I’m about to drive it to go get pizza. I’m broke and December is very slow. I’ll be living with minimal money, but I’ll be fine. I’m also selling my posters to survive. These posters.
Buy my books.
Buy my posters.
Support me on Patreon.com/Matingas !!!