She's ugly, dirty, she smells bad - but she'll give you whatever you want, no questions asked, and cheap. You see her, and you can't help but know she could have done better for herself; but at the end of the day, she's just trying to take care of the family, keep a roof over her head, and get by. The garish makeup doesn't disguise the ugly truth, or mask the smell.
We had a great trip down - crapdaddy, misskitty14 and I caught up with manywaters and her husband royalcrown. They drove us in their awesome 1970's vintage stationwagon with genuine faux-wood sidepanels to the border, and we walked across. I completely missed the "you are in Mexico" sign and it wasn't until we were crossing a street and I noticed that all la farmacias had viagra on sale, ("cheap!") that it occurred to me I was in another country. We dodged the hordes of urchins who will stand directly in your path and try and sell you geegaws, or just demand money.
Tijuana must be the velvet Elvis capital of the world - but even that paled in comparison to the dizzying array of objets d'weird that cluttered every inch of public space. The shopowners were very aggressive in trying to get our business, no doubt because they were all selling more or less the same assortment of luchador masks, velvet elvii, glass swords, designer knockoffs, cheap sunglasses, hats, sombreros, serapes, melted bottles, earthquake detectors, t-shirts, leather goods, papercraft statues and Dios del Muerta knick-knacks. Still, with our redoubtable tour guides, we found ourselves at the best stalls with the least BS haggling and the best assortment of the good stuff. I found a really cool papercraft statue that was a cunning reproduction of Picasso's Don Quixote ink drawing - I have a print of that in my room, so it'll match.
My other goals were to have good tacos, and find a luchador mask appropriate for my new career as El Pulpo Oro Magnifico ("The Magnificent Golden Octopus") - both of which we accomplished without much fuss. The prices in the drugstores are not cheap, however, so I didn't fill my prescription at bargain-basement prices. In fact, the only advantage is, I suppose, that you don't need a prescription at all. No one even thought to ask, they just named a price and comparison shopping between drugstores showed that the price was wildly different from shop to shop - but always usurious.
We had killer tacos, three for a dollar, at an off-the-beaten-path stand away from the main tourist drag. We got tall, cold glass bottles of Mexican Coca-Cola, which is made with real cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. It makes a remarkable difference - and lunch all together was $2. We were accosted by an angry man shouting anti-American insults at us, but collectively we were more baffled than upset.
We made our way back over the border and picked up churros to gnaw on while we cleared customs, who waved us through without a glance. We got dinner at a place in San Diego called "The Linkery" that hand-makes various gourmet sausages and brews cask-treated ales. I mustered my willpower to skip the ale, but enjoyed a delicious link with pork, vanilla, cinnamon, fennel, and some other spices - and I only offended the waitress once!
The long drive home was punctuated with story-telling amongst us, but I'm afraid I raved about pirates quite a bit. I might know too much about pirates.
So now I've been to Tijuana. I don't know that I need to go back, but I'm glad I went. And of course, when I'm a famous luchador, I'll probably have matches there all the time!