When I was kid, my family visited some distant relatives down in Garden Grove California. This was sometime in the mid 1970’s, and I was probably around 11 or 12 years old. During our stay, we took a day trip down to Tijuana Mexico. I had never been to Mexico before. It was an interesting place like nothing I had seen before. The street was filled with small shops, both indoor and outdoor. They had all kinds of stuff. I remember seeing lots of ceramics, liquor, woven blankets, and leather goods. I also remember seeing lots of bladed weapons including switchblades which I knew were illegal in the United States.
We knew better than to drink the water there, or risk Montezuma’s Revenge. So we bought cans of Coke at one of the little stores and drank those.
My dad who loved to dicker, set about to negotiate with one of the store guys over a wrought iron stand, and a bunch of ceramic flower pots. I remember them haggling for about 45 minutes over the stuff, but it probably wasn’t really that long. Some place or other, I bought a small ceramic skull that I thought was cool. Both my brother and I bought little switchblade keychains. They weren’t actually sharp, but we thought they were cool. My dad bought some tequila at one place after the guy assured my dad that he could take it back to the US with no problems.
There was a line of cars at the border going back to the United States. Mexicans lined the street trying to sell things to the people in their cars. One last chances to sell stuff to the Americans befored they left Mexico. I think we bought a ceramic elephant or something from one of the people along the road there.
At the border, when the guy asked if my dad had any alcohol, my dad said yes. For some reason, we weren’t allowed to bring it back to the United States. My memory is a bit hazy on this part. I can’t remember if we went back into town, and the guy refused to refund my dad’s money, or if it happened right at the border stop. I do remember my dad being angry and feeling ripped off. He opened the bottle and poured the liquor on the ground. Maybe the laws, or restrictions were different then. I don’t know. I have brought various rums and things back to the US from the Caribbean with no problem. Maybe it wasn’t tequila, but some other liquor that was restricted. I don’t know. It was thirty years ago, and I was a kid.
I have never been to any place quite like Tijuana. I would would like to go back to Tijuana Mexico one of these days to see what it is like now. I have only been back to Mexico once, and that was to Cozumel. I may try one of the cruises that go down the coast of Mexico on the Pacific side. But none of those places would be anything like Tijuana. But then Tijuana may not be like Tijuana that I remember.