CANADA & U.S. PHOTO SERIES PT10
SAN DIEGO & TIJUANA
Myself and Ryan made our way to San Diego as the last leg of our West Coast trip. After a recommendation we checked into Hostel CAT which turned out to be the worst and best hostel all in one.
MY DEBIT CARD WAS GONE!
I had heard all about it being a party hostel and seeing as I had done nothing but party since I arrived here I thought better than to change a habit of a lifetime.
WHERE IS TIJUANA?
Quite often I don’t care if a place is a bit shabby, just as long as it’s got the atmosphere to make up for it. That’s exactly what I noticed when I arrived. The hostel is just a huge warehouse located within the industrial area of downtown San Diego. Why would anyone stay here? Well first thing is, it’s cheap! This was mainly as a result of the huge 44 bed dorm at the back of the warehouse. Secondly the facilities were basic and the communal area was 3 sofas taken in from the street. The Air-con was operated by opening the large roller door of the warehouse which let in a hot and humid breeze from the hot streets of San Diego.
Hostel Cat has since closed and moved to Vegas.
That being said there are few other hostels who could live up to the social aspect and community vibe that this one offered. Everyone knew each other and it was here I met some of my best friends of the trip. Most notably John who I am still best friends with to this day!
Most hostels offer a wide range of trips whether it be to the beach, a walking tour of the city or something a little bit different. Well, not Hostel CAT. Hostel Cat offers guests a night out in Tijuana twice a week. Now if anyone knows about Tijuana you’ll have probably heard it isn’t known as the safest place but not one to let a new opportunity pass me by I signed up instantly!
There was 20 of us going and we were told my the hostel manager that its always about safety in numbers. Its quite easy to get to Tijuana, trains leave fairly often from the city or you can get a taxi to the border. Once across the border (oh yes bring your passport and look after it with your life) you will be right in the thick of it there. Having been drinking for most of the day we made our first mistake and stopped off at a stall for a burrito with what could be anything inside.
We were being led by one of the workers from the hostel and the first stop was a strip club. Now the last place I or any of us wanted to go in Tijuana was a strippers joint. It was clearly not legit and run by the cartels, I couldn’t even tell you what was going on in this place but we soon found out we were here because the drink was cheap.
‘Just give the ladies the odd dollar and you won’t have to worry”
What a way to fill you with confidence. But before we knew it, we were getting the doctors chair and every one of us were beyond saving.
Before running onto the next bar I asked Aaron to head out with me to an ATM and keep an eye on things – the hostel always said to never walk out alone and just as well! We took a quick taxi to the nearest ATM which was inside a secure one of those ATM shops. Within 2 minutes I was joined by a random who was using the ATM beside me. After a few unsuccessful attempts I made the drunken mistake of asking a random local from Tijuana at 2 in the morning if he could help me use the ATM. Sounds ridiculously stupid when I say that!
So I press cancel and out comes the card, he takes it out and puts it back in and I enter my pin. I have no idea how I expected him to fix it but I let it go and see what happens. He’s right in front of me, so it’s not as if he is going to take my card without him noticing….wrong.
The fella continued to use the ATM beside me but my card still didn’t want to work so I cancelled the transaction and took it out. But I noticed something. My card was yellow but this one had a faint green line down it, definitely not mine!
I have never sobered up as quickly in my life and instantly came to my sense. I knew exactly what had happened and turned to him quickly and demanded my card. Probably not the best thing to do as the majority of people (criminals or not) carry a weapon on them. He took what was around 10-15 credit cards out of his pocket and handed me mine back. All of a sudden I didn’t need to use the ATM and made a beeline back to the taxi.
Having told Aaron what happened he sensed something was up as our driver was talking to the taxi of the fella who tried to rob me. I was lucky that I noticed, if I hadn’t it may well have signalled the end of my trip.
- Have you ever been robbed or been close to it?
- Have you ben to Tijuana, what was your experience like?
Let me know in the comments below . . .