In Celebration of the forthcoming holiday, Cino De Mayo….
So after boot camp, which was a big heaping helping of no-fun, you further your ass-kicking abilities by going to combat training, where you continue to hone your skills at becoming an efficient killing machine. Ok, so I never killed anyone – but I could tell you a million ways that I could kill something if I ever had to….
Well, during my short stint in Marine Combat Training was where I really had my first revelation to being out on my own and partying my ass off. For many people, this comes at a time when they are away for college and live in the dorm, or when they get their first apartment with their buddies, but not me. As a matter of fact, the combat training part of the Marines is pretty bogus as far as partying time is goes; we only got the weekends off, and even then you weren’t supposed to go anywhere too far away from base.
So one weekend my pals and I were sitting around considering what the hell to do with ourselves. I can’t remember what it is we exactly decided to do, but it must have been something semi-cool because I do remember that we found ourselves waiting for the bus to get off-base. Yeah that’s right, I said the bus. The loser cruiser, as it was so often deemed, but hell, none of us youngsters had a car with us on base so soon after getting out of boot camp. It was a real drag.
Anyway, we were sitting at the bus stop waiting for the loser cruiser to arrive when this little car slows down and pulls over to the side of the road and then started backing up towards us. It was two older marines who had obviously been in for a while. Thinking we were probably going to get harassed by these guys, I was ready to just forget the whole thing.
The passenger rolls down the window and asked, “Where you guys goin?” To which we replied, “Just going into town”.
“You guys want to go to Tijuana?” We just kind of looked at each other and shrugged.
“When you coming back?” my friend asked.
“Tonight or tomorrow,” he said. “Don’t worry, you’ll be back in time for roll call.”
“Sure we’ll go,” my buddy replied, and we jumped in the car.
Now kids, don’t try this at home. When two complete strangers roll up and ask you to go to Mexico with them, Tijuana of all places – the Mos Eisley of Mexico, don’t just hop in the car and hope for the best. Odds are you’re not getting out of it alive.
I couldn’t believe we were going to TJ. I had never been there before, and as we were driving, the two older marines told us tales of 2 for 1 Mexican beers, clubs packed with women, hookers and donkeys, and a disregard for the legal drinking age. Sounded like nirvana if you ask me, we were stoked!
After a long drive to the border, we finally arrived at our destination. We parked the car on the US side of the border and went across on foot because “It will be a lot easier than driving the car back through the border on our way back,” the two guys explained. They must have done this a few times before.
We crossed the border and were immediately bombarded by taxi cab drivers and little kids selling Chicklets, hand woven blankets, and giant ceramic sculptures of hamburgers. We weaved our way though the throng and finally made it past all of the people, sliding by all the cab drivers - skipping the cab ride to the clubs, because apparently they were easy to get to on foot. The two marines then led us to some poorly lit back streets explaining that this was the best way to get to the heart of TJ and to the clubs on Revolution Street. Aye carumba, I was just waiting for one of these guys to make a move on me, or even some crazed Mexican bandito to come jumping out from nowhere to mug us.
But we pulled though it. Through the back alleys and secret places of Tijuana and out onto the brightly lit Revolucion Street. If you’ve never been there, Revolution is quite the party. Clubs line the streets on both sides, while dance music bumps out the doors and balconies to mingle with the pounding rhythms spewed forth from neighboring nightclubs.
We proceeded past most of them and went right to Red Square, a club toward the end of the strip where social deviants hung out. Our two tour guides had explained to us that this was the cool place to go – meaning that they played cool music and not the same old club crap you hear in all the other places. Fine by me, just get me there already, I was getting thirsty.
We walked in the place, and it was pretty cool I must say. There was a communist Russian theme going on in there, you know the good ‘ol USSR, a real place for rebels such as ourselves go to hang out. As far as square footage went, it was pretty small, but it was two, maybe three stories tall inside, and there were people hanging out in balconies above the main floor moving their heads to the thundering music. I can’t remember what was playing. I think It like Nine Inch Nails or something like that. You know, music wannabe rebels listen to.
We took a table toward the back. One of my friends took a seat with me while the other fellas went up to the bar to get the beers. Some guy did a stage dive – or really it was more of a balcony dive – from one of the upper levels and smashed into a giant speaker on the way down. It was good stuff.
Well, we were just hanging out shooting the breeze, when suddenly this guy a few feet away from us gets thrown into a table and chairs Clint Eastwood style by some huge guy who looked really pissed off. The big guy must have been pretty upset, because he walked right over to that poor sucker and smashed him over the head with a chair like it was a professional wrestling match. It was awesome.
All hell started breaking loose in Red Square. Fists were flying, people were running around, the guy that got smashed over the head was bleeding, and we were still sitting at the table in disbelief with eyes as wide as a kid who had just caught his parents going at it hot and heavy.
Then one of the older marines that had brought us there came back running to the table and told us we had to get the hell out of there. And get the hell out of there we did. We collected our beers and headed for the door, never looking back. Mexican police are not known for their understanding. Unfortunately Red Square closed down some time later. I guess it had a reputation for being quite the rough joint. Red Square? Yeah, I partied there.