Perhaps my favorite country is Mexico. I had a chance to live there as part of a year abroad during undergrad. Monterrey, Mexico ended up being perhaps a defining year in my life with amazing tales of adventure, partying, and friends.
I’ll always remember our first night in Monterrey. My Canadian friends and I had met some Brazilians at the local 7-11. After striking up a conversation, they invited us to go out that same night to a club. Even though we didn’t know them, we thought it might be fun to throw caution to the wind – something we did every day for the entire year – and see what happens.
They picked us up on Brazilian time (where basically 9pm meant 10:30pm). The club at the time was called Cinemabar. It was amazing. Instead of an orderly line, it was a mob of incredibly hot girls and guys yelling at the bouncers to let them in. For some reason, as became common that year, the bouncers cleared a way through the mob for all of us to get in. We had a great time and alcohol was abundant.
The night finished off with a joint in Centrito called “Tacos del Julio”. To date, these are the best tacos I have ever had in my life, and they were so delicious that within a year, you could find them all over the place and they eventually expanded to some places in the USA. I highly recommend them if you’re ever in Monterrey. You can’t find their version of tacos anywhere else in Mexico – they serve piratas, gringas and campechanas. I wasn’t used to spicy food so let’s just say their salsa verde scorched my sensitive Canadian mouth.
The way home was when things got fun. One of our new Brazilian friends apparently had always dreamed of being an F-1 race car driver and had gone so far as to get some training. We packed into his Jeep Cherokee to get home. He started driving as though he were in a race, driving at break neck speeds around roundabouts and side streets…until the police started chasing us!
Instead of pulling us over, he decided to try to lose them. A V8 Cherokee versus a bunch of Nissan Sentras (or Tsurus as they call them there). We actually started getting away for a while until our F-1 Brazilian decided to pull into a side street and shut off the lights in an attempt to lose them.
I remember looking up and seeing the sky flooded with blue lights. There must have been ten police cars that had surrounded our car. While our new friends tried to talk their way out of being arrested by trying to pay their way out of the situation and pleading that it was their parents’ car so please be nice, me and my Canadian friends were surprisingly at ease. We stuck to speaking English only and the police didn’t seem to bother. Our friend got hauled off to jail, his Jeep was towed, and there we found ourselves at 3am in the middle of a city with no transportation and no idea how to get home.
This was one of the most memorable nights for me that year because it happened the same day we arrived. If anything, it set the tone for the rest of the year and forged our friendship with these new Brazilians while strengthening our existing friendship amongst one another.
For me, Mexico will also feel like home. And every time I wear a Mexico t-shirt, I feel like I’m back there.
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