1. You got lost in Tijuana in a 32-foot motorhome towing Herbie, a 2WD, 1969 yellow VW Bug convertible. Sunset loomed on the horizon. GPS had yet to reach the general public. Miraculously, you emerged from the labyrinth before nightfall and rolled into the RV Resort intact. Your dad immediately set out for Tequila.
2. You were released, un-supervised, onto feral beaches where off-road vehicles of every manifestation threatened to reduce your sandcastle to tread-marks.
3. You fled to the churning Pacific where you were faced with even greater perils. Frigid water welled up from deep water canyons. Tumultuous rip currents funneled seaward. You staggered back to the RV defeated, but still alive. Alas, recent rains had swelled the Tijuana river, spilling a morass of detritus and untreated sewage — a bacteria infested soup ferried to your stretch of the coast by the California Current. For the remainder of the vacation, you were afflicted with a cornucopia of infections.
4. They shelled out a stack of pesos for you to mount a barn-sour horse that bolted for the stables the second you climbed into the saddle.
5. You were stuffed in the back seat and taken on a dirt road exploration. Emboldened by the impromptu Off-road Expo on the beach, your father braved a steep rocky descent to a deserted beach where deep sand swallowed Herbie. Luckily, a passing caravan of rugged Jeeps hauled you out with a winch.
6. Federales raided your motorhome. Ok, “raid” is a strong word; they were performing a routine search for illegal contraband at an established checkpoint, but you were only ten and those dudes had gats.
7. You were abandoned at a Pemex somewhere south of Rosarito. In the tumult of the border crossing, wrong turns, and hyperactive children, your presence was overlooked at a fuel stop. A toothless gas station fed you convenient store churros as you stewed in paranoia.
8. Your father jumped the center divider and performed a screeching daredevil u-turn on Highway 1. You were on the way back from a day trip to Ensenada when Herbie began to backfire in rapid succession. It was necessary to pass the RV park and backtrack a few kilometers in order to access the entrance. But Herbie’s condition was terminal, and your dad was questionably sober. Hadn’t he ducked into Hussong’s back in Ensenada? You made it back to the RV before the engine seized, but WTF?!
9. They lectured you incessantly about not drinking the water, then overlooked the non-potable ice in your virgin piña colada. That evening, you languished in rectal spasms.
10. In general, they taught you that common sense is relative to geographical location. This warped point of view will stalk you into adulthood. Especially in places like Kuta and Bangkok.