Daniel Hernandez’s Spring Break of 2000 started off with a
28-hour Greyhound bus ride to San Diego. That’s right, several
dozen passengers, a handful crying babies, countless fragrances of
body odor, one toilet and 28 hours leading to a trip that was
compiled completely of unfortunate situations.
“My friend and I spontaneously left for San Diego to see a
friend who moved there and because we thought it would be a good
place to enjoy our break,” said Hernandez, who is a senior majoring
in English. “We had very little money so our activities were pretty
Tijuana offered a solution to their financial insecurity.
Hernandez and three of his friends ventured down to Mexico to
participate in what they thought would be a hedonistic utopia of
booze and girls.
They thought wrong.
Due to the limited number of schools that shared Spring Break
with CSU, Tijuana was barren of rowdy and intoxicated youths. Only
the sounds of trendy music pumping from empty clubs and dirty pools
of stagnant liquids filled the streets.
“We felt like the kings of TJ,” Hernandez said. “Every club had
people out front desperately trying to entice us inside with talk
of drink specials and beautiful women.”
The monetary limitations of the group led them elsewhere
however, and they chose to begin drinking in a bar located in the
basement of a dilapidated hotel paying $5 for unlimited drinks.
“I remember the bartender serving us a tray of tequila shots
that he poured out of an open milk jug…. That stuff messed my
whole world up,” Hernandez said. “We think that the bar made their
own tequila and that they didn’t filter out the hallucinogenic
chemicals from the cactus they used. It was like ‘Fear and Loathing
Hernandez and his friends wandered around the streets spouting
off nonsense to anyone who had the misfortune to cross their paths.
In their altered state, they passed away the entire evening,
visiting countless strip clubs and a pharmacy.
When the group finally managed to stumble their way back to the
border, crossing back into the states proved to be a challenge for
Hernandez. Being the only Hispanic man among his friends, his
nationality was the only one in question regarding re-entry.
“Apparently this man sat in a booth at the border and asked
everyone who walked by what their nationality was. You’re supposed
to just say ‘American’ and walk right on by. When my turn came, my
brain was in no condition for verbalization. Instead of announcing
my nationality, I presented the guy with my library card that I
pulled from my wallet. He kept on asking me where I was from and I
kept on giving him random stuff from my pockets, none of which
worked as a form of ID,” Hernandez said. “He finally let me go
because all my friends told the guy that I was impaired from the
night’s festivities. When I walked through the gate I noticed that
some of the Border Patrol officers were laughing at my
To make matters worse, Hernandez and his friends found that they
had missed the last train back to San Diego. With no money for a
cab-ride, the group began wandering aimlessly around the
“I got caught by a cleaning crew trying to take a ‘deuce’
between two vending machines at a Wal-Mart. They were
understandably both confused and unhappy with me and they called
security,” Hernandez said.
The guard continually tried to get the boys moving but every
time he turned away they would change locations and go to sleep.
Finally, the guard got fed up and called in the big boys.
“And then came the … Border Patrol,” Hernandez said. “They got
us off the parking lot and started yelling this crazy banter of
Spanish vulgarities. One of my friends got handcuffed and then he
started screaming crazy things right back at them like, ‘I’m an
American and a United States Marine. I was sure we were all going
But salvation arrived in the form of a beat-up Pontiac when one
of Hernandez’s desperate phone messages made it to the ear of a
friend in San Diego who drove down and helped negotiate the release
of his friends.
“We were so lucky not to end up stranded in the Border jail,”
Hernandez said. “This break I think I’d rather try Cancun.”