download (1)You know you are getting close to the Zona Roja or Red Zone in English. The red light district in Tijuana. The people start to become harder and rougher. The buildings like the people are in a shape of less maintenance and more about getting through the daily struggle of surviving. This isn’t the tourist loop on Avenida Revolucion, this is the real and the rough and its going to hit you in the face.

You first enter the true Zona when you turn into the Alley as its called by the frequent visitors. There are two options to enter but both lead down a rabbit hole of madness and delights. You will be hit immediately by a wall of sound. Mostly Nortena music blasted at levels that make jet landings reasonable. The closest example to Nortena would be German Polka music.

If you enter at night you will be bathed in a red light that is coming from all the signs in red above you. It changes the faces of those you encounter into some sort of hellish caricature of themselves. What was once a harmless slim ally girl freelancer suddenly becomes a succubus reaching out for you as they attempt to get your attention. The constant shh shh sound they make to get your attention to look some sort of soft demon sound.

The touts telling you in several languages about pretty girls and beer just waiting for your enjoyment as you navigate among them. Each desperate to lead you into a den of sin designed to fulfill your pleasure for only a small fee and maybe the price of your soul.

The damned that walk the streets begging. Reach out and pleading for money. Only .25 cents to get a bite to eat. Only your spare change to make it through the night. The heartless walk past with the vacant look in their eyes. Either knowing they are damned themselves or beyond seeing those that have fallen so far.

Your destination doesn’t matter once you make your choice of whatever hell you enter. Your are there and it isn’t to save the souls of those you encounter. You are one of them now. Maybe the fringe dweller looking in only sampling the delights on the side but eventually you will be hooked. A frequent regular enticed by it all.

Welcome to the Zona. Hell isn’t a bad place to be.