Monday, November 24, 2008
The last few weeks back home have been kind of hectic, so it was time to take an actual vacation-vacation where I am not running from museums to nightclubs and back. At least for today. We slept late, or at least we tried to sleep late. The fanged timeshare jackals kept calling to “confirm” our attendance at the welcome breakfast to which I had repeatedly told them “NO”.
I listen to people talk for a living. The last thing I want to do is listen to a presentation. I cannot be lured with false promises and free bacon. I don’t care if the jackals wrap cute boys in crispy bacon and let me eat it off of their quivering young bodies.
Speaking of bacon, we ordered room service and were surprised by the quality of the food – even if there were a few quirks.
The Pepito de arrachera (skirt steak), my favorite Mexican sandwich, definitely delivered (although I will confess, La Finisterra’s in Cabo had a much more tender steak).
The steak in the fajitas was fine. But the plates introduced what would become a theme – the little tortilla cups of surprise. Sometimes they hold side dishes, sometimes they hold condiments. Once they held some kind of cheese soufflé thing.
The flan was so good I didn’t want to share it, but finally gave it up. But what is up with the weird stewed white cherries here?
The time share jackals called like 4 more times to confirm this or that. I finally awoke from a nap and picked up the phone, “I came here for a quiet, relaxing vacation. I really wanted to buy a time share but now you've changed my mind.” We were going to stop for ice cream, but you kids were bad, so now you don't get any.
Monday night the resort held a “fiesta” for the American tourists. OK, this is normally the last place I would be caught dead at. Considering I love tacky tourist attractions like alligator farms or the world's biggest ball of string, I hate tourist activities. The belly of the beast here in Mexico is Senor Frogs. There are actually 2 Senor Frogs stores on the same block - they own this part of Mazatlan - it is like Pottersville. Actually it is like Americatown. Senor Frogs is made for people who want to travel to other countries without ever having to leave America.
On the other side of the coin are the people who say, "Be a traveler, not a tourist." It has become kind of cliche and comes to mind when I see things like those federales in black hoods waving their AK-47s around. Then it's time to holler "Soy tourista!"
I guess I am somewhere in the middle. I am not going to get my hair braided with shells and have some guy in a sombrero pour tequila in my mouth and spin me in circles. But I also don't hitch-hike or wear dreds, and I am very attached to flush toilets.
24-hour room service, in-room jacuzzis and WiFi are bonuses I would not turn down in the name of being a traveler. Unless they destroyed the local ecosystem or something. And then definitely not. Except for the flush toilets - I don't care what they do to the environment.
So back to the fiesta del timeshare... normally, not my thing. But I could smell the food and hear the talented mariachis and so, what the hell. If nothing else, there would be free beer and margaritas in there.
The buffet consisted of a row of about 6 pots, a giant hotplate and a dessert table. The pinto beans here are very pale, almost white. I lifted a spoonful of what looked to be only peppers from a big cauldron, and asked, “Frijoles?”
The guy said, “Pintos”
I misheard him and asked, bewildered, "Puntos?”
He misheard me and asked, shocked, “Putas??? NO!!!”
There was a very tender fish veracruz, and one of the best moles I have ever eaten -- dense, complex, and not the slightest bit bitter.
I spent most of my time hanging out with the old ladies at the dessert table who had an unusual array of tarts and fruits in syrup. There was one tart with no fruit, just a mysterious almost savory herb. One lady was very proud of her rice pudding, so I added a little of that to my already overbalanced plate.
Growing up Catholic in Los Angeles, I have attended my share of fiestas. I have always loved ballet folklorico. Maybe it’s because it is the land of its birth, maybe it’s because the market more competitive, but for whatever reason, the dancing and music was amazing. This 9-piece mariachi band OWNED that stage. The usual Guantanimera and Cielito Lindo were getting to me so I handed up a tip and a request. La Barca del Oro slowed everything to a standtill. People were disquieted by the sudden change of pace. Except for me. It was like a blue spotlight was shining just on me.
Yo ya me voy al puerto donde se halla
La barca de oro que debe conducirme.
Yo ya me voy solo vengo a despedirme,
Adios, mujer, adios, para siempre adios.
No volveran tus ojos a mirarme,
Ni tus oidos escucharan mi canto.
Voy a aumentar los mares con mi llanto,
Adios, mujer, adios, para siempre adios.
La Barca de Oro is one of the saddest songs in the world. I fucking love this song! Go rent Santa Sangre. Watch that movie and it will all make sense. Or you will be horrified and stop being my friend. It is kind of a controversial film.
Dancing with rusty machetes – what could go wrong?
And then they danced with machetes wearing blindfolds.
I decided to wander back early, and missed Bob being dragged up on stage for a competition with a host of other suckers, ummm, guests. The “competition” seems to have involved humiliating oneself with mime and Spanish rhymes while drinking copious amounts of tequila. Whatever it was exactly, Bob won. Now every time we walk through the lobby someone will yell to Bob, “The Winner!!!” like they are old drinking buddies.