Notes from Mexico Trip- Johnny Monsarrat Mexico Trip

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 17TH, 1999 – CHIAPAS (CONT.)

I say goodnight and go to get a real dinner. There's a rock band just off the square, where the Santa house is, left of the church. There's a huge crowd and a guy with a video camera channeling the video into a TV to the right of the stage. There's a fog machine & colored lights & a backdrop with some poor attempt at fingerpainting. It's more like upbeat folk music than rock music. The TV has a video "effect" of stop-motion, like a stroboscope.

There's the smell of cigarette smoke. The sound of the crowd talking. My legs ache from standing and I have to use the toilet badly. Lights from the street lamps give an uneven lighting to the square. It's quite dim here.

I go to watch a film at Na Bolom about the Zapatistas, but I missed it. Damn! A woman I sensed was a "suffering intellectual" sort of had a "pearls before swine" attitude. She said, "the people coming late probably thought 'oh well, Mexico time, I can arrive late'". I arrived only 15-20 late, just after a bunch of other people (also late) showed up.

Then dinner at Restaurante Normita. "Tostada": appetizer of fried taco crisp... like sand dollars witih "Queso", the feta cheese stuff I've seen a lot in Mexico. The restaurant's speakers are playing soft pop in English: The Beatles.

Sitting area is 20'x20' with six tables. Stucco of course, a few tapestries on the wall. 1/3 of the room is taken up by a small kitchen and a fridge for soda. Why is it whenever I ask "dos Sprite", I only get one? I guess they just want to serve 'em one at a time or something.

I order "papas fritos", kind of hoping that's French fries. It may not be. For the tostados, they serve 5 bowls of topping: hot peppers (green), green & seeds soup thing, red & seeds soup thing, the feta cheese, and some liquidy cheese thing. Now "Funkytown" is playing. Man, I love these tostados -- hot, but good. The green sauce is mild. The red stuff is probably just tomato paste.

Now "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" plays, in English. The hot pepper wedges are big: 1cm x 4cm. The guy brought me a 2nd Sprite well before I needed it. OK, I'm satisfied. ow ow ow ow hot hot hot hot. My mouth is burning up! The carbonated Sprite just tickles it without really helping.

I'm getting the "plato tipico coleto", sort of a typical smorgasborg: enslata, chorizo, longaniza, carne, costilla, pollo, guacamole y frijoles. Wow, I ordered french fries as an extra & it's really greasy. Oig! I'm taking my life into my own hands to eat this catsup. It's a red refillable plastic thing that sits on the table and is very greasy. Wait a second, is this squid or something? Yikes!

"Who Can It Be Now" plays (Men at Work, I believe). The beef is extremely hard and unappetizing. Ugh. What was I thinking, getting a "combo platter" of meats I won't be able to identify? I leave most of the meal alone, pay, and leave in disgust.

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