Friday, May 11, 2007

day ten: market, beetles, mambo cafe

I am so glad I went right to bed after supper. A bunch of people stayed out late and came in very loudly; Christiane yelled at them in class, and a lot of people are annoyed. What a mess.
After classes, Anne, Will, and I went to the market hoping to see more textiles for our research. We had tacos at the same stand again, the Loncheria de Rubi, and then went upstairs where there were supposed to be clothing stores, but most of them were closed.The one store open was large, but mostly filled with the usual touristy things, but while Will was buying a duffle bag I found a scarf of the traditional sort the elderly women here wear. When I asked the price, I opened a real can of worms - the guy was determined to sell it to me. The first price was 2500 pesos - around $250 American - but the student price was 1900, and the Canadian student price was 1600. I really wasn´t going to buy it under any circumstances, but the price went down to 1300, then 1000, and as we were escaping he was offering 850. I need to cultivate that "I have no money on me and wouldn´t buy it anyway" expression, it seems to do wonders for prices.
We continued on and saw a few more small stores before we met someone Will recognized - one of the twenty-odd hammock merchants who had decided that Will was in desperate need of a hammock. This particular guy had been helpful, giving him directions and so on, so we went with him to see his store, and I´ve very glad we did - it was really fun. He had a tank full of makech beetles, which are large junebug sort of beetles that people glue rhinestones to and sell as moving jewelry. He let me take pictures and even put some on Will for pictures, which was pretty great. He likes Will a lot - he gave him a sample shot of five different liquors (Will bought two bottles and a chess set, and kind of weaved his way around for the rest of the afternoon).
On the way back to the hotel we stopped for palettas, the fruit juice popsicles around here, which is the perfect way to end an afternoon in Mexico.
When we got back, Anne left to do errands and I went with Mitch, Steve and Heather to El Trapiche, where the menu is awesome, the portions are large, the prices are cheap and the waiters are always laughing at us. Steve and Heather had chicken fajitas, Mitch had cochitas de puerco (another variation on the pork taco thing, but this one comes from pork chops rather than wherever the rest come from), and I had a torta brava. A torta is a sandwich, and brava apparently means with bacon and avacado and cheese and beans and mushrooms and other yummy things. It was lovely but I could barely finish it. I also tried some guacamole Mitch ordered, and once again El Trapiche takes first prize. I heart that restaurant.
(the standard condiments: lime, salsa verde, some sort of creepy red salsa that tastes like smoke, and pico de gallo.)

When I got back I had a couple minutes to join Anne at the Internet Pirate´s cafe to place a surprise Skype call to Mom for Mother´s Day; it was Mother´s Day in Mexico, anyway, and I wasn´t sure I´d be able to call on the actual day, as we travel that day.
I got back just in time to go with a large group of people to Carlos´apartment for a sort of pre-clubbing party, party here taking the meaning of sitting around with convenience store booze and listening to Carlos´iPod on random (there is a surprising amount of Dream Theater and metal covers of Abba on there). The alcohol here is really cheap; Mitch, the sole smoker on our trip, bought a pack of cigarettes, two bottles of water, and an eight pack of Sol beer for under $10.
Finally we went up to the Mambo Cafe. I hadn´t really been sure I wanted to go - we had class the next morning, it sucks being hung over in this climate, etcetera - but once I was there I was glad I went. It was a fairly large club, and the cover (70 pesos for women, 140 for men) included all you could drink (some people were getting into trouble trying to drink their money´s worth of their cover charge), but the best was the music. About half the time, the music was a live band with a few guitars, two singers, a congo drum player, and a three man brass section, and they were just amazing. When they were on break they played recorded mambo music.
I sat around taking in it for a bit, but soon I was dancing - what a good time. I wish Sean had been there, he would have loved it...
Anne and I headed out at about 2 am, an hour before the club closed, but early enough that we could get some sleep for class and also get a cab easily. It took about a half hour to wake up the doorman to let us into the Flamingo, though.


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