Last Sunday, as I lamented waiting until the day before my week’s worth of lesson plans were due to actually do them, I needed a taco break. Finding the right balance between getting to explore my new location and do a good job at a quite demanding work load makes procrastination a necessary part of life. I procrastinate to spend hours learning Spanish phrases from the cousins who own the shop down the street. I procrastinate to wander in the Friday-only market to get the week’s fruits and vegetables and try out my new phrases.
On Sunday, I really was going to just have a ceviche tostada and then come right home and finish. I was not at all expecting an evening of music and magic.
I had been to this tostada stand once before. The people were friendly; the son lived in Texas for a while and speaks a little English. Since the first three questions you are likely to hear in either Spanish or English are respectively, “what’s your name?”, “are you married?”, and “how many kids do you have?”, I was able to establish quite quickly that he has nine kids by four different women.
In comes Roman, who I at first took for a potentially homeless drunk using his guitar to coerce pesos out of gringos hands. (Ok, so travelling can make you a little jaded at times.) When he called over to me, my first response was to resist the urge to roll my eyes. I decided to play nice, and it was a damn good choice.
Roman speaks a little English, more than most I’ve met, and is a full time musician, not homeless, although probably rather sauced at most times. Playing the worst guitar I’ve ever seen in my life, he sang a few English songs, pretty darn well, and all the people working started singing along. We chatted some more and I mentioned that I sing and write a bit. He handed over the guitar graciously, and without any of that Nashville worry that it might be taking the spotlight from him. The strings were loose, the neck was held on by a wood screw, and the low E string (extremely important in how I play) hardly stayed in tune for more than one verse. But they loved the song anyway.
A rather somber looking gent at the end of the stand had a beer sent over to me. Roman and I kept chatting and handing the guitar back and forth for a song, and people kept sending over rounds. The somber man invited us across the street for some tequila. At this point I got a little leery, but the waiter and Roman both assured that it was a genuine and unmotivated by unsavory intentions invitation.
It turns out the Somber Man, Pancho, is the owner of the tostada stand, as well as a very expensive and nice club across the street. He is also the brother of the mayor of Tlaquepaque, and he and Roman have been best friends for as long as I’ve been alive.
So we sang more songs, and drank more tequila. The people here are insanely proud of their tequila. It is nothing like Tequila you would drink at a bar in the states. It is smooth as butter, rich, tasty, and doesn’t resemble rubbing alcohol going down. A small glass is sipped with a plate of salt and a bowl of limes. Salt and lime the hand, sip, suck the hand, enjoy. While my compadres gracefully sipped and salted, I managed to get lime juice all over my pants, and couldn’t seem to figure out which hand to salt and which to hold the glass.
So on to another song.
This is how to get lost in Mexico on a Sunday. Go out for tostadas at 3, and come home liquored up at 10. Not too bad for a Sunday’s work.
Tonight Pancho invited me to play music at his 50-something birthday party. I’ll be the token gringa, sing pretty, and enjoy some fine company. But, I’m bringing my guitar this time.
3 Comments so far
Leave a comment