I had been in the restaurant before. My friend Purkey recommended the lasagna as the "second best in the world." Lasagna -- in a Mexican restaurant.
When I sat down, there was only one other patron. I had seen him before. Jogging. Walking around Melaque. Sitting in the same restaurant -- almost every evening. At his computer -- a very complex-looking instrument.
And always with an obvious intensity.
The guy had a presence -- a presence that did not invite intruders.
But I am not one to be stopped by obvious social cues.
So, I attempted to strike up a conversation. The responses were polite. Terse. Factual. With a British accent.
His bearing, conversation, and appearance spoke of a recent military past.
Words like "expedition" and "Russia" added their own exotic possibilities. I eliminated the more exotic simply because those people do not openly use such terms.
I then let the matter drop. And attacked my lasagna.
Then it hit me. I seemed to remember reading a blog about a Brit who was walking his way around the world. Due to bureaucratic issues, his trip had stalled in Russia -- and he was now in Melaque.
His name is Karl Bushby -- and he is the first Wikipedia entry I have met since coming to Mexico.
His full story is on his web site. Including an answer to the interesting question: Why Melaque?
And that story is fascinating. Walking around the world is not just a physical feat. It is a political feat.
He has already walked from the tip of South America, through North America, over the Bering Strait, and well into Russia. Current Russian visa requirements create barriers to making progress through Siberia.
When the dinner began, I thought I might have my own Graham Greene or Dashiell Hammett tale to tell.
But mine is better. I feel as if I had dinner with an Edwardian hero (such as T.E. Lawrence or Henry Morton Stanley) in a post-modern age.
And he is all the more remarkable for it.