Monday, August 08, 2011

more tidbits

I thought you might like to look over my shoulder at some short passages in my blogger’s notebook.

I have always loved masks.  That is probably one reason I enjoyed Halloween as a child -- and that I now like Mexico.

Mexico is a land of metaphorical and material masks.  We all know La Paz’s take on why Mexicans wear their daily cultural masks. 

But Mexico is also a land of physical masks.  Most of them from the various Indian cultures.  Some are stunning.  Others grotesque.  But they are always interesting.

Pátzcuaro’s cultural center has an extensive collection of masks from the surrounding Mexican states.  The fellow at the top of this post caught my attention with his complete look of surprise.  The mouth tells it all.

On Thursday, I certainly did not need a mask.  I had lunch with fellow blogger Don Cuevas, his wife, and a friend of theirs, Ron, a former blogger.  The Don and Doña were in the midst of preparing for a trip.  But they took time out of their schedule to have lunch with me at a seafood restaurant in Pátzcuaro.

I have my own test for seafood restaurants.  I usually order camarones a la diabla -- shrimp in a spicy sauce.  This restaurant prepared it quite differently than I am accustomed in Jalisco eateries.  Instead of a clear sauce, this sauce had either flour or cheese added.  The spice was just right, the shrimp was fresh, and the base was a nice change.

What was even better was the conversation.  I had a good idea who Don Cuevas was from his blog.  But I found out a lot more in person.  Both of us tend to be a bit guarded in our writing.  In person, though, we let our conversation run free.

And I suppose I felt comfortable doing that because the two of us not only read each other’s blogs, we also occasionally email one another about interesting topics.  Such as, my blog typos.

I look forward to seeing them again when life is a little less hectic.

Thinking of food leads me to my two next shorts.

The first is a food byproduct.  On Friday I walked through the Museum of Popular Art -- based in the school that Don Vasco built for his priests and the young Indians.  I will do a full post on that visit at some point.

But one of the things I found most interesting was the floor in one of the rooms.  It looks like a rustic carpet. 

The gray portion is a stone similar to slate, laid in strips.  But the ivory pieces that look as if they have been carved are natural.  They are the ankle joints of cows.  Thousands of them.

Nature can sometimes present the best building materials.

I have been waiting about three years to write this post.  If you have followed Felipe Zapata’s writings, you know that his wife bakes goods and sells them on the weekend in front of her sister’s coffee shop.

I am not big on sweets.  But Felipe once mentioned his wife has a special baked item that immediately caught my attention.  Cornbread with jalape

On Friday, he let me know that four cornbread muffins were waiting for me.  They look delicious.  And they even tasted better than they look.  I confess that I was longing for a bowl of Texas chili to accompany them.  But they were fine on their own.

On Friday while having lunch (chicken stuffed with corn fungus) on the grand plaza, I ran into two friends from Melaque -- Ed and his wife Roxanne.  They were here for the week staying with friends in Erongarícuaro -- a lakeside village.  They invited me out for Sunday brunch and for a walk through the local fair.

I arrived a little early and scouted out the plaza because I am to have Lunch with Jennifer Rose there on Monday.  When I stopped, I was amazed at the crowds.  There were long lines of people on both sides of the square.

While snapping this shot, the reason for the lines hit me.  It is election day.  And people were out to vote for the PRD -- the country’s leftist party.

And I hope you will pardon me for my little political joke.  The bust is of
Lázaro Cárdenas -- the founder of the PRI.  But also the hero of the Mexican left.  Left enough that he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize by a nation that no longer exists.

But I was not in town to report on politics.  The brunch I had been invited to was for the 90th birthday of a local resident.  Louis was born in Spain.  But he has lived almost everywhere.  And done even more.

He is now ensconced in
Erongarícuaro in a house that has great views of Lake Pátzcuaro.  Even though my friends told me Louis looked great for being 90, I was taken aback when I met him.  He looks younger than many people I know in their early 70s.

And I must apologize for the photograph.  It makes him look older than he appears in person.  But then I realized why.  Photographs cannot capture his activity.  The sparkle in his eye.  The way he moves quickly from place to place.

When he finished opening his presents, he cooked brunch for all nine of us.  And insisted on doing the cleaning up.

At the end of the month, he has a starring role in The Importance of Being Earnest.  I intend to have a front row seat.  I will tell you a little more about his part then.

So much for my complaint about the lack of night culture.


Felipe Zapata said...

You're not big on sweets, and you rarely drink coffee. You call that living?

John Calypso said...

Gotta side with Felipe on his points.

Tafreeburn said...

i don`t exactly see you as being guarded in your writing ;-) enjoyed this post. those muffins do look great! and senor louis (or is it luis?) cetainly looks great for his age, even if the picture does not do him justice.  he must be in great shape to have cooked for 9 people and done the cleaning too.   

tancho said...

Sra Zapata makes a delicious banana bread that is simply delicious with a cup of coffee, but if you don't enjoy either , than the rest of us have more....thank you!

Steve Cotton said...

But I do slip on both -- now and then.

Steve Cotton said...

I make up for it in grease and salt.

Steve Cotton said...

I can hardly wait to see him in the play.  He was born in Catalan where Luis takes the French Louis.  His poster, of course, is "Luis."

Steve Cotton said...

For her, I would sacrifice.

Don Cuevas said...

"have lunch with me at a seafood restaurant in Pátzcuaro."

That was Mariscos La Güera , Steve. It was fun. We have been to more Mexican seafood restaurants in less than a week then ever.

Twice to Mariscos La Güera and twice to LangoStiko's, in Morelia.

Saludos, Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

Thus the photograph.