Thursday, June 11, 2015

trading the bitter for the sweet

"Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet."

So said that old sentimentalist Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  But he said a lot of things -- some that led to liberty; more that led to national disasters.

But his little aphorism about patience seems correct to me.  At least, the variety of patience I have developed in Mexico.

By nature, I am not a patient man.  And that impatience has led me down several paths of tears over the years.  Mexico has knocked a lot of the rough edges off of that part of my personality.

Let me give you an example.  I am in search of a notario for a very specific project.  I need some assistance in forming an association.  That will mean plenty of dealings with the Mexican government.  It is not something I can do on my own.

A Mexican acquaintance is assisting me in finding the notario that will meet my needs.  His suggestion was to start with a local notario, even though the reviews of the services provided are not outstanding.

Yesterday morning, I drove to the equivalent of our county seat.  Even though I did not have an appointment, I was hoping for a brief conversation to determine the range of costs for the notario's service.

Apparently, no one else had an appointment, either.  Even though it was late in the morning, the notario had not yet arrived, and the waiting room was half full.  It turned out that none of us had an appointment.  Our names were simply added to a list -- as if we were waiting for late seating at Applebee's.

I did not mind the wait.  I knew no one in the room.  But I soon did.  A room filled with strangers is my natural element.  I soon knew why my fellow waiters were there.

After an hour, though, I was sorry I had not brought my Kindle with me.  But I was surprised how patient I was -- simply waiting and chatting along with everyone else.

After two hours, though, and without anyone having been served in the waiting room, I decided I could return at a later date.  In the past, I would have been muttering when I left.  Yesterday, I simply walked out the door humming.

I am not certain what lesson I learned.  Better planning would not have put me in any different position.  But I will be returning.  After all, the project has not gone away.

To top off the day, I joined Gary and Joyce (the owners of Rooster's and Papa Gallo's) along with one of their managers on a busman's holiday to La Manzanilla.  Even though I had just been at Magnolia's on Monday, we thought it would be great fun to have dinner there.

And good it was.  This time I tried the Steak Alex -- a grilled peppercorn flap steak with gorgonzola butter and a balsamic drizzle.  It was a home run.

Out table discussion was what makes Magnolia's a special place to eat.  The ambiance, of course, is a big draw.  But Alex and Leia have a flair for putting together creative combinations of dishes evidencing their knowledge of building on food tastes.  Their dinners and deserts are consistently superb.

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the fellow diners that hang out there.  I have come to know some of them quite well -- and primarily through the restaurant's dining room.  That is quite a compliment to any eatery.

And how does that relate to patience?  Well, I guess it doesn't.  But it certainly relates back to eating Rousseau's fruit.

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