In my neighbor, there lives some roosters.
Growing up in South Dakota, traditionally I thought that Roosters crowed at sunrise to let their owners know “Hey! It’s time to wake up!” Naturally, the first morning that I heard a rooster in the morning I thought to myself “Awesome! Now I don’t need to buy an alarm clock!” figuring I would just get an early start to the day. However, when I rolled over I realized it was only 3:30 in the morning! I didn’t need THAT early of a start to find my way around a new town. Silly confused chicken! However, after being continuously woken up by him and his friends several times a night for consecutive nights I started to think “No wonder they cut your friends up, sell them for cheap on the streets, and fry them at Chicken Fried Chicken!”
Then I felt bad, found some earplugs and started to sleep better.
Unfortunately for them, chicken is popular comida and is served in many different ways: fried, stewed, or baked. Generally, they pull it off the bone and eat it in a tortilla with chilies or other veggies.
A special dish that was served at my house after a good baseball game is Tlcuache. This is not a Spanish word, it is Nahuatl, one of the 62 native languages of Mexico. It means POSSUM. EEeeeek! I am pretty confident that Juan, my Mexican dad, caught it, cooked it, and ate it all up.
My family told me that they’ve tried turtle too. Lucky for my Nueva mascota, a baby turtle who found a home somewhere deep in my heart, I don’t eat animals. Fish and turtles are popular pets. I even met another girl on the top of Pico searching for a rock for her turtle’s tank and have made a play date with some turtles living with some good friends!
Dearest Dedo De Pies
Vegetarian dishes in Mexico are hard to come by, but it still is not very difficult to find other vegetarian stuff to eat. When I first broke it to my family that I don’t eat meat they replied just like everyone else “Well what do you eat then? Salads?” Ha ha, I love it. Licha does an amazing job and always has vegetarian options at the house and for dinner and having vegetarian options available in the house at all times. There always is a bunch of black frijoles and tortillas, which makes a yummy simple combo! Sometimes I eat them with fresh onion, tomato, lettuce, and cheese to add too. It is like having homemade been burritos complementing the main dish EVERY night at dinner!
My favorite things that Licha makes are empanadas de papa. They are tortillas with mashed potatoes, peppers, onions, and/or jalapeños inside, folded in half, and fried! She has also made them with meat inside or empanadas with cheese. Super yummy! And convenient. We easily took them to the beach with us and they make a great snack too, hot or cold! Licha is becoming interested in the Vegetarian lifestyle and has been eating a lot more vegetarian meals. It makes me excited :D
Here is a picture of Desaunar: Brunch
This past weekend we went to La Esperanza, where Licha’s parents live, for a fiesta. It was a celebration of the town, where everyone and their friends are invited for homemade food, live music, and Lots of fun! We started the day out with tamales de acote, or a type of corn, rice, and mole. Most other people had BBQ chicken too. In addition, I had my first of tequila! Wooof! Not too terrible! I also tried bean tamales and a new type of frijoles with rice in a tortilla! Yum!! Other things that were served include BBQ rabbit, Conejos, and a special sopa, soup, with lots of parts of vacas, cows, including intestines, stomach, and nerves. No Gracias!
The fiesta was super fun! I went with Licha, Javier, Charito, and my other new friend, Maddi de Ingletera!
Maddi y Yo
Maddi stayed with us at Licha’s house for a week while waiting for an apartment to open up. What a blast! Licha has 11 brothers and sisters who have kids, some of who have kids of their own, so at the fiesta not only were there at least 70 family members but also their friends and other friends of the family! We estimated about 200 people there constantly, some leaving while others were arriving! I got to see a lot of the family that I’ve met before and got to meet some new people too! A group of us jovenes went to the juegos mecanicos, lieterally translated= mechanic games, means= carnival rides! Woooooooooo! We went on one called the Kamacazi that flipped you upside down, similar to the ring of fire at the county fair. I can’t decide if I liked seeing the mountains upside down OR hearing Maddi say the f-word with an English accent more!~ We walked around and checked out all the vendors, bought some maracas and a fried banana with chocolate, crème, and sprinkles! Later we went to one of Licha’s sister’s houses and ate some more, yum! Later a bunch of went to a ‘dance’ which really was a concert! There was a band called Los angeles de Charly, Charlie’s Angels! It was really fun trying to learn how to dance to a new type of music with all of Javier’s cousins, aunts and uncles. The dance was similar to salsa but slower steps. We arrived back in Xalapa after 2 in the morning and I slept like a rock!
Earlier in the week I stayed out late a couple of other nights learning new music and dance moves. Thursday we went to a bar popular for extranjeros where one of our friends, Conrad and Bruno (also from England) were mixing electronic music. After that we went to another salsa club, Maddi’s first taste of salsa! I did a lot better this time and had a blast, but like my first experience, Maddi felt a little out of place. Friday night a bunch of us went to a new café with tiny benches and tables like in Japan. “Super Chido!” After that, we went to a club with electronic music where we could forget thinking about rules when we danced and really just got silly! It was fun to experience this new type of music for the first time in Mexico. Normally I don’t go out much so it’s been fun dancing all over the place and trying new drinks. I’ve found something called Clericot that I like a lot. It consists of red wine, fruit syrup, and diced apples floating on top! I’ve also tried a coconut daiquiri, un perla verde (green pearl), and a few different types of beer(Sol, Corona, Dos XX, Indigno, Victoria are a few populars) - not my favorite, but it’s what the majority of people drink here so I thought I’d give it a try.
When I go out to eat I usually grab Sandwiches, quesadillas, and crepes de tres queso at cafes in el centro. There’s one café called Hojas Verdes that has the best Hamberguesa de soya I have ever had!
Usually I drink a freshly squeezed juice or really yummy coffee. I’ve tried a couple different types of veggie-friendly Pizza that varies from stuffed crust cheese without sauce to pizza with celery, carrots, and/or mushrooms. All of which are very tasty. In addition, I’ve tried plenty of Pasta. Spaghetti with green sauce, red sauce, and lasagna too. Nom Nom Nom! In bigger restaurants, I’ve found it more difficult but searching a new menu for vegetarian options is never easy, and searching a new menu in Spanish is a whole other adventure.
Just like searching menus, taking a taxi is always in adventure. I dare say that Xalapinian taxistas come close to the level of craziness of any Las Vegas taxistas! The traffic in Xalapa is intense! It’s not like the traffic I’ve previously known from waiting on the freeway in Denver, Atlanta, or Chicago. Here the traffic is Hurry up and wait! Every car drives as fast as they can, wherever they like until they reach any other stopped cars. In order to get to their destination faster than their neighbor, they pretend there are no lines on the roads and that 2 inches between them and the next car is sufficient to pass! I feel like I’m a camera guy in the Kentucky derby every time I get in the backseat of a car here!
A little taste of traffic but this picture does not due it justice!
Elisabeth and I hopped in my first taxi heading to Wal-Mart in order search for some gifts for her friends back in Cuba. When we left, we took another taxi, and dropped her off in el Centro first. Here I was left alone in taxi for the first time. Still new to the city, I struggled to say my street name. Come to find out, the driver was new to Xalapa too! He asked me what was close to my house, and I couldn’t think of anything that stuck out during my walk to school en el centro everyday that week. I called Licha, my Mexican mom, to ask her where I should tell the taxi to take me. However, she miss understood, and thought I was checking in, explaining that I was in a café close to the house, with Elisebeth and that I would take a taxi home, “Cuidate Desi”. I was really on my own. The only thing I could think of was the baseball field where we had watched a professional baseball game a few days before…
Turns out there are more than one field in Xalapa. So I figured I could find my way from los lagos, where we had some pizza one time. We went there and headed into an unknown neighborhood. We drove around talking, laughing, and searching for my house. 45 minutes later, I stepped out of the most expensive taxi ride to this day with a smile on my face and a story to remember. Usually I try not to take taxis and really enjoy walking but I do enjoy talking to the taxistas because they are always really nice and eager find out where I am from and how I like Mexico. They always tell me the best places to visit and I’ve even had a few invite me to have dinner with their families. They are always patient with my Spanish but compliment me on how much I know. I like talking with them because they always have different accents revealing different stories of where they’re from, where they’ve been and where their children are. I feel like they are like the average Mexican citizen working all day, every day. I’ve really learned a lot from them. Thanks Silvestre, Jugo, Omar, Paco, Caesar, Fredi, and Ricardo!
Well folks that’s all for now! I’ve done lots more but it will have to be saved for later! More pictures too!~
Hasta Luego! Nos Vemos!