Sunday, 1 August 2010

La Comida

(Sorry to post all of this at once. I was keeping up with the posts on my computer while there was unreliable internet). In any case, here is an overview of my culinary experience.

1)Corn and salt smoothies over ice.
2)Micheladas – beer mixed with chili powder and salsa (these are VERY popular).
3)Cow Tongue tacos. 'Nuff said.
4)Mexican potato salad – cold noodles in cold mayonnaise.
5)Agua de pepino – water with shredded cucumber and celery (ok) and... a lot of sugar.

1)Sopa Azteca – tomato soup with crunchy chips, chunks of beef, chunks of avocado, and cheese.
2)Tostadas – round chips topped with shredded meat, beans, lettuce and cheese.
3)Mango con chili – slices of mango with chili powder on them. I hated this at first, but now I love it so much that I think plain mango tastes like it's missing something.
4)Horchata – white rice pureed into a water with sugar and milk.
5)Chilakiles – a breakfast dish of tortilla chips fried in tomatillo salsa, mixed with eggs and sometimes chicken, then sprinkled with a tangy cheese that tastes like feta.

5 differences between here and there

1)Buses here rule the transportation world. Trains, planes, and cars are all less common, and you can usually get a bus to just about anywhere you could possibly want to go. There's a Mexican airline called “Aerobus.” The name hopes to advertise the airline as being so convenient and comfortable that it's almost like a bus!

2)Death is something people talk about here. In the US, you don't mention a death in the family to someone you're not close to if it doesn't come up in conversation somehow. Here, it's something that everyone shares openly about themselves. In fact, personal tragedy in general here just doesn't really seem to be all that personal.

3)They really CAN all dance. I saw an ad in Mexico city yesterday for a bank. It said that opening an account was “tan facil como bailar” - as easy as dancing. This would not be effective advertising at Haverford College, that's for sure.

4)Physical contact is on a totally different level. I've been guided across the street by strange women behind me who would set their hand on my hip to see me across. When you meet someone or say good-bye, you touch cheek to cheek, something that I still haven't gotten used to with strange men I know I'll never see again anyway. Public Display of Affection is also a totally different ballgame. I've had to move seats on a bus due to exceptionally loud kissing noises, for one thing. And finally (this is the best part), they give real hugs here. When I hugged Dona Chela and the girls from Casa Amiga good-bye, it seemed like they weren't ever going to let go. I would go all limp after what four seconds that I believe is standard for non-romantic hugs, but they were not having it. When Mexicans hug they squeeze, and rock back and forth. Like anything else, they like to do it right or not at all.

5)I should preface the following observation by saying that I only knew one demographic of young adults, from one University, one religion (Catholicism, like 90% of Mexico), one rural state. However, I thought from the way my host sisters talked that sex and drinking were more prevalent here. Everyone always seemed to be drinking a beer, and every other word is a sexual inuendo. However, when I got closer to individuals, I started to realize that the majority of my seemingly wild Mexican friends were all bark and no bite. In other words, I only met a handful of people all summer that get drunk for fun. Mexicans party exponentially harder than us, that's just an inarguable fact, but for them, “partying” isn't just a euphemism for drinking. Alcohol is a big part of a Mexican party, but so are dancing, music, and food. Secondly, almost everyone I met my age believes firmly in abstinence before marriage, an idea which is rather obsolete among the 20-something sector in most parts of the US. Last week, I confessed to my closest Mexican female friend that I thought I might have made a hasty judgment about the Mexican attitude toward sex. She laughed and said, “we have to do something to hold us over, so we talk about it.”