Goodnight from Mexico
So, I’m a little behind in my posts, what with several Los Angeles events to put together, but here I am in Mexico, and half an hour ago I cried, so I think I really need to start with now…
Today felt challenging. We had become very fond of our Koreatown shoebox, not because it was particularly inviting, but because it now felt like OUR shoebox and we were comfortable there. It was hard to leave, but leave we inevitably did, driving our dear little Versa (yup, fond of that too) down the 15-lane-in-parts freeway to LAX (I got good!).
We landed in Mexico, hungry and tired, just before 8pm, cleared the queues and organised our Uber. Driving through the streets of Mexico, I was reminded of my only other overseas holiday (AS AN ADULT, DAD!) to Thailand, over ten years ago, when my dear friend Carol and I had first travelled through a darkened Bangkok to our hotel. It was the same feeling of knowing that everything is so very different, and loving being hit square-on with it, and not having the time (or inclination) to examine what comprises that difference.
On arrival, we were greeted by Ricardo, who let us into a tin, hole-in-the-wall door across from the largest music shop I have ever seen, and led us up a dim flight of stairs, wrapped around a central atrium, filled with the most extraordinary cooking smells.
“It’s the Cantina next door. They cook all day and, starting tomorrow, the Mariachi band will play half the night.”
He led us onto the first mezzanine and towards our painted lady who, as promised, told me we were home. We were then joined by Michael, who explained that the two of them occupy the entire floor of the oldest warehouse building in the area (“old, but earthquake-proof!”), before showing us around their home as though we were family.
“See that one bare, unpainted patch? That’s what this whole place used to look like.”
“Eva, if mum is in the bathroom too long, here is the key to our side…come in anytime.”
“Do you like coffee? Of course you do! I will bring the coffee press in the morning, after I have had my own.”
“Come and see our side. Ricardo is an artist. This is some of his work, and he put together the walls of plants.”
And, just like that, they melted our little introverted hearts. As did the space, with its high ceilings, art, records, plants, letters, fairy lights, ropes, ladders, rugs, trinkets, bottles and, the pièce de résistance, a dedicated laptop and projector, with which we can project whatever our little hearts desire…onto an entire wall.
After the boys had gone for dinner, we sat together and plotted our next move. Eva wasn’t exiting the building for love nor money, but I was reminded again of the intrepid spirit of our first-night explorations in Thailand, and decided I would task myself with finding us some food.
Walking in one direction, I passed a couple of closing taquerias, a pool hall, and an incredible building, before reaching the dreaded four-lane highway (my M&R-designated boundary).
Heading back, I took a different turn, deliberately crossing the road to avoid a small crowd of people, before realising they were buying something that I suspected may be food from two men on bicycles, each of whom had been pulling a large silver canister on a platform behind him.
“Hello! Do you have food?”
“Food?” *hand to mouth*
Blank. Pause. “Tamale?”
“Yes! Tamale. How much?”
“Cost for one?” *holding up finger and a note*
“Uno!” *packing one tamale*
“Two!” *holding up two fingers, realising cost is beyond the capacity of this moment*
“Dos!” *second man starts packing second tamale*
I give them 50 pesos, they give me 20 pesos back (who knows? who cares?), and I head back to Eva, triumphant.
We Google them, to find out if we’re meant to eat the banana leaf or not.
And Eva projects KPop onto the wall.
And I find a Mexican beer in the fridge.
And we eat our tamales, which are so, so, so good.
And I start to cry.
I’m still not sure if it’s because I’m tired, or relieved, or remembering, or because the tamale tastes so bloody good, or because I already know that four days has absolutely no chance of being long enough.
Good night from us from Mexico…x
Eva says, “Block B says it better than I can: ‘Shall We Dance?’”