Tuesday, October 25, 2005

In Mexico, They Just Call it Food

We took a honeymoon in Los Cabos, Mexico. It was great, yet brief. My husband is a high school football coach. He coaches the defense for the JV. He is brilliant! That notwithstanding, we dull-wittedly planned a fall wedding, and so had to accept a limited honeymoon in order for my husband (I love saying that! I’ll say it again…my husband….) to return to coach the next game. He feels responsible, and didn’t want to miss a game. This I can respect. Now, if he had said he had to be back early in order to watch football on tv, well, he would have returned from a sex-less honeymoon alone, soon to see the inside of an annullment ala Britney Spears. But, since I picked a fabulous man to marry (this time, unlike Ms. Spears-Federline), he couldn’t care less about football on tv. He is cool like that.

So! Mexico. Is fabulous. We stayed in San Jose del Cabo, which is a lovely little working class town with lots of beautiful gardens, shops, and good Mexican food, duh. Otherwise known as food. Seriously, I couldn’t get enough of the yummy goodness of it all! And one margarita was so potent (but didn’t taste potent) that it was all I needed to drink even though it was with dinner. That is some seriously good tequila.

We arrived Sunday afternoon, cleared customs, and were met with a sea of taxicab drivers who wanted to give us a ride. We had a travel voucher, and were guided to a van through the crowd. That part was overwhelming, all those people saying things in a foreign - er, native - language. Once we got going, it was fine. We talked with the taxi driver, who really didn't speak much English. We taught each other words, and he smiled every time I said something in Spanish, as if he was thinking to himself, “Oh you cute little tourist, trying out my language. You are so adorable with your ignorance!”

At first I was nervous to use even easy Spanish words, like gracias, because I can be very self-conscious at times. I got into it, though. Words I had heard repeated over and over on children’s television shows started making sense to me, probably because of all the repetition employed in children's programming which totally turns out to be useful for adults, too. I had two years of Spanish in high school, but la escuela secondaria was a long time ago, my friends. I was easily able to recognize words like cerrado and abierto (thank you, Sesame Street!), and soon I was understanding some of what was said, and feeling comfortable speaking bits and pieces of sentences. Ordering food in Spanish was fun, but in all fairness it was a pretty forgiving place to try out the native language. Plenty of times I would say something in Spanish only to be answered in English. And I was like, damn it!

Immediately after arriving, we headed out to the pool. The hotel we stayed was located 3 blocks from the town square. It was small with about a dozen rooms, all of which opened onto a walkway, with the gardens and pool beyond. Ahhhh, the warm sun felt great, and then a quick dip in the water to refresh was lovely. We got hungry and headed out for an early dinner. I asked the clerk for recommendations, and there were two nearby. That night, we went to the Tropicana Inn. That was where I had the amazing, one-drink Margarita wonder. We had fajitas for two, with chicken, beef and shrimp. We took our time eating since we had arrived at the restaurant for dinner at the same time as the seniors do for Denny’s early-bird specials back in the States. At around 8:30, we wandered to the town square, which was one city block and paved with stones. There is a gazebo and open space in the center, surrounded by palm trees and potted flowers. People were out with their kids talking and enjoying the evening air, while vendors were selling cute toys and ice cream. It was a lovely evening.

Across from the square was the old mission church, established in 1734 or so by a priest who did not live long before being killed by the locals he was trying to convert. The church was beautiful, and so we walked up to stand at the back of the crowd that was spilling out into the courtyard to listen. Listening the the service in Spanish, we began to recognize things that were being said, like the Lord’s Prayer, but it was a Catholic service so it was largely unfamiliar. And then, when they did the passing of the peace, people turned around to shake hands with us. I’ll never forget that feeling of being welcomed to be a part of something so universal like a church service, in a foreign place. I felt like a tourist infringing on their solemn event, but people there included us like it was normal. What a great introduction to a place.

The next day was our only full day in town, so we made the most of it. We went out to breakfast at Jazmin’s, where they make the most amazing omelette’s with mushroom sauce on top, and the most amazing potatoes, seasoned with something yellow and completely amazing. Fortified, we went shopping.

It wasn’t long before I had to try one of the panaderias (bakeries) for a small snack of some traditional bread. This is where the Dora the Explorer vocabulary kicked in. Seriously, I learned the word for “owl” on that show, and it was actually useful. And you know what else? I didn’t need to do a single algebraic equation at any moment on this trip. I’m going to write to my high school math teacher about that, because the fact that you CAN get along in the world without it is so true. Anyway, the panaderia had these little pastries shaped like owls, lechuzas, with peaches for eyes. OH got a chocolate croissant. He is so multi-national.

We shopped for sunglasses right away, because again, dull-wittedness overtook me while packing and I neglected to bring any sunglasses. To Mexico. Yes, I know, I know. How can I be this stupid and still be walking around. All I can say is, bumblebees fly; now leave me alone.

After sunglasses were purchased, we checked out the jewelry stores where I found a lovely Mexican fire opal ring. My husband, god love him, likes to buy me jewelry. Our first purchase was on our first trip together, which was by train to Seattle where he bought me an opal pendant. Then, when in Santa Fe the following year, he bought me an opal bracelet which was very big, and so the jeweler took out two pieces and made earrings to go along with it. For free. So I’ve got this whole Buying Fire Opals While On Vacation kind of tradition going. Traditions are good, aren’t they?

In addition to jewelry, he bought OC a turtle decorated with shells. This was his idea, not mine. Do you get just how sweet and thoughtful he is? And it’s not just because he buys presents for us. Far from it. He is sweet and thoughtful with his actions. The man opens the car door for me. Every time. I’m indulging in quite a bit of newlywed bliss here, but I’m just so damn happy! You’ll have to forgive me.

Still shopping: I found a cute dress for OC which was white cotton and embroidered with flowers, imagine a traditional Mexican clothing style. She also received a t-shirt and another dress. I got a t-shirt for OH. We bought two of these beautiful, frosted glass wineglasses and a bottle of Mexican wine.

I dressed up a bit that night, and felt great: the warm air, the wine, the good food. Plus, being on my honeymoon and being all in love, and I was vibrating with the heady combination of feelings. Our first stop was to the Casa Natalia, another small hotel with a bar which is where I wanted to stay originally but they were booked. I think I had a mojito and OH had a beer, and we split chips and salsa. After that, and some strolling around, we found this elegant wine bar/restaurant just a block away from our hotel, called Los Santos. We had cheese and bread, and this wonderful bottle of Chenin Blanc. Then we bought a bottle of Merlot to take home, which was made in Baja. That is another tradition of ours, to try local wine on our travels. We are fun, if absentminded!

Dinner was at Damiana’s, but by that time I was really full and just had an appetizer. OH ordered chillies rellenos, but couldn’t finish them.

The next morning, we got ready to go to the beach. Our plane didn’t leave until evening, and so we had all morning and part of the early afternoon to enjoy. The ocean was very rough. We stood in the sand and let it roll in, and the water only came up to our knees, but we’d have to brace oursleves as the waves crashed in and then rolled out again. It was very, very strong, so there would be no swimming. We were at the end of Baja California, where the Pacific meets the Sea of Cortez. It was beautiful blue, with beautiful white sand, but with ridiculously strong wave action.

On our return trip, I had a celebrity sighting at LAX. As we got through customs and were about to leave the terminal, I heard a woman’s voice who was completely recognizable, and she turned her head to the side, and it was Charro! I said, “Oh my god…” and OH was like, “What?” He had no clue who Charro was, even though I explained about the Love Boat and he had seen the Love Boat. I have never seen a celebrity in real life, ever. It was exciting, because I have seen probably every episode of the Love Boat that was made in the 1980’s.

I married someone fairly clueless about pop culture which is not a bad thing, it’s just that pop culture is totally my thing. I guess that’s why we go together so well: We never run out of esoteric subjects with which we can stump one another. He with his “He was a running back for the Eagles back in ‘78” and me with my “She was in 30 Something married to Timothy Busfield, remember?” Uh, no, he doesn’t. The reply would be “What’s 30 Something?” which is similar to what my reply to his sports-related statements, “Who keeps information like that in their heads, and for what purpose?” But there always is a purpose for useless information, isn’t there? It’s called Trivia Night.

I think it’s going to work out fine, because we each have our things and we both respect each other’s things. This is starting to sound sexual.

By the way, I’m not pregnant!

1 comment:

Mabel said...

So, do you ask for Southern food in the south?