Paleta Man

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This was written yesterday evening!

I am not sleeping well – have I mentioned that? Last night was difficult, even with the fan. I got up and went into the living room, where two windows stand wide open. This is a safe neighborhood, but I wouldn’t care anyway. It is too muggy in my room and in the other bedroom. So I slept on the couch for a while. Maybe I will bring the fan in with me tonight. I know, I am such a gringo. But I get cranky when I can’t sleep.

This morning, I have to say, was so much quieter than yesterday morning. I slept in a little bit, then took a shower and got the trash together. I am supposed to put it out on the front step and there are guys that take it away. I also was told to put money out – like one or two pesos – for the trash guy, but I couldn’t figure out where to put it. Surely someone else would just take it? When I returned home after classes, my landlady explained that I was supposed to listen for the guy ringing the bell. Then I was supposed to gather the trash and take it down and wait for the picker-uppers to come. She said I could put the money underneath the trash. Interesting.

As I mentioned yesterday, there is a whole parade of service people who pass by your house in the morning. Unfortunately, we are in classes when the tortilla lady passes – that explains why I have had so few tortillas. I have had a lot of bread – I bought chicken, ham and cheese for sandwiches. I have had my lettuce two days in a row with no ill effect.
At six this evening, we went to the lavanderia to pick up our laundry, which was washed, dried, and folded for about $6.00. I had forgotten to bring the receipt with me, because I had already stashed it with my expenses. That was no problem, however. After one mistaken bundle, we received our own clothes. My husband wondered aloud if we should have had her re-weigh it to make sure we got 6 kilos of clothing back. I explained to him how rude that would be…

Tonight, I cooked the shrimp I got the other day at the mercado – I wonder if I could make gumbo one day and invite some of our teachers over for dinner along with our landlady and her husband. My father made gumbo from ingredients he gleaned from a mercado in Atlixco four years ago – with crabs in it, no less. I also was surprised to see pecans in the market. I guess I shouldn’t have been – Mexico is, after all, on the same continent as Georgia. I think I was channeling France then – there were no pecans to be found there. I thought about making a pecan pie, but I don’t make crusts. Maybe the WalMart has crusts. Also, I wonder if it would be difficult to find corn syrup.

After dinner, I scanned the TV channels and came across The Gilmore Girls (subtitled), CSI: New York (subtitled), The Simpsons (dubbed), Trading Spaces (dubbed), and that Ghost Whisperer show (subtitled, I think). Pretty cool. There is also a subtitled E! Channel so that we can keep up with Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan. I like their Gourmet Channel – I got to see a cook make Eggs and Soldiers with an ostrich egg and fiddle head ferns. I know that will come in handy one day.

Of course, we went to get a paleta. I tried to find a different paleteria – just for variety, but we ended up at the one around the corner from the school called La Authentica Michoacana. Not to be confused with all of the other ice cream places with La Michoacana in the name. I ordered a water-based paleta this time – zarzamora (blackberry) – and Wheat chose a mango/chile paleta. My paleta was very good – with seeds and all. I knew I would not like the mango with chile – I tasted it and it was like eating frozen Tabasco sauce. I thought wistfully of the fresh mango I had for lunch – I know that eating sweets with chile is a Mexican thing, but why would anyone want to mess with a mango – the world’s greatest fruit? After eating part of it, Wheat put it in the freezer. I have no idea why.

A little extra note on the whole San Antonio thing. I was reading one of the PDFs I found of an article first published in National Geographic magazine. In it, the writer speaks of a restaurant called San Miguelito. I plan on visiting it as soon as we get back. Here is a preview discription of the restaurant’s “special room”:

I wander beyond a bar designed to look like a bullring and through two casual elegant dining rooms into a small space where nearly 250 images of Saint Anthony — made out of everything from corn husks to silver, and ranging from about ½ inch to 2½ feet high — hang upside down. San Miguelito owner Cynthia Martinez explains, “Saint Anthony is the patron saint of single women. If you pray to him, he’ll bring you a husband.” She laughs, “My father started collecting these saints for me, before I got married.” Why is he upside down, I wonder? To pressure him to act quickly, of course.

We’ll get a picture of it if we can!

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