We originally met new boat friends ‘Cuba Libre’ in Puerto Escondido. They arrived in San Carlos a day after we did, on the heels of hurricane Blanca. For a week and a half they worked to decommission the boat for storage: taking down sails and biminis, defrosting fridges, cleaning, packing, etc. So every evening they went out to dinner, as opposed to cooking amongst the inherent disarray. The first night they invited us along, and it soon became a nightly ritual.
With some people you just click. We’re not exactly social butterflies. So it’s remarkable that we’ve only spoken to this couple a few times and all of a sudden we are spending every dinner with them, and having loads of fun. They get a kick out of hearing Brian’s war stories and we get a kick out of their past lives working for the movie/TV industry and hearing their Mexico stories since they have been doing this cruising thing here for several years. Hilarious people, we are able to jibe back and forth without restraint… generally, it’s like being in a Seinfeld episode.
So each day we’d meet them at the end of our dock at 6:30pm, hopping into their car for the nightly dinner outing. Our week-and-a-half of dinners was quite varied and delicious. Cuba Libre knows where the good food deals are and opened our eyes to eateries and food we never would have tried.
Tacos dorado: dorado is a type of fish, but ‘tacos dorado’ means “golden tacos”. The taco is fried (similar to a taquito but not rolled) with crispy beef and diced potato. Potatoes in a taco? Yeah. Starch + starch…fried. Delish.
Chile rellenos tacos: breaded and fried green poblano pepper filled with cheese…in a taco…yum. I’ve had chili rellenos, just never saw it offered in a taco before now… proving you can put just about anything in a taco and it’s awesome.
Papas Loca: fluffy, baked potato smothered in a rich cream sauce, with corn kernels and carne asada… kind of like a cream of corn soup + chipped beef. Sounds weird, but it’s excellent.
We also went to a real Chinese restaurant (Chinese in Mexico?): sliced pork, sweet/sour chicken, fresh veges, fried rice, chop suey with crispy bean sprouts and finally, diced jalapenos cooked in soy sauce (a definite Chi/Mex blend) – I just about choked on those, but I kept eating them, even though my throat was on fire. Good stuff.
They took us to Popeye’s where we had an excellent hamburger and fries and a coke for like $4.50 per person. Even McDonald’s can’t do it that cheap anymore. The entire restaurant scheme was monikered after Popeye the Sailor Man. Hey, it’s Mexico… copyright infringement? What’s that? Since they have a Brutus burger and an Olive Oil burger, I assumed the ‘Popeye’ Burger was pronounced the same, in English. When I ordered “Dos Popeye’s” (two Popeye hamburger meals), the waitress looked at me and said “Papas?” (papas are potatoes). Me (confused): “No...Popeye’s. Pop..Eyes”. Her (shaking head): “No…Poh-PAY-yes”. Ahhh. Of course, it would be pronounced “Poh-PAY-yes.” Silly me. Just because a word is spelled English, doesn’t mean it’s pronounced in English.
I Scream, You Scream…
After each dinner we’d get ice cream at McDonalds or Burger King or Dairy Queen, there’s even a Thrifty with real ice cream (as long as you can get there before they close). Ice cream. Every night. Heaven. Micky D’s has this addicting treat called a McFlurry Kranky. You can find bags of Kranky everywhere in Mexico – Kranky’s are chocolate-coated corn flakes and are particularly awesome in a flurry. We only went to BK once: we were told to leave the drive through and get our order at the door because there were too many cars (we were the only one). Hmmm…I don’t think they understand what “drive-through” means.
Driving around downtown Guaymas during our dinner outings always presented us with unexpected oddities. One time, we noticed what appeared to be a dead man on the main sidewalk in the middle of downtown. Sprawled on the pavement, and face-down, was a large man; I assume he was drunk, he didn’t move a muscle. Nobody paid him any attention, not even the Federales. Strange.
Another time, a young man was juggling fire sticks in the middle of the street in front of Walmart, hoping for tips. Right there in the middle of traffic. He’s no different than the street performers in NYC, but really? In front of Walmart? And in traffic? The context is just weird. You’d think he’d perform on the waterfront Malecon or even at the marina for all the tourists. But I suppose it makes sense… Walmart is probably the most popular store in the entire area, and that intersection is hopping.
Another time we noticed a young couple on a motorcycle: he is driving, she’s behind him …cradling a tiny baby, nobody is wearing a helmet. Eh, the baby’s fine…just don’t drop him. They pulled up alongside a motorcycle cop and happily chatted with him. No problem. Inconceivable in the US; not surprising here.
Eventually though, our friends finished their chores and pulled the boat. Our stimulating nightly dinner runs came to an end. But like a classic Pavlov experiment re-creation, we had become conditioned to that 6:30pm dinner bell. When they left, we’d stand at the end of our dock…waiting…no one came to take us to dinner. We’d stare at each other…Crap, now what? I have to MAKE dinner? Seriously? And shutup…no ice cream? No Kranky? I can’t live with myself. No nightly political/military/movie discussions? So sad. Geez, now we have to talk to each other again...