Saturday, October 27, 2007

Car Trip 12

Saturday night on the town square of Veracruz is a party. There were people everywhere. From the elegantly dressed to blue jeans, all mixing and mingling, drinking and eating. One could feel the energy level coming from the throngs. It was really quite invigorating. On one side of the rather large town square sits the municipal building with its’ marvelous arches stretching the entire length. And under the roof that the arches support is every type of restaurant imaginable. Finding a spot at one of them was a horse of a totally different color. We finally found a spot at the very last one in the line. This was fine with us because we really did not want to be accosted by the multitude of hawkers and musicians. Of course, no matter where you sat, you were not immune to them. The vendors, selling CD’s, peanuts, balloons, telephone cards, watches and DVD’s, bobbed, wove and pushed their way around and through every restaurant and table. We probably could have bought hundreds of CDs that night as well as a watch for every person we know.

Our choice of a restaurant (although we really had no choice) left a lot to be desired. They were trying very hard to be shitsky but were failing miserably. One paper napkin, not even a dispenser like in the cheapest of diners, was delivered with the mediocre and expensive meal. Delivered on a plastic plate! Neither one of us even finished our meal. Veracruz, you were letting me down immensely. We paid the outrageous bill and decided to stroll around the square a bit. After we had looked at every piece of jewelry and every type and style of friendship bracelet you can imagine, we needed a drink. It was a little after midnight by this time and the crowds had thinned enough for us to find a prime people watching seat up front at one of the nicer restaurants. And they had Sol! (my favorite beer)

Comfortably ensconced with fresh drinks in front of us, we settled down for a little people watching. There were plenty of interesting, exotic and just plain romantic people to look at. But something else had caught my eye. Directly across from where we were sitting was a line of vendor booths and mixed in with them were large old trees. I had spotted a clown moving around over there, acting very mysterious. I watched as he settled in across from us, between two trees. He had a large bag with him, full of clown accessories I assumed. Sure enough, he reached into it and brought out a large rope. He next strung this between the two trees, maybe six feet off the ground. That accomplished, he again reached into his bag and pulled out a bottle of whiskey. I seriously doubt that it really had whiskey in it though. He put his bag out of sight and then the show started. I kind of felt like a voyeur, having seen him go through his getting ready routine. He opened the bottle, took a drink and immediately turned into a loud, drunk clown. I was not amused. People didn’t really stop to pay him any attention until he got up on his tightrope. He was actually very good at it. All the time he was doing tricks on it, under the guise of being a drunken clown. People now started to gather. Except for the fact that the show was six feet in the air, it was a typical show put on a by a fake drunk. Spitting a mouthful of "whiskey" on the bystanders, almost falling off the rope. Lots of slapstick, which is very, very popular here. Eventually he jumped down and passed his clown hat for tips. I thought it was a rather hard way to earn the few pesos that people put in his hat. Show over, he grabbed his bag and disappeared into the crowd. But he left his rope tied to the tree, so I assume that he was planning on giving another show later.

It was getting really late and we were both feeling the effects of traveling, and maybe just a little of the effects of all the booze we had consumed! It was starting to seem to us as though we were drinking a lot on this trip. Certainly more than when we are at home! I said to B, "When I write about this trip, everybody is going to think we turned into alcoholics or something! It sounds like all we do is drink!" He said not to talk about it then. I replied that having a beer or margarita is part of the travel experience! As we headed back to our hotel. I think we were both dreading the night ahead in this sleazy room. After walking as slowly as we could, we did finally reach our hotel, and, with little enthusiasm, we climbed the four flights of stairs and fell into bed. The last thing I remember was our saying to each other, we WILL change rooms tomorrow!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello, Wayne...Nice site; very well done.
Just wanted to throw in my two cents about what you were talking about: drinking too much in Mexico. I have always drank too much down there. I think the main reason is that you are in a constant state of excitement, you love what you're seeing and you really feel good. When I'm by the ocean having breakfast, many times I'll have a beer. I have never done this in the US. I have talked with many Americans who say the same thing. But after you have lived in Mexico for a few years, many people will develop drinking problems. I think a lot of it has to do with the idea that you are no longer producing. You sit on your ass trying very hard to tell yourself how great everything is while you're peering out through the bars on your windows. And the idea that you can never relax for a minute because someone will steal your money. At the gas station, the bank, the police. You can never relax. Any time you get a group of retired Americans together, having a few drinks, the conversation will turn to talking about our hosts.
I might sound bitter, but I'm not. I have spent 1/3 of my life in Mexico, and have learned to accept a lot of things. I love the country and the people, I'm married to a Mexican, I own a home there, but I call a spade a spade.