Tuesday, July 24, 2007
¡Oh, la playa!
I have almost a month’s worth of posts to catch up on, including all the food I ate in Mexico City and the mole negro cooking class that literally brought tears to my eyes, but I have to gloat a bit about where I am, here and now.
Erin, Elena, and I are in Puerto Escondido. It’s a surfer’s paradise, which means there are many bare-chested men walking around. Sadly, surfers are not our type, but there are many other natural wonders to observe and enjoy, including, of course, very fresh mariscos or seafood and other culinary delights. And even if the food wasn’t that great, even I could be happy just swinging in a hammock on the roof terrace of our hotel", drinking Dos Equis and reading Rebecca West’s amazing “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.” But on this first day of our stay here, the food has been happily surprising.
Life here feels even sweeter because we survived a 9-hour overnight bus ride from Oaxaca City to get here. Erin had to knock herself out with sleeping pills, and Elena got some serious cricks in her neck, but as soon as saw the beach, the memory of the bus ride just melted away.
While you sit in your lounge chair under a straw palapa, you can get almost anything you want from the peddlers walking up and down the sand. You can buy a blessing or a wish from a giant clay pig (at least, I think that’s what he said), you can get your name engraved on a grain of rice (isn’t it weird what tourist-things travel all over the world?), and you can eat a delicious ceviche-like shrimp cocktail with a freshly tart, picante flavor, served in plastic dixie cup with fresh wedges of lime.
Or you can get nieve de coco, or coconut ice cream, from a sweet man who is so proud of his product that even after we had asked for two cones, he insisted we taste it first. This nieve, with a sorbet-like texture, would not have been out of place at the foodiest of foodie NY restaurants, with its rich, pure, and salty-sweet flavor. I have another great photo of Erin with her ice cream cone, but it's a tad too bodacious for this blog.
And at least so far, even your run-of-the-mill, random lunch place knows how to cook a fish with respect. At Vitamina, on the Adoquin, the pedestrian street lined with your usual flip-flops, crafts, and caftans, I had a lovely whole huachinango, or red snapper, that tasted as rich and fatty as bluefish or mackerel. It had been prepared “al Diablo,” in a creamy, just slightly spicy sauce. With some hot tortillas and a neverending pitcher of watermelon agua, how could I be anything but muy satisfecha? How could I be anything but satisfecha on a beach in Mexico?