Little blessings



PLENTY OF LITTLE gifts come with living on this mountaintop.

1. Roasted chicken. Mexico is associated with tacos, burritos, margaritas, sunsets, severed heads, etc., but what you may not know is the abundance of tasty, roasted chickens. Seems there is a roasted chicken joint on every block. Yum!

2. Shrimp cocktails. Almost as numerous as roasted chicken joints are sidewalk shrimp cocktails. Our little plaza downtown is lined on three sides with stands that sell shrimp cocktails and related stuff. Stupidly, I lived here about five years before I became a believer. I was a nervous nellie. I thought: seafood from a street stand? I finally wised up and grew a pair. Those were five wasted years, amigo.

3. Great shirts. Only about two years ago I started to purchase the used previously enjoyed, name-brand shirts sold in dark corners of the downtown market. Nautica, Hilfiger, Lands End, Chaps, Ralph Lauren, etc. I really don’t know if they are used or new, perhaps unloaded from hijacked semis above the Rio Bravo. No matter. For about $7 each, you can gad about in style.

4. Lemon ice. Just as good as the product from Angelo Brocato’s in New Orleans where my daughter once worked, it’s sold at street stands on our big plaza. I didn’t drag my feet on the lemon ice like I did shrimp cocktails. I’ve been slurping that lemon ice for years.

5. Shoe shines. For just a buck-fifty on the small plaza, you can see your face in those boots, brother.

6. Car washes. Fellows on the big plaza will sparkle your car for $2.75.

7. Cool June air. Okay, it’s not quite June, but almost, and the air will be cool. It will stay that way all summer.

8. Here at home. Orchids blooming in the peach tree and the sweet smell of golden datura sneaking through the bedroom window at night.

Little blessings here on the mountaintop.

21 thoughts on “Little blessings

  1. Don’t forget that we still have local butchers that will cut the meat the way you want it, like thick sliced smoked bacon that is not available in the mega-stores. Also fresh chicken that is weighed not including the package, the wet pad under the chicken and lots of fat that is hidden under the meat that mega-stores sell.

    Besides other merchants like shoe repair where you can get your favorite shoes resoled for a few dollars and not half the price of the shoes like NOB.

    Many blessings, small and large too numerous to mention, and I won’t even get into the liberties department.


    1. Tancho: Lots indeed. I never thought about the chicken in supermarkets being weighed with that extra baggage. And yes, the freedom thing. That may be the best of all.


      1. Don Cuevas: Shoe repair is one area in which I have often been disappointed. Maybe if I switched repair shops. They get repaired, but it’s very basic. With a pair of Mephistos, for example, you don’t want a workable — but ugly — fix.


  2. Do you have tianguis there? Guaymas tianguis is where I buy most of my clothes these daysl. Nice thing about getting older: I’ve outgrown my need for umpteen changes of clothing. I notice you didn’t mention paletas, my favorite street snack. Coconut or pineapple…yum! We have a roasted chicken place here called Pollo Lopez which is apparently a chain, but they do a great job, with lots of roasted onions and potatoes on the side, a $10 outlay two can get at least two meals out of. I could use some of that cool June weather. But I’m not out much in the daytime in summer, got to earn a living.


  3. I adore the free summer air-conditioning and many other blessings of living in Michoacán. I crack up when I see the signs for Pollo Feliz. I can’t imagine the chickens being very happy about making the ultimate sacrifice for our enjoyment.

    I must make a visit to your favorite shirt emporium this summer.


        1. Don Cuevas: There’s an industry called ropa de paca. Paca is bundle or pack. Shipments of clothing are brought down in bulk by middle men from the United States. Most is used, I imagine. The retailers here buy a bundle, not knowing exactly what it includes, and then they retail it, one by one. Some of it, as I’ve noted, is quite nice. And quite cheap. On Mercado Libre, you can buy the bundles yourself if you want to open a business.


  4. Agree wholeheartedly on the rosti chickens! For 75p here in SMA , you get a whole chicken, salad, roasted peppers, and fresh tortillas! Leftovers go into a sopa de pollo! Also the tianguis here on Tuesday is an all Aladdin’s cave of the weird and wonderful! You can get stuff you didn’t know you needed!


  5. 1. Bolillos baked over a wood fire.
    2. Chicken feet. They make the best soup.
    3. Full-service gas stations.
    4. Sueltos. Cigarettes sold singly, when you just have to have a cigarette.
    5. Guys selling seasonal fruit at intersections.


    1. Ms. Shoes: After years of dining on my child bride’s variety of baked goods, even a good bolillo seems tame by comparison. Chicken feet?! Yuck-ems. I was thinking about the gas stations today myself. Not so much that they are full-service, but that there are no self-service stations in the entire nation. Even so, I always get out and keep an eye on the proceedings, which is a good idea. Sueltos? You smoke?

      Fruit is good, intersections or wherever.


  6. One other pleasure I would mention is the Carnitas de Quiroga hole in the wall between the plaza mayor and plaza chica.

    Of course, nothing beats running the gauntlet of carnitas carts leading to the plaza in Quiroga. But it does save a trip — be there before noon if you expect to get some.


    1. JBSK: I have walked past that place for 14 years, and I’ve never set foot inside. Not that I do not like carnitas, which I do if all the fat is trimmed off, I just never went in there. Strange now that I think of it. Often it’s crowded. That must be the reason. When we do buy carnitas, which is not that often, there’s a big place near our house that serves the purpose. I’ve never eaten carnitas in Quiroga either.

      Thanks for the feedback. Your first, I believe. Feel free to return.


  7. Mariscos are the best…I especially like them with pulpo…I do avoid the raw oysters they sell on the beach…they walk around in the hot sun with the platter on their head for who knows how long before you buy them…an e-coli experience in waiting…Fabian’s mom prepares chicken feet sometimes…tried them once…suficiente…she also makes patas (pig’s feet) which I enjoy…but there’s no way they can be anywhere near good for you…buen provecho amigo!


  8. Wouldn’t those shirts be “seminuevas?” I love how they use that word in Mx for used cars. Sounds even spiffier than “pre-owned.”

    As for shrimp trepidation, it’s pretty understandable. Shrimp. Up in the mountains. Miles from the ocean. Street stall. But I have to say, I’ve had more trouble with posh restaurants than street food, which in Mexico has never made me sick.


    Kim G
    Laredo, Tx
    Where we are working off some kind of bug that almost certainly was picked up in a posh place.


    1. Kim: Ah, seminuevas! Why didn’t I think of that? As for tummy ailments, I have had no more, perhaps less, such problems in Mexico than I used to have above the Rio Bravo. Like so many things here, the peril is overblown.

      Sorry to hear of your bug, but better now than earlier in your Mexican adventure, eh?


  9. I’ve heard that it is all the rage for the Latinos to buy used clothing here to ship to their folks back home in Central America, because the quality of the clothing there is so crappy. Cheap, yes, but really crappy. Even with the hefty cost of shipping, they say it is worth it in the long run.


    1. Becky: I know nothing of clothing in Central America, but here in Mexico you can get good stuff easily and cheaply. Or you can go to Sears or Liverpool and pay through the nose. I take the former route.


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