The Papal proxy, espresso & sopa

blind
The blind musician who’d recently had treatment, it appears.

WE WENT TO a Baptism party yesterday. The guest of honor was a new nephew named Pablo Kareem. He’s a cute, upbeat kid. I tried to convince the young parents not to name him Kareem, which is better suited for a basketball player or a Mohammedan terrorist, but they paid me no mind. Kareem it is. But Pablo first.

It began with a Mass, of course, but my child bride and I skipped that and went straight to the party. It took place in a Salón de Fiesta in the nearby capital city. These are rental spaces that can be large or small, nice or not so nice. Ours yesterday was large and nice, and the event went as they always do. People sitting at tables yelling over the music that’s either blaring from a loudspeaker or tunes from a live band. There was food too.

Yesterday’s was five-star pollo en mole.

It’s not really my scene, as we said in the old days. I usually have to flee after an hour or so due to the racket and my long legs being cramped below a folding table.

I got into the Honda and drove alone to the pink-stone, Colonial center of town. I parked and walked a few blocks to an area known, I believe, as el Jardín de las Rosas. There are lots of sidewalk cafés abutting the Jardín. I sat and ordered a double espreso and a sopa Tarasca, a regional soup that can range from spectacular to so-so.

Yesterday’s was near spectacular. I’m a winner.

I people-watched for over an hour. There were plenty of folks passing by. There were also strolling musicians, sidewalk hawkers and panhandlers. One of the musicians was an old blind singer with a guitar who was being led by a woman I suspect was his daughter.

I gave him 50 pesos, which is far more than I normally tip in those situations, but I was thinking, There but for the grace of God go I, or something like that.

Finally, I got a call from the party. It was time to return.

It was a fine afternoon. I liked el Jardín de las Rosas. My child bride enjoyed screaming over the music to her Mexican abundance of relatives. And Pablo Kareem slept through it all, but he got the Pope’s blessing by proxy. His soul’s a clean slate.

Perhaps mine once was too. I’ve never been baptized.

cafe
A shot from where I was sitting with espresso and sopa Tarasca.

King’s clothing

THIS TIME OF year hereabouts everyone goes nuts for flor de calabaza,  pumpkin flower, or maybe it’s squash in English. Don’t know, don’t care. Irrelevant.

The interesting thing is that the locals go nuts about it. They eat it in every possible form. They crow about it on restaurant menus. The fact that it’s seasonable just boosts the allure.

As you can see, it’s a very pretty flower. That’s my child bride holding a bouquet she bought in the neighborhood plaza this morning while we were doing our exercise walk. She paid 10 pesos, which is about fifty cents U.S.

When flor de calabaza is included in a recipe for whatever and cooked, it loses its beauty entirely, but that does not reduce its popularity one bit.

Today I’m going to reveal something that may get me run out of Mexico. I may have my citizenship revoked. I may receive death threats. Only the Goddess knows, but here goes:

Flor de calabaza has no taste whatsoever. None.

The king is parading in the streets buck naked, and everyone is oooing and ahhing at his raiment. And not only that, as I mention above, when it’s cooked it loses its loveliness.

So what is going on here?

Flor de calabaza is a beautiful flower. And it’s edible. This means its beauty must also make it tasty.

‘Fraid not. So flor de calabaza is merely an idea, a notion, a myth of sorts. I often say Mexican life is like Alice’s Wonderland, and this is a lovely — but tasteless — example.

Don’t tell anyone I wrote this. Por favor.

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(Note: My child bride admitted a couple of years ago — the first actual Mexican to do so — that flor de calabaza is tasteless. So why did she buy it? To include it in her pastries for the weekly sidewalk sale. Myth sells, amigos.)