The patriotic plate

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My chile en nogada at a mountaintop eatery yesterday.

NEXT WEEK WE Mexicans celebrate our independence from the pinche españoles, the Spanish who had dominated us for centuries.

We tossed them out, and things have been much better ever since. Wait, maybe not. Gotta wonder if we might have been better off staying tied to Spain.

Among the questionable characters we’ve had running our show since 1810 have been Santa Anna, Porfirio Diáz and now López Obrador. Spanish royalty would have been preferable.

This dish you see above is served in restaurants around this time of year. It’s called chile en nogada or, as you more often see it written, chiles en nogada, plural. In spite of restaurants almost always writing the plural on menus, you just get one chile, not more. I think this is akin to Mexicans saying there are eight days in a week instead of seven.

We live in a wacky sea of illogicality.

Chile en nogada is a patriotic plate because it sports the colors of Mexico, red, white and green. It’s also sorta sweet and it’s served tepid. I like chile en nogada a lot.  Quite a few people do not, considering it a big, misplaced dessert.

¡Viva México! Or at least as long as I’m around.

Water & chocolate

AFTER A FIVE-DAY, unusual dry spell here last week, it’s raining again, which is what the Goddess intends for our neck of the woods through all of September.

And, as usual too, I headed downtown yesterday afternoon for a café Americano negro, which I normally get free at my sister-in-law’s coffee shop. But she closed yesterday to rest.

Seems the Independence Day festivities over the weekend pooped her out. She had to sit with her cigarettes and Coke while watching the cash register fill with tourist pesos.

Darn near did her in.

So I walked to another side of the plaza and sat at a different coffee shop where I had to pay. I ordered hot chocolate. It started to rain. I grabbed my camera and panned around.

You might have heard of our latest earthquake. It did quite a bit of damage in Mexico City, more than the previous one a couple of weeks ago. When it struck yesterday we were in a supermarket in the nearby capital of our state.

I was walking down an aisle, and about five little cartons of something fell off the shelf directly in my path. I had felt nothing, but the store alarm went off, and we had to stand in the parking lot about five minutes.

Then we went back in and finished shopping. It was only later that we learned of the extensive damage and deaths in Mexico City. We had initially planned on making our twice-yearly visit to our condo there the first week of this month.

That was when the last quake struck. It was centered far away in the Pacific and didn’t do much damage, if any, in Mexico City. But our neighbors emailed us it was quite a jolt.

We rescheduled the trip for the first week of October, but now I’m a bit concerned. Gotta do it, however. We’re in the northern part of Mexico City, and our building suffered no damage yesterday. Bet it scared the neighbors, however.

Would have scared us too had we been there. Our apartment is on the fourth floor of a five-story building.

Holiday shots

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The smoker.

THE MASS OF people who crowd our usually tranquil main plaza downtown on the evening of September 15 and all day on September 16 for Mexican independence festivities provide excellent photo opportunities.

On one side of the plaza, the scene is the same every year. A band plays loud music while men — and the occasional woman — sit atop dancing horses. The guys are usually plowed, but the horses don’t appear to care.

The fellow above caught my attention. He appeared sober, did not have a beer can in his hand, but he was smoking. Took me about 10 shots before I got this one.

He and his horse were all over the place. Dancing fools.

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The Screamer.

Meet The Screamer. That’s what I call him. He recently reappeared here in town after an absence of a couple of years. I don’t know where he went, but he’s back.

I don’t know his name. I just call him The Screamer because that’s what he does. He’s a vendor who walks the sidewalks with the basket of candies he’s holding. And, between spells of silence, he screams his bloody head off.

You can hear him blocks away.

I don’t mean that he’s hawking his candy loudly. He’s just plain screaming. Clearly, there is something seriously wrong with him. His eyes are crossed, and his fingers are twisted.

He sounds dangerous, but I do not think he is. My child bride, her sister and I were sitting at a sidewalk table a couple of days ago when he approached and offered his wares. He does not speak well. My wife inquired about prices, and he managed to say something we did not clearly understand.

My wife gave him 10 pesos (about 55 cents), and he handed over four or five of the candies. She was only doing it to help him, so she tried to give all but one back to him, but he wouldn’t have it. He insisted on leaving the small pile.

I interpret that to mean he has his pride.

He didn’t bellow during the sale. I was grateful for that.

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(Note: To view almost all of Felipe’s Fabulous Fotos, just click right here. You will not be disappointed.)

Independence day

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TODAY IS Mexico’s version of the Fourth of July.

Here on the mountaintop, we start partying on the previous evening, and we continue today. I don’t participate much because I’m not party people.

I did salute the flag yesterday evening on the plaza as a police band played, and the banner was brought down for its usual overnight siesta indoors.

That makes the third time since I became a citizen in 2005 that I’ve saluted the Mexican flag. It’s not that I avoid it. I just rarely find myself at an event where it’s appropriate.

I’ll admit it feels weird. Wish it didn’t but it does.

While downtown yesterday, I took the photo while sitting on a cement bench on the plaza. And, of course, you’ll find other Fabulous Fotos by Felipe right here, amigos.

¡Viva México! Bring on the tacos and cerveza.