I heard this quote from a wise Mexican worker. When you have a free day, enjoy it! Have some fun.
Sunday is the day Max and I go out to enjoy the city and all it offers. As we start our walk toward the zocalo (main square), I can hear a band playing Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood.”
Couples of all ages dance. The older the sweethearts, the better they dance.
Max and I join in using the tango steps we learned from Rodrigo, no matter what the tune. We’re having fun and nobody cares if we get it right or not.
Max and I join in dancing. We’re having fun and nobody cares if we get it right or not.
Winded after a few dances, I use my fan known as “Yucatecan air-conditioning” to cool off. We move along the perimeter of the large park, gazing at kiosks offering handmade wares: puppets on strings, decorative flags, children’s toys, jewelry, wall hangings, blouses, skirts, leather goods.
I hear drumbeats and jingling bells. I see large feather headdresses bobbing up and down over the heads of the crowd and I strain to see. The music rushes toward a frantic end, then stops. We’re too late to see the ancient Mayan dancers. No matter. They’ll be back another Sunday.
The crowd shifts and moves on. Out stroll traditional dancers in bright colorful embroidered dresses, huge flowers in the women’s hair. The tune starts and dancers clop, clop on cobblestones.
I take Max’s arm and we meander under arches of buildings hundreds of years old. Quick mariachi music enlivens the senses.
On a street corner, a guitarist strums a familiar Mexican tune.
When we pass a church, incense flows from gigantic open carved wood doors.
I see flowers everywhere: in buckets at the farmer’s market, embroidered on traditional dresses, plastic ones decorating a horse carriage cab, painted on walls, tumbling from gardens, filling terra cotta pots, paper flowers adorn shrines, cloth flowers are sewn onto quilts and wall hangings.
Further on, we meander to another park and see couples dancing salsa on a raised platform under huge old trees.
“Care for another dance?” Max asks, spinning me around.
“Too hot,” I say, wiping my brow with a kerchief. “Besides, I’m hungry! Let’s forget about the diet, just for today.”
We immediately head toward our favorite restaurant. The waiters greet us with smiles, handshakes and hugs. “Es un milagro!” (“It’s a miracle!”) they say, using a favorite phrase.
Other diners, when they pass our table, are quick to wish us “Buen provecho” (Good appetite) even if they don’t know us. Refreshing to have strangers wishing you well.
When I scan the menu, I can already taste various flavors: sopa de lima (chicken soup served with half a lime and with strips of tortilla, onion and green peppers); fresh fish a la plancha con ajo (fresh grilled fish from the Gulf dotted with toasted garlic); tacos stuffed with chicken, avocado, and pico de gallo (a condiment of chopped onion, tomato and spicy chilies); smooth guacamole dusted with cheese and served with crisp tortilla chips.
In honor of Mexican Independence Day, Max and I treat ourselves to chilies en nogada (poblano chilies stuffed with a mixture of meat, dried fruit, spices and topped with a white walnut sauce then sprinkled with red pomegranate seeds.) The combination reflects the colors of Mexico’s flag.
Because it’s Sunday, we treat ourselves to dessert. We go into an old fashioned looking ice cream parlor complete with small, round, marble topped tables and antique bent iron chairs.
The most refreshing dessert after a long, hot stroll is sorbeta (sorbet). I like the rose petal flavor from Michoacan state. Max loves the corn sorbeta with kernels of corn but we have our doubts about the one with chunks of Gouda.
After dessert, Max asks, “How about some people watching?”
“Is a margarita included?”
“Absolutely! Maybe two.”
We sit in a park café and watch local people and tourists pass by. Street vendors selling fans, hammocks, and cigars try to entice the tourists but leave us alone. They know us and wave, greeting us like old friends.
What a blessing to live in this vibrant city and to be warmed by the many smiles, the golden thread that runs through everything.
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