I don’t know if it’s a personal record, but the truth is I’ve been in Mexico for two days and already gone drunk to bed twice. One thing is to blame for that: The Mezcal.
And I speak about good Mezcals. The ones that trustworthy Mexicans recommend are equally good to drink as Tequilas. The first encounter I had with Mezcal while in the country it’s from – Mexico – happened the night I arrived to Mexico DF.
A Norwegian friend of mine put me in contact with a Mexican girl she knows that offered me to stay in her flat for some days. Fortunate as I am with my friends, the welcome committee this Mexican girl put together couldn’t be better for a slightly nervous and emotional (after saying goodbye to everybody in Canada) girl starting the third big solo travel of her life.
Maria and her boyfriend were up waiting for me with big smiles on their faces at 1130pm when I arrived with a taxi from the airport. So was their tiny cat Fer, that welcomed me by running wildly from one living room corner to another, stopping only to look at me from behind the sofa. Considering I’m probably the biggest woman he has ever seen, I don’t blame her.
Maria showed me what was going to be “my room for as long as I needed” where I left my things before the couple insisted we had a beer and a Mezcal. We sat down in the brown sofa next to the wall covered with a full book shelf. I spotted mostly academic content in genres like politics, history, anthropology and human rights.
Part from books, shelfs in the living room was decorated with all kinds of ancient Maya sculptures and some old records. Maria’s boyfriend surprised me with a serious interest in Mezcal and showed me his selection. As if wine tasting, we smelled the different types while he taught me their attributes. Then Maria came back with a plate of chopped apples and three types of chilli powder to eat in between the sipping.
“Remember to only sip the Mezcal. What you guys do in Europe with the Tequila shots is something you’ve invented. … And it’s dangerous!” they told me.
I agreed to that and confirmed I also had some drunken-on-tequila-stories in the bag. I don’t know why foreigners started shotting Tequila or Mezcal, but it may have to do with the taste of the bad variants we use. Because quite frankly, a good Tequila or Mezcal doesn’t give you the chills every time you take a small sip.Besides the fruit-on-the-side trick is very smart. Mexicans are of world class with regard to mixing sweet and spicy, bitter and hot.
“Let’s have a beer and a mezcal” led to at least the triple meanwhile we spent two hours of intense chatting about their study times in the UK (from where the girl knows my friend), kidnapping in Mexico, Human Right issues, Indigenous people, the purpose of my journey, advices for the city and had plenty of quesadillas.
We went to bed and I remember they said that the best about it is apparently that a good one doesn’t give you a hungover…
Now two days later, I can confirm this is a fact that is 50% true.
Because although it’s true I woke up fresh as a cucumber yesterday (and bragged about it all day, which probably resulted in chugging it again on my second night), I woke up looking like this today:
At first it took me a while to memorize were I got that necklace…
Then I remembered it all! An elder gentleman (supposedly a bank director) gave it to me during a karaoke session we both ended up in yesterday night. Randomly I bumped into him, his colleague and another lady that were out for some after office drinks.
I was on my way to a Couchsurfer meeting in a bar when I passed by them and for no specific reason – other than enjoying random encounters – I accepted their loud offer to have a drink with them.
As all things in life: One thing led to the other, and here I’m sitting slightly fringed out with a cup of coffee, yet very happy to be two interesting Mezcal experiences richer.
Some might argue that I’m not being careful enough when I bump into people like this, but trust that I definitely take my precautions. Part of my nature since I was a kid is that I keep running into random people. And I love it. In this last case I could have just left the drunken bank men after a little while in order to make it to the Couch surfing thing, but as I had no commitment there either – other than getting to know people – I somehow felt that the meeting I already had with the loud Mexicans was interesting.
It was especially nice to hear all the stories from the oldest man’s life. He had the saddest looking puppy eyes in the middle of a very wrinkly face, and told me he had survived three marriages. After two kids and ten slightly dramatic years with one lady he went through a hard separation before he fell in love again with a much younger woman. Her dream was to get kids, but apparently she wasn’t fertile so they had to go through a long process of applications and agreements for adoption. When their adopted kids were 4 and 6 the mother got cancer and died within four months, leaving my old friend a single father of two at the age of 55.
He told me that to get through it he had to take one day at the time, and that now looking back, the experience has changed his way of seeing love and life. To the better. Now, twelve years older he is the proud father of four and step-dad of two. With glittering eyes he showed me the pictures of everybody.
Then we talked for another hour before insisted on adopting me. At least being here for me no matter what. He was like: If you ever need something in Mexico, Ill help you out. After all this I see you as a daughter.
True story. Though it might have been the Mezcal that spoke of course..
Anyway, meetings like this is what makes traveling so beautiful and interesting. It forces you to trust people and listen, to see the world with other eyes.. And even more so when you travel alone. Which is what I love about it!
And I say that without recommending that people drink too much Mezcal, of course. For Christ sake, CONSUME RESPONSIBLY guys. Ill tell myself that from now on too, as ever before.
Still fascinates me though… That the below plant can create what it can in people. 😉