Thursday, December 05, 2013

Roma, Reforma & Torta

I watched the sun set a haze-induced tangerine past a sign for Dorian Grey.  I wandered out through Roma into the tree-lined center of the Avenida Obregon, past statues of buxom Mayan  goddesses, taut Aztec gods bearing maiz and phantasmal colorful creatures of mâché dreamscape.  Interspersed on the long avenida stroll were statues of Greek myths and European romanticism that made me recall my Parisian summer.

I tacked back past my apartment to the giant mercado next door to try to get some caldo (soup) but the markets had closed for the night.  I wandered down Avenida Bucareli, past lackadaisical riot police.

I stopped in a pulque bar to try the milky-white fermented sap of the maguey agave.  The alcoholic agave ferment has a sour, yeasty taste- with a consistency that offers a bit of viscous.  Not the worst thing I have ever tried, but I think it is something I will only try once.

I crossed Paseo de Reforma, and continued my stroll towards Revolucion, passing putas in short skirts and high heels plying the streets for customer.  A haughty tranny gave me a wink, and I just laughed and smiled back.

And I wandered through the bustling night markets and tiny taco stands.  I love the perpetual energy that Mexico City has. Paris is more debonair and New York has more diversity, but I don't think there are few cities on the planet that match the tangible energy of Mexico City.  The combination of population crush in a city that is both historic, cosmopolitan and gritty.

I sat at a torta shop on the corner, pondering my affections for D.F. as I munched a delicious torta de polla- a shredded chicken and quesillo (shredded white cheese) sandwich served in a hot crusty pan francese
with tomato and avocado slathered in alternating rows of red and green salsas, guacamole and topped with pickled onions, carrots and jalapenos.  It was deliciou, and I am of firm belief that Mexico needs to do much more to promote its tortas as part of gastrodiplomacy.  They are as much a staple as tacos, and more ubiquitous than burritos (which I have rarely had in Mexico).  I want more Mexican torta shops in the world!

I headed into the metro underground and waited for a crowded metro train.  As the people filtered on the train, I slowly realized that the car was too full for another person.  I exchanged a laugh with an African-American fellow who was in the same boat as me.  We got to chatting about packed train cars, in India, Japan and otherwise.  His name was Bruce, and we chatted some more on the ride and route.  He was motorcycling from North Carolina down to the bottom of Argentina, and back.  He figured his trek would take him about six months.  He was an interesting fellow, he had been in the Army- stationed in fun places like Iraq and Afghanistan.  I had fonder affections for Iraq than he.

We headed in the same general direction, and I was going to grab a drink with the fellow but exhaustion of the previous day's travel caught up with me and I begged off to get some rest.

It is nice to be back on the road, where I met such interesting people in transit.

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