(co-mee-da) is what Mexicans eat in the middle of the day. It's their big meal, like our dinner. It actually makes a lot of sense to have the big meal then instead of waiting until a few hours before bedtime. I just can't imagine stopping whatever I am doing in the middle of the day to cook a large meal though. But readers will remember that I hate to cook anyway!
Our favorite watering hole downtown is a bar called Adelita's Tequillaria. We have been going there for four years, sometimes 2-3 nights a week. So we have become quite good friends with the owner, Paty. And of her occassional visiting sister from Cancun, Elizabeth. Elizabeth was in town last week and she invited us over to her house for comida yesterday.
We took the people ferry over to Cancun and Paty, who also lives in Cancun, met us and we climbed into her illegally but ignored by everybody parked car. She whisked us off to Elizabeth's house. She lives just a few blocks from Mercado 28, for those of you familiar with Cancun. It is very much centrally located. In the course of our conversation, we discovered that her family had lived in this house for 35 years! Cancun was started in 1970 so they were really pioneers when they moved in. She said there was no electricity or running water back then. She had some interesting stories to tell and I bet a lot more yet to be heard!
When Mexicans entertain, it is usually a formal, rather stiff, affair. Not hoity toity formal, just super polite the guest is the most important person in the world polite. The afternoon started out in this typical fashion. We were served refreshments in the living room and small talk was made. We met the mother, who lives with her and Elizabeth's beautiful 9 year old daughter, Jennifer. (Elizabeth is divorced) Then a cousin arrived to (check us out) say hello. Then another. Then a brother. This is also very typical. Extended family is always around.
The house was unusual in that the bedrooms and living room were on the main floor and the kitchen and dining room were on the second. I understood why when we went upstairs to eat. The dining room had large windows on two sides, letting in all kinds of light and breezes and was a very pleasant room. As is the custom, we were seated at the dining room table while the three women (Elizabeth, Paty and Mom) filled our plates in the kitchen and brought out the side dishes. We were served first but we insisted that we would not begin to eat until all the ladies were served and seated. Boy, did they scramble to get their plates on the table!
We were served a typical Yucatecan dish, which I promptly forgot the name of! It was chicken boiled in a broth with spices and onions. Very delicious. This was served with rice and tortillas. There was also a hot sauce to put on it but we were warned that it was probably too hot for our almost virgin tongues! I opted to have some of the pepper that had been directly roasted on the gas stove so that it was charred black in places. Although I was told that it was not hot, I beg to differ! I about scorched my tongue. Of course, they were all amazed that I thought it was so hot but a good laugh was had by all as I stuffed tortillas into my mouth trying to obsorb the hot acid spreading this heat throughout my mouth.
We were almost finished eating when another cousin arrived with a visiting friend from New Zealand. Any hope of maintaining the formal atmosphere disappeared at his appearance. We had met this cousin, Tommy, before and he is a riot. And his English is near to perfect. It was a welcome change from all that Spanish! (actually this a well educated family and they all, including the 9 year old, speak enough English to make our Spanglish conversations work!) As the two newcomers devoured their meals, we all chatted. Well, really, the conversation was flowing and everybody was talking at the same time. Spanish and English was flying around the table and it was a delight to have somebody say something in English and the next person respond to it in Spanish and the next in Spanglish. We were all laughing and having a marvelous time.
After 3.5 hours, we decided it was time to take our leave. Since we were in Cancun and never waste a trip over there, Tommy offered to drive us to our next stop, Sam's Club. He wanted to buy some Vodka and it is cheaper there. So many thank yous, many hugs and many kisses later, we were out the door. What a great afternoon. We feel so special for having had this experience and that we have such good Mexican friends that they readily invite us into their homes and lives. Being rich is just not about money!