I just returned from a three day visit to the lovely city of Izamal, Yucatan. As you will recall, this is the city where our friend, Carlos, married the lovely Andrea last July. We were witnesses at their wedding.
Andrea's family were kind enough to extend an invitation for us to join them as the city celebrated the Procession of the Black Jesus. I have never heard of the black Jesus and do not understand what he may represent to the Catholic community. This event is celebrated every year on October 18.
We did not want to impose on the family so we booked a room in the same hotel where we had stayed in July. Our room faced the town square and had a small balcony. Actually, the town has two squares adjacent to each other. Imagine two squares with the left top corner of one touching the bottom right corner of the other. Each of these squares was ringed with vendors of all kinds. Mostly selling cheap trinkets, leather goods, baby and adult clothes, shoes and of course, my beloved salchipapas.
We dropped Carlos and Andrea off at the parent's house, said our hellos and kissed quite a few cheeks. With promised to meet up later, we headed to our hotel and settled in.
We had agreed to meet in the park immediately across from our hotel at 7pm. Naturally, we were there at the appointed time. Not so everybody else. In typical Mexican fashion, they came sauntering up to us at 8:30pm with no apologies or explanations as to why they were so late. Or why, since everybody has a cellphone, they did not at least text that they were running late. We have so come to expect this type of behaviour and time telling that it really did not phase us too much. It is irritating but certainly not life threatening.
A nice evening was spent sauntering the two squares and perusing the items for sale. Of course, we bought our "girlfriend" Isel, anything she wanted. And put her on several rides. Speaking of rides, Carlos and I took a turn on the tilt-a-whirl. He almost got sick but I enjoyed it. I will be posting about that ride later.
The next day we had been invited to the family home for lunch/dinner. Grandma was doing the cooking so we knew it was going to be authentic Yucatan and good. And we were right. Upon arriving at the house and getting and receiving all the obligatory cheek kisses, I sauntered out to the back yard to see what Grandma was up to. We had already heard how she had forced everybody out of the house the day before with her charring of the chilies. (chili peppers are placed over an open flame and charred until they are almost like charcoal) The fumes they give off during this process are evidently very strong.
I was greatly amused and intrigued to see Grandma at her cooking pot. Her huge pot of boiling chicken pieces had been placed on a grill held up by two cement blocks. Under the pot she carefully tended an open fire as her pot of chicken boiled away. The broth was black. Jet black. This had happened with the addition of the charred chilis. The aroma coming out of that open fire pot was stupendous. A bit later she removed all of the chicken pieces and replaced them with huge albondigas (meatballs) which absorbed all of the flavor of that black chili broth. The dish she was creating is called chili relleno.
Prior to the main meal, we were offered a snack of boiled rice and lentils that had been rendered in pork fat. Not very healthy, but certainly delicious. Especially since it was served with hand made thick corn tortillas!
I ate until my lips could not stand the heat from the chilis. Then I had a bit more and stopped!
Tomorrow we'll have another homemade meal, talk about the procession and the festivities of the night. Stay tuned.