Oaxaca mural

Oaxaca mural

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Slowly Emerging from my Funk

I cannot remember the last time that I was as depressed as I was yesterday.  The chilly, rainy weather here in Mexico City was a perfect match for my mood.  I did not leave the apartment except to pick up my laundry.  The doorman of the apartment building and the lady at the laundry commiserated with me.  I think that the entire population of Mexico is saddened and mystified by our election results.  Their attitude tends to be more philosophical... "We have managed to survive with an idiot President for four years.  So will you."   Of course Peña Nieto doesn't have access to a nuclear button or wield the same type of clout to mess up the entire world.

I tried to take a nap since I had not slept the night before, but I was unable.  I spent a great deal of time writing emails and reading those that had arrived from friends and family.  My cousin Hans Peter suggested (only half jokingly, I suspect) that I could come to Norway and seek asylum.  As much as I enjoyed my visit to Norway last summer, I don't think I could handle the high cost of living or the long, dark winters.

In the evening my friend Alejandro and I went out for supper.  By this time I was actually feeling hungry since I only had a bowl of cereal all day.   It was still raining, and, because of the road construction going on, the streets are a muddy mess.  I didn't want to go far.  Right across the street from the apartment there is a nightclub.  We had never realized that there was a restaurant attached to it.   We looked at the menu at the entrance.  There were a lot of interesting, traditional Mexican dishes .  The prices were rather high, but I figured I deserved a bit of indulgence.  So we went inside.  

The service from the very beginning was superb... very formal but at the same time friendly.  One of the appetizers they had was "papadzules", a favorite of mine from the Yucatan.  "Papadzules" are similar to an enchilada but are filled with hard boiled eggs and covered with a pumpkin seed sauce.  They are delicious, although not every restaurant gets them just right.  We shared an order, and they were perfect.  When I complimented the waiter on how delicious they were, he brought out the chef so that I could tell him personally.   For our next course we each had soup.  I had a creamy soup filled with vegetables, chunks of cheese and tortilla strips.
For our main course Alejandro had Mexican meatballs.  (I had a taste and they were very good.)  I ordered the chicken breast in "mole poblano".  The chicken was a tad dry, but the "mole" was excellent.  Alejandro is a "mole" connoisseur, and when he had a taste of the sauce, he concurred.  We finished with dessert.  Alejandro had a cornmeal cake with "rompope" (the Mexican version of eggnog) drizzled over it.  I had crepes with "cajeta" (Mexican caramel).

I asked for the bill, and it was the most expensive meal that we have had on this trip... 805 pesos for the two of us.   But that comes to about $40 U.S.  Forty dollars for all that food, plus drinks (I had sangría, and Alejandro had a Coke Zero and a cappuccino), plus the wonderful service and lovely atmosphere!  It would cost twice or triple that if you could find a comparable dining experience in Cleveland.  (That's not meant as a slam against Cleveland.  We have lots of excellent restaurants, but I doubt if you could find those particular dishes.)

Well, as you can tell from my description of supper, I was beginning to come out of my state of depression.  Also, I am starting to formulate a plan of action for the future.  That is helping to improve my frame of mind.

This morning is still a grey, and dreary outside... but I got up and fixed myself some "quesadillas" for breakfast.  The next four years are going to be dreadful, but unless that idiot triggers a nuclear war or a worldwide depression, I intend to survive.    


  1. I was hoping you'd post about the Mexican perspective on the election since you're there right now, so thank you for that. I haven't been able to find words to express my disappointment and fear. Is the peso still way down after Tuesday night? I admit, my first thought was that at least now's a good time to plan a trip to Mexico...? ¡Abrazos a Ud.!

    1. Hi Meredith,
      Yes, the Mexican people are very upset by the election results. Alejandro's parents are not only sad, but concerned about me.

      The peso fell to 20.7 to the dollar. It then stabilized a bit, but today it is back to 20.5. In comparison, for years the exchange rate has been between 10 and 12 pesos to the dollar. So, yes, although Mexico has always been affordable (outside of the fancy beach resorts), this is an especially good time to visit.

      It looks like I will be spending a lot of time down here in the coming year. So if you two want to take a trip, I know an old gringo who enjoys playing tour guide. I usually take friends to Mérida for a first taste of Mexico. But you two are seasoned travelers. I don't think you would be too intimidated by humongous Mexico City. There really are a lot of great places to see here.
      Abrazos de tu viejo profe,

  2. Thank you! We may take you up on the offer...after Chuck renews his expired passport. :-)