The very small bathroom contains a sink, toilet with no seat, which is typical in rural Mexican homes, and a shower area with a sloping floor for drainage. No hot water. A stack of toothbrushes, a bar of soap, and a few tubes of toothpaste sat on a small counter next to the sink, which I took in without judgment or opinion. It’s just what is. I knew ahead of time it would be critical to suspend any sense of judgment regarding how local people lived. I was trying to be an adventurer in the real sense of the word.
The noises during the night were different and noisy. First it was dogs barking, which was later replaced by birds singing, and around 3:00 am hundreds of roosters in the barrio, neighborhood crowed into the early morning hours.
I woke up around 6:30 Sunday morning to the sounds of people stirring, motorbikes passing, and dogs barking. I’d slept in my jeans and T-shirt and got out of my hamaca, put on my flip-flops and used the bathroom again. Sitting on a toilet without a seat was a new experience that I got used to but didn’t feel entirely comfortable with.
I walked through the living room out on the patio where Mama, her older sister, Alondra’s sister, and Padre were stoking 3 fires simultaneously and cooking Sunday Comida, the biggest meal of the week. There were huge pails of cooked turkeys, various types of peppers and onions being grilled and giving off an aroma that assaulted my nose and made my eyes tear, shredded cooked pork, turkey skin pouches the size of footballs being stuffed with something and sewn up in the cooked turkeys and boiled in a rich gravy with lots of seasonings along with several of other dishes cooking on fires. The olores, smells, were overwhelmingly inviting but Comida was still hours away so I went to the store with Alondra and bought some cookies for breakfast. She made me coffee, which was instant and unfamiliar to my SF taste buds, but sufficed.
Like the day before, relatives came and went in droves. Some stayed and helped cook, others watched television, and some just sat and talked with each other. The informality was refreshing and no one ever thought to call before showing up.
Sunday Comida was a major taste sensation. The stuffed turkeys that had been cooking for hours in a heavily seasoned broth were cut up and the stuffing put into bowls. The grilled peppers and onions were put out with the turkey along with a huge stack of fresh tortillas about a foot tall. There was also a dish whose name I can’t remember but it was finely diced turkey gizzards and other internal organs that were cooked in two huge turkey skins for hours with muy picante seasonings.
There’s always some sort of soup to put turkey and all the other ingredients into and eat with a spoon and fingers. All I can say is that it was muy rico, delicious, rich in flavors and a real taste sensation. We drank beer with Comida and people came and went, eating and talking during the 2-hour late afternoon lunch. It was remarkable how easily the family traffic flowed.
After Comida, having not slept much the night before I lay in my hamaca and fell asleep instantly. An hour later I woke and sat on the patio in the middle of the family flow and spoke with Padre for a while. His Spanish was easy to understand and we spoke at length about life in Teabo and other topics he was interested in discussing. After I told him about my novia, girlfriend, Nancy he invited both of us to visit at Navidad, Christmas for a few days. But after describing my experience to Nancy she said she didn’t feel quite so adventurous so I’ll likely go back to Teabo again on my own. I understood how she felt without judgment.
Instead of taking a colectivo back to Merida since they don’t run on Sundays Alondra suggested we take the bus but when it was time to leave around 3:00 pm her uncle who had brought her abuelo, her 86-year old grandfather to Comida, offered to drive us to a town near Merida. When we arrived in the town Alondra, her novio, and I took a bus to Merida. It made a lot of stops along the half-hour trip and I watched the scenery change from sparsely populated to a thickly populated one. I noticed over the weekend how quickly Alondra transformed from a Merida university student to a pueblo girl again.
I took a taxi from the bus terminal to my apartment, a ten-minute ride. When I arrived home I collapsed from exhaustion, took a long shower, put all my laundry together to take to the lavenderia Monday morning, and fell asleep for an hour. That night I ate some fruit I had and woke up today, Monday morning, and went to a café to write this blog with help from 3 espreso dobles, double espressos.
I’ll need some time to process the weekend in depth because it was so packed with new experiences and people. It was an extraordinary 36 hours I was agredecido, grateful to have experienced.