Monday, December 08, 2008

Oddities of San Miguel

There are so many interesting and odd and unusual things about this city, I just can't even quite get my mind around them all. I have compiled a few of the most interesting, combined with a photo, for your reading pleasure. Ah culture, how I love you.

So first we have Mega. Aka- kind of like Super Wal Mart but way more intense and way more overwhelming. It's a giant grocery store slash discount store slash all-purpose everything store. And it's as crowded as Wal Mart. And as absolutely and utterly chaotic. And then some. I was so overwhelmed I nearly had to leave lest my system overload. I do not recommend going at 1pm on a Sunday afternoon.

Then there is the great Pollo Feliz. Not pronounced like the Ralph Lauren shirts, but Poh-yo. Someone described it as "Kind of like your KFC" but I'm pretty sure that person has never been to KFC. It's a gynormous fast-ish food restaurant that only sells chickens. With a Play Place for children that puts even the greatest U.S. McDonalds to shame. We ate here one day after church, and wow, it was intense.
And oh the parades. This is a town of fiestas. Night and day, there is a reason to partay. And with any great fiesta comes a parade, obvi. Literally through the entire city. It's almost like they spontaneously appear out of thin air. In the 3 weeks we have been here there have been at least 4 parades. We're talking during the week in the middle of the day. All kinds of randomness, loud bass, and mariachi bands. And people lining the street 3 deep on either side to watch. You would think they would get tired of parades, what with their frequency. Oh but no. They're out flashing their cameras, taking videos, hootin and hollerin as if they'd never seen such a sight. It's pretty much amazing.

Perhaps the greatest curiosity (to me) is the donkey tequila train. I don't know exactly how it works, but from what I could gather, after a wedding the bride and groom process around the town (from where to where I don't really know) closely followed by a donkey (burro), closely followed by all the wedding guests. Singing. Screaming. Dancing. What, you may ask, is the purpose of the donkey? The most important purpose, that is what. Tequila. The donkey carries the tequila that everyone drinks. As they parade. And sing and scream and dance. It sounds kind of wacky to me, but hey, who am I to judge? If I got to have a parade on my wedding day with tequila at the ready, I probably would have no problemo with that kind of day. Nope, not at all.
Our first day we noticed in the main square that people were eating corn off of a stick. Not like corn dogs, like actual corn on the cob. And it had some kind of white flakey stuff and red powder. We decided to investigate this curiosity. As it turns out, one of the main street vendor treats is this local favorite... Corn on the cob, smeared with mayo (yes, the condiment), then covered in shredded cheese and chili powder. Two of our crew got it one night, and I can say without hesitation that after trying one bite I never need to eat it. Ever again. Maybe it was because the corn tasted like it had been sitting in water for 2 days. Or maybe because I don't so much dig chili powder and corn together. But wow, people eat that up like it's candy around here. Who knows, maybe I need to "develop" a taste for it...
Lastly is the circus. One day we were walking, and all of a sudden, boom, there was the circus. And a llama in the back of a pickup truck. I can't quite imagine what a circus in Mexico is like, but from what I hear, it's pretty special. Any outfit that carries its animals around in the back of pickup trucks has got to be truly truly interesting. If only I had gotten a picture of the camel that looked like its humps were out of place...
While there are many more such marvels, I will leave you with these few. Many more to talk about, in time.

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