Sunday, March 1, 2009

People Come, People Go, and Mexican Food

So some things happened this weekend...

One is that my friend Cheryl, author of the incomparable Brazilian Chaos blog, is leaving Salvador. She will be missed. She has been my best (and pretty much only) American friend in this crazy place and I'm sorry to see her go. Good luck to you in your future endeavors Cheryl!

Second big news is that Ruan went to spend the weekend with his dad. For the first time ever. He's home again, and it seems it went well. He came back with a new cell phone (well, new/used , but with camera), new sneakers (that was a relief as I've been owing him a pair and now I'm off the hook), and 100 reis (now he can finally 'desbloquear' his Playstation to play pirated games). Much better than he would have done here at home!

Now I'm thinking about the future of this new relationship. I sincerely hope he gets to know his father, and the sister who he hasn't yet met. Obviously this kind of lavish spending will not continue, but that doesn't bother me. To be honest, I was happy about the sneakers, but Ruan just got a new cell phone for Christmas and doesn't need another one, even if it does have a camera. Focus on the practical spending, Beto. Buy him some clothes next time.

My concern is that he's going to see Ruan a couple times and then disappear from his life again. I really hope that doesn't happen.

There were a couple things that happened with Beto and his 'wife' that I found weird. One was that Beto kept calling Ruan his son, and also quoting Ruan as calling him 'my dad.' Well, it's true, he is his dad. But to spend over ten years ignoring your kid, and then suddenly step in and it's all 'my son' and 'my dad' after one day strikes me as a bit odd. Also, I have never heard Ruan refer to him as his father, he always calls him Beto. We'll see if that has indeed changed.

The other thing that was odd was Beto's wife telling me why she wanted Ruan to know his sister. "Just think if he doesn't meet her, and then they run into each other at a party and one thing leads to another... and then they're getting married and all of a sudden their father shows up and they realize..." Well, I can think of a lot of good reasons to know your siblings, and I guess that would be on the list, but probably not at the top. She started repeating this argument and I mentioned that I thought that kind of thing happened more often on the novelas (prime-time soap operas) than in real life. She insisted that that wasn't true, that she worked with someone who had had exactly the same thing happen to them, or one of their relatives or something. They didn't get to the aisle exactly, but he brought her home to meet the folks and they figured it out. Well, in that case, I guess it's a good idea.

But unfortunately they haven't met yet. Apparently her mom is super protective, and very suspicious of Beto, and hasn't wanted them to meet. I hope that changes.

So the plan is for them all to go to the beach next weekend. We'll see how it goes!

Now to the Mexican food. I do like Mexican, I love it in fact, and the only Mexican food I've eaten here in Salvador was extemely mediocre and wildly overpriced. The restaurant has since closed. I've seen ads for other places, but they are all in neighborhoods on the other side of the city. Well, a couple months ago I was surprised to see a Mexican place under construction in the food court at our local mall, not a ten minute walk from here, one of the humblest malls in the city. I didn't have high hopes for it.

One of my favorite phrases is that 'an optomist is never pleasantly surprised.' How true. Tonight I got to eat at the new Mexican place, and I was pleasantly surprised. Admittedly, I set the bar quite low, at Taco Bell quality. I'm happy to say that it was definitely, if not substantially, better than Taco Bell. And the price was much more reasonable than my last Mexican meal here in Salvador. Even better, they sell flour and corn tortillas for takeaway so I can actually start making Mexican meals here at the house! Yes, I know I could make my own tortillas here at the house, just like I could fix the missing floor tiles in the hall and install the ceiling fan in the kitchen, and a million other things I will never get around to. Buying a dozen tortillas to make some tacos or burritos is something I can relate to. Now if only Evani liked corn tortillas...

Just one final note in the interest of fairness and balance: there is a fantastic Mexican place here in Bahia, but it is in Lençois, about a six hours drive from here. It's run by a Mexican American guy from New Mexico and I highly recommend it to anyone who visits Lençois. It's not 'Tex Mex' food, it's a distinct regional cuisine and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Now I've got to try that Thai restaurant in Rio Vermelho...

8 comments:

Mrs. S said...

I imagine that has to be difficult for Ruan to go through...I am hoping for the best for his sake! But it is always nice to be spoiled!

The one thing I am TRULY sad about moving to Brazil, is the lack of Mexican food. I LOVE Mexican. I could eat it every. single. day. In fact, when Sidnei was here with me, it drove him crazy how often I wanted to eat it. I suppose I will have to learn to make flour tortillas and salsa...but like you...I'd rather just buy some!

markuza said...

Well I hope you don't like Indian food :) then again, this might not be an issue in other parts of Brazil...

lovelydharma said...

Hey there! I've never commented on your blog before - just laziness, not lurking :-) but I have enjoyed following your adventures!

I've been craving Mexican food like crazy lately and I've never never seen anything close here in Minas. I actually tried making my own corn tortillas but didn't have the right corn flour (harina) with the lime. It was a disaster. I made hockey pucks. Any suggestions?

You know, my father disappeared in and out of my life starting when I was 11. As a teenager I made the decision to mentally divorce him. As an adult I've tried to reconcile a relationship. It's so hard either way. Ruan can have two fathers and I'm sure it will be better for him to know his biological father and sister. The depth of that relationship he will be able to decide for himself as he get's older. But the stability and love he get's from you will be irreplaceable. You sound like a pretty darn good dad too!

Robyn

markuza said...

Hi Robyn- I could, uh... send you some tortillas? Knowing the correios they would arrive as stale hockey pucks anyways. Regarding Ruan's dad, it's really hard for me to imagine what's going on inside his head right now, or even over all these years re: that side of his family. I try to do right by him, but sometimes I think I don't try hard enough. Thanks for enjoying the blog - I've signed up for your feed - Minas is awesome!

Pedra said...

Hi Mark...I'm glad we got to go eat moqueca before I took off. I'm really going to miss you and hope things work out for you down there. Keep me posted and I'll keep reading your blog :) And maybe I'll start a new blog about moving back to Portland or something!

Christina said...

Hi, new here and dying for mexican food. Where is this marvel you speak of?

markuza said...

Pedra- you are missed already. I hope your new blog contrasts the Salvador vs. Portland experience! And I look forward to hearing about your graffiti photo exhibit :) (we never did do that second graffiti tour...)

markuza said...

Christina- yikes, not sure I'd call it a marvel... but it is burritos and tacos and they even give out free chips, which is something you can't even buy in the supermarket here. It's in Shopping Lapa here in the Centro. Third floor food court. After you eat there's a great ice cream spot on the first floor- enjoy!