Friday, September 26, 2008

Living 'Round a Rosy

When we first hit this neighborhood, way back in May, it seemed on the fringe of things. I mean, not like before when we were up in the mountains. It's funny, though, because up there, it was so remote, I got to know the few businesses very well and had my rounds: the green healthy juice lady, Julita who ran the store and comedor, the little library open in the late afternoon, the lady at the cheap barber shop, the play room and its staff at the park. When you think about it, what else do you need?

I thought I needed centro. It's what Portlanders for some reason call "close-in", meaning near downtown. So, we moved here, on the absolute fringe of centro, and I promptly felt a little lost.

Now it's four months later, and I've made some happy discoveries. There's Plastic Man, the guy who runs the cleaning products and plastic toy store around the corner. He seems to know absolutely everything, like when the trash truck isn't going to show up and when it's going to come at exactly 11am instead of 8am, and why.

There's water guy who pushes an extremely heavy cart loaded with water jugs up and down our hill, servicing the neighborhood.

There's Tortilleria Elvis, where the tortillas look nothing like Elvis, but they are hot and fresh and 80 cents a kilo.

There's the hidden little park four blocks away with a slide the perfect height for Geni to climb, and that glides to a gentle landing. I don't know why, but a good portion of slides in Mexico are built very steep, involving the child sort of crash falling on their butt as a landing. I see it over and over again and wonder why a Portland-style slide can't made here.

And then there's the jewel of my life these days: Jugos Rosy. Rosy runs a little hot comal grill where she makes mushroom tacos, squash flower empanadas, spicy chicken taquitos, and also fresh-squeezed juices. You pull up a stool and ask, "Que hay?" and then it all happens, beginning with her patting out fresh masa for hand-done tortillas. But the real surprise was that I already knew Rosy, I just didn't realize it. She is the mother of one of my students from the English school when I first arrived here. So, upon meeting her, I felt like I had a friend in my new neighborhood. And the mushroom tacos are 90 cents. That's friendship, man.

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