snapshots of mexico, literal and figurative

To taco or not to taco, there is no question
March 31, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Update | Tags: , , ,

It’s all been building up to this point, and it hasn’t been easy. Months spent acclimating to the city, making contacts, identifying locations, and becoming familiar with the necessary materials is all about to come together into the ultimate accomplishment of my time in Mexico. No, I’m not talking about my Fulbright project. I’m talking about “Taco Week”.

Yes, the humble taco, a tiny pair of tortillas, some meat, and a little chopped onion and cilantro, will be the focus of my attention for an entire week as I search high and low for the Perfect Taco. Will it be suadero in Del Valle? Pastor in Condesa? Tripa in Xochimilco? Carnitas in el Centro? There is only one way for me to truly find out.

My friends, I plan to eat a full 100 tacos in 7 days… and enjoy every last one. That’s more than 14 a day—easily two meals; a taco practically every hour and a half; enough corn flour, animal parts, and salsa to kill a weaker man. Stay tuned: I’ll post my notes and totals online from this epic challenge against fullness, intestinal parasites, and future coronary artery disease.

Ambitious? Yes. Delicious? Clearly. Completely and utterly disgusting? Absolutely.

“Taco Week” is simply a working title, by the way, so please, send some creative suggestions as to what I should call this timeless pursuit of glory…

I know it’s been a long time since I actually updated you all on what I’ve been doing, so here’s the last month and a half in abridged form: I finally made it to Michoacan for my project, and had a very productive interview with the director of Seguro Popular (the program I’m studying). After that, I took a couple days after that to travel around the state, enjoying both the historic, Spanish-influenced capital and the heavily indigenous island-village of Janitzio in mystical Lake Patzcuaro. Our midterm Fulbright reunion was towards the end of February, complete with each of us giving a presentation on our research (and other experiences). I spent about a week earlier this month back in Chicago, partly to take care of taxes/financial aid/a haircut, but mostly just as a birthday visit. The past few weeks have involved a few short trips, one hell of a soccer game, the same contacting-of-interviewees-problems on my project as before, many coffee shop hours spent relearning medicine, and, of course, many, many delicious tacos.

Fun Mexican Word: Porra – The serious fans at soccer games, as well as the cheers they do. A-mer-i-ca! AGUILAS! A-mer-i-ca! RAH RAH RAH! (not that I’d ever cheer for the NY Yankees of Mexican Soccer…)

Picture: Unfortunately, some fool left his camera in a cab at O’Hare when flying back to Mexico City. Lucky, that fool’s sister and girlfriend rescued the camera, though it remains in Chicago.

Statue on Janitzio, from the last Mexico set I have

Statue on Janitzio, from the last Mexico set I have

Something I miss (aside from all of you, of course): Vegetarian food. I enjoy meat, and I love Mexican food (after all, why else would I do “Taco Week”?), but various vegetarian meals while home a few weeks ago reminded me how much I love those, too. While it’s not impossible to find the sort of vegetarian foods I like here, it’s definitely not particularly easy, either.

Something I like about DF: Art Deco buildings. They aren’t skyscrapers like most of the cool art deco in Chicago, NYC, Detroit, and other American cities, but smaller residential and commercial buildings stretching from el Centro through Roma, Condesa, and up and down much of central Insurgentes. Less cluttered than the heavily decorated colonial facades, with more character than the sleek modernism of newer buildings, and often painted bright colors, they make for very attractive streetscapes.

Saludos, wish me luck,



3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

They shall sing songs and tell tales of your endeavor throughout the ages.

Comment by Dave Pirotte


Comment by Jack Graham

i support your taco endeavors. just be sure to eat a lot of the pesce and shrimp tacos because those are Awesome.

Comment by ernest

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