8 AM came very quickly. The sunrise view of the big lake with impressively steep green mountains behind was breathtaking.
Marcos, Armando, and I packed into his pickup to head back into town. We passed by two houses which Armando remarked were possible luchita stops. Nobody was there yet but except for the cows. Before luchita, it was time to prepare the taco shop for the day.
Armando prepared the meat on the rotisserie while Marcos and I set up the tables and grill. On this Sunday morning, the town started to come alive as various stalls started cooking meat on the sidewalks.
With the stall ready, Armando and I left Marcos to run things. It was now time for luchita.
Our first stop was a bust. The cow had already been milked out. I"m not surprised either with the group of about twenty people including kids in the yard.
The second possibility was only a few hundred meters up the street. On the way, we encountered Rene walking towards town who joined us by standing on the truck"s step and holding on inside the passenger window.
Through a hallway to the back yard, we find about ten people sitting on chairs and logs around a cow getting ready to be milked.
A table was set up with litre sized plastic cups, chocolate powder, coffee powder and bottles of a clear alcohol distilled from sugar cane: tamazula. I took mine with chocolate and what Armando determined to be a good serving size of tamazula.
With the cow"s rear legs tied together, the man milking grabs two udders and fills my cup rapidly. An inch thick layer of froth covers the most milk I"ve drank in a long time.
In hindsight it"s obvious but the warmth of the milk surprised me. Almost undetectable by my tongue, the effects of the tamazula hit me very quickly. With a constant shake of the cup to maintain the homogeneous mixture of milk, chocolate, and alcohol, I eventually finished the large cup. That much milk combined with the alcohol definitely put thoughts of calling the day off and having another full sleep.
That didn"t quite happen but luckily, I did have about an hour to rest my eyes while Armando got ready to for the trip to Sahuayo.
Riding in a car after being used to bicycle speed is always interesting. It was probably a good thing that I wasn"t riding as there were long stretches of construction where the shoulder and even the white line on the side of the road was missing, replaced with a two foot drop to newly graded dirt.
Armando pointed out towns across the lake, down intersecting highways and over mountains. He had grown up in Sahuayo and even though he had traveled extensively in Mexico and the United States, this area was still his home.
After an hour, past what would have taken me a day to ride, we pulled up to his father"s house on the busy Av. Revolucion in the middle of the city. A light green facade contained a door opening to a corridor that lead to the back yard. I would have to duck significantly to avoid getting caught on hanging wires and the low roof line. Although no longer lived in by his father, other family greeted us as we entered. I rolled my bike into the yard and as soon as we entered, we set off again to see Armando"s son.
After a hundred meters, in what was a very silly distance to drive, we arrived at a packed Menuderia where we find many of Armando"s relatives. Listening to a lot of Spanish spoken is still overwhelming at this point so when a niece of Armando"s came up speaking English and very excited to hear about my bike trip, it was very nice to relax back into my native language for a few minutes. She recorded a video of me talking about it and wondered if I was trying to break some kind of record.
The only tripe I had eaten previously was very rubbery in some Vietnamese Pho. In this menudo, it looked almost like chicken skin and tasted a bit like it to. Although I ate it, I"m not sure that it would be something I"ll seek out in the future.
Complimenting the menudo was "ponche." (punch) A pink colored liquid with supposedly only a small amount of alcohol but that did make my face tighten and head curl with the first few sips. Floating in the punch were small pieces of nuts, apples, pears and pomegranate seeds. After seeing how the gringo could handle picante, it seems they wanted to test how well the gringo could handle alcohol.
Our next stop was a bar up the street where we stayed for a beer before continuing onto another smaller bar where I was given another bigger beer. Conversations ended up being lessons on how to swear using the dirtiest language in the most friendly manor. Everywhere we went, Armando found old friends to chat with but with each sip of alcohol, my ability to comprehend Spanish dropped. Before I could finish the big beer, I had to excuse myself to return to the house for a siesta. The morning and early afternoon combined with the late night after a long ride had taken its toll.
After a few hours in what was now late afternoon, Armando came to find me to say he was returning home, giving me his phone number so we could stay in touch for when he makes his was up to California in November.
At this time, one of Armando"s sisters was in the back yard getting an ankle tattoo of an artistically designed spelling of Jesus. A bit later, her and a friend invited me to walk down to the plaza to listen to a band and dance.
We didn"t stay for too long in the packed plaza but the band, lights, and people surprising lively for a Sunday night immediately following a day with the party where people dressed up in masks and headdresses. Amongst the noise, understanding the women I had came with was exceedingly difficult but luckily a young girl who seemingly appeared out of nowhere gave a perfect English translation. They could tell I was a tired and needed to rest for the next day"s ride so they asked if I would like to return. I said I could make my way back but they were sure I would get lost in the narrow streets so the three of us walked back, passing handfuls of families out having bonfires on the sidewalks and in the street.
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