My first official act as a new Residente Permanente in Mexico was...to leave the country. The dilapidated school buses that just scream "Belize!" were waiting for me at the Mercado Nuevo and I grabbed the very next one out of town. Arriving at the border I learned that Mexico is interested in tracking my sorties. I suppose there is a minimum stay requirement in country to maintain permanent residency status so, in an interesting twist, I had to fill out a visitor's travel form to leave - the very same form a tourist would complete coming into the country. Only this time they kept the bottom portion, gave me the top and told me to give it back when I returned.
[UPDATE: I'm told through multiple sources that all MX citizens as well as legal Residents have to complete the form on the way out of the country. and there is no minimum period one must remain in the country to retain Residente Permanente status.. Papi]
I was in Belize to purchase an American-style computer keyboard. My laptop keyboard has decided it was sufficiently abused and started "blanking out" keys, one or two at a time. Within hours the other day I was left with but half a functional keyboard. The bizarre part was the keys were not necessarily next to each other. First it was the "O" and "P", then the "A" and "T", and so on. No rhyme or reason. I quickly removed my sign-in password just in case!
My options here in Chetumal were limited to Spanish language keyboards...not a real problem as I'm a touch-typist but I would like the comfort factor of an American English keyboard. Our friend, Bruce, was kind enough to drive me to a few likely spots but none to be had. No worries. A few cold Belikins (they are much better cold) at Rocky's on the bay assuaged the disappointment. Funny thing those Belikins...so much smaller than "the real thing" in most any country, they didn't last very long. They never had a chance to warm up. But Rocky had them in ample supply. Good thing that.
Later in the afternoon as I was standing on the side of the Northern Highway, I figured out rather quickly I had missed the last bus to the border. No problem. US$1.25 for a cab to the casino from whence I walked across the bridge into Mexico, another 60 cents (8 pesos) for the "combi" to the Mercado Viejo, and finally 30 cents (4 pesos) for the ride to Calderitas. Dropped off practically to my front door and for less expense than the combined bus (US$1.75) and cab (US$2.75) fare would have been. A win by any measure.
The combi ride was pleasant enough. It's naught more than a van with bench seats along the walls. Much like riding a Filipino Jeepnee in fact but without the decorations. One young couple was sitting along the on the side bench when the girl moved to the back giving a "come hither" look to her friend. He seemed, suddenly, very absorbed in his phone. Well, it wasn't long before she seemed a bit teary-eyed and it didn't improve when an older man (no, not me) sat next to her. He left at the next stop and the seat was vacant. I'd seen enough so, despite concerns I may be breaching decorum in the combi rider world (think "You lookin at me?" with a twisted, Mexican "Goodfella's" accent...), I said to the boy, "Hey Chico, go sit with her". As the old hens started cackling and the younger ones in unison said "Si! Si! Si!", I figured I had done right. He sat next to her and for a short while, all was well with the world. No matter where one travels, people are very much the same.
The other day, along with my friend Jerry, I returned to a small restaurant I like well enough called Terramar. It had been some time since I'd been there but the son's owner, Juan, recognized me right away (must be the hat) and effusively thanked me for the recommendations I had made some time back regarding his hamburger. What he had, back then, was a chunk of meat that resembled neither a hamburger nor a steak. The recommendations I made were nothing special...more fat, a bit of "bread", and a few spices. "You'll get more flavor and spend less money per portion", I told him. As Juan put it, "I took your recommendations, worked with my father, and am now very proud of our hamburgers." Well, indeed he should be. They are most excellent and for 50 pesos you'll be hard pressed to find better. Fear not dear reader, I remain as humble as ever.
To ensure I get this posted before midnight, I'll leave off here with tonight's recipe. Stuffed Mushrooms. You can put just about anything into a mushroom and it's going to taste good but tonight I'm going to stuff them with cheese so I can dig into that beautiful block of Parmigiano-Reggiano I found the other day at Sam's Club.
So, stuffed mushrooms and a nice salad, perhaps a glass of Sauvignon Blanc...I can't wait to get started!
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
Remove and mince mushroom stems. Fry with garlic then set aside.
When cool, stir in remaining ingredients. Mixture should be very thick. Fill mushroom caps with a generous amount of stuffing. Bake for 20 minutes at 375F, or until the mushrooms are piping hot and liquid starts to form under caps.