Those same two neighbors to my east, toward the sea, are friends who are often seen kibitzing about the goings on in the neighborhood. If you want to know something, just ask. If they don't know, they are full of opinions. If they do know, they are equally full of opinions. The son-in-law lives there ocasionally and, when he does, often has friends come at night to drink and talk. The dogs don't like them and let them know in no uncertain terms. Especially when those friends are inebriated and roll in at 3AM honking the horn to get attention. They like to play loud music. Fortunately it is only during the day. The have varied albeit limited tastes in music but so far, no rap. A good thing that.
Across the street, to the north, is the small tienda and hardware store. Between the two stores is the family's home with a veranda in the front behind decorative burglar bars. I know there are no customers when I see the hammock slowly swaying from side-to-side. Ocasionally the all-seeing electronic eye will alert of a customer creating a stir in the hammock. When I visit they rarely bother getting up as they see me coming from across the street. I say my good-day's, tell them what I'm buying, and leave the money on the counter.
To our west is the mechanic and his family. He stays rather busy repairing old VWBeetles and the various and sundry cars and trucks that stop buy for a quick looksee. I thought the Bugs were more reliable but perhaps age has taken its toll on them for I see the same cars coming by, sometimes for an hour, sometimes for a day or more. They all sound well enough when they leave, a bit more hesitant and hacking when they return.
This house is old and needs some attention. When I went to replace a leaking faucet I was told "Antigua, antigua" followed by a bit of air sucked between the lips which in any language is generally not a good sign except at a wine tasting. Well, up until that time, Antigua was a place in Guatemala and I knew that was just too far for a silly piece of plumbing. I learned that day antigua means "antique". What I had was an old, odd-size piece of plumbing that might well have been bought used at the time of construction 10 years ago and is now far beyond it's expiration date with no ready spares in town. Replacement will require removing tiles, chipping concrete, and gaining access to hidden pipes. A job for a pro.
Yesterday, our friend Jose informed me to be on the lookout for the plomero (plumber) who would be by to see me. Yesterday was Sunday. Surprised I asked for confirmation and hear "Mira, mira, mira (look,look,look). He's very busy and this is the only time he's available. Be here for him." I was rather hoping he would be here for me but at least we'd meet and discuss the work to be done. Invited for beers and joviality, I had to take a rain check in order to wait for the plomero. Who, of course, didn't come. After all, it was Sunday.
Today, the plomero may come. Or he may not. We've lived in this part of the world for well over 4 years now so we are no strangers to this sort of activity or lack thereof. I know he'll come,,,about five minutes after I leave to get something to eat or join a friend on the waterfront. And we will try again another day.
(Thanks to Ana and Bienvenido for a delicious duck liver!)
1 duck liver (about 3 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces
3-4 TBS butter
1 large shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped (2 1/2 tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp cognac
1/4 tsp herbes de Provence
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
I used a hot, cast iron griddle for this quick preparation. Melt butter and after the sizzle subsides, add shallots for 30 seconds, then the liver, herbs, and garlic, cooking and stirring a bit for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Transfer to blender, add Cognac, and blend. If this isn't smooth enough for you, push the liver mix through a fine strainer. Let cool and refrigerate 2 hours for flavors to blend.
Serve on toasted baguette slices with some real cornichons.