Flashback, folks. I just found a pre-written blog post that never got published!
Jared and I were very excited to be able to go on a date night last September 15th, a very important date in Mexican culture.
We had a friend come over to babysit, and we went out to a popular restaurant in downtown Ajijic. You never know what you’re going to get when you order a meal at a restaurant in Mexico.
I saw an interesting appetizer on the menu, and decided to try their “goat’s cheese with mushrooms”. I thought it would be mainly mushrooms with a little cheese on top, and instead I got a bowl full of cheese (2″ deep) with a small amount of mushrooms on top. I ate the mushrooms, and passed on most of the cheese!
I also ordered a baked potato, which came smothered in cream. Not “normal” sour cream, mind you (they don’t often use that around here)…but more of a runny cream…and it was quite satisfying.
Jared got chicken fajitas. Simply served as a plate of beans, rice and chicken with some sautéed veggies. You’ll never find fajitas served Chili’s-style, here (lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, etc)!
We went to a late dinner and then wandered downtown to the Ajijic plaza around 10pm, waiting for the festivities to begin at 11pm. The plaza was packed with families, and many street vendors selling their goodies.
Sugar can is a popular snack. They cut it into little cubes and suck out the sweet juice from inside. In my opinion, it’s kind of like sucking on straw (not too pleasant), and it tastes like sugar water. Not my favorite.
Fruit cups and very popular (although of course they’re usually doused in chili and salt), and different seasons bring different fruit options. In September the pomegranates are in season, and the cups were filled with the little seed pods (another one of those fruits that I don’t really think is worth the effort…am I a fruit snob, or what?!!). Next to those beautiful fruit cups were cups of hot dogs. Quite the odd combo to see side-by-side…
No fear…there are also cups of chunks of watermelon, papaya, or cucumbers. Or, on the bottom right of the table display you also can see shredded produce on trays. Here you can fill up your own cup of shredded jicama, cucumbers and papaya (and cover it with chili, lemon, and salt, to your heart’s content). Besides tacos, I would say fruit/produce cups are some of the most common street-side foods to find around here (lucky for me!).
Also a traditional part of any festivity you will find hollowed eggs that have been cracked at the tops (much like the Easter Eggs I have written about in the past), and filled with confetti. They crack the top open, clean it, fill it, and then glue tissue paper over the opening in the top. The kids enjoy throwing these at each other!
As we waited around for an hour after dinner for the party to begin (after 11pm), finally someone came on the loud speakers to read the famous “El Grito de la Independencia” (Cry of Independence) speech, which originally took pace on September 16, 1810 in the town of Dolores Hidalgo. This speech started Mexico’s War of Independence versus the Spanish–which wasn’t officially won until 11 years later in September 1821.
Each year, in towns all over Mexico, the people gather together in public plazas and someone will give the famous Mexican Independence speech. We did not stay for the whole speech, since it can run on for quite awhile, and we couldn’t understand everything, anyways. However, what we could understand made my heart swell.
Right behind us a giant fireworks display went off on the gazebo (wowzers–good thing we hadn’t decided to stand right next to it!). Then, everyone began singing the National Anthem. The next day, September 16th, is the official day of Independence–and a relaxing holiday for Mexicans.
So, what are my thoughts on experiencing a patriotic holiday in another country?
I’m always baffled when Americans make a big deal about how many people have given their lives for American freedom. Yes, it is a big deal–but the way they say it–well, it’s as if they are suggesting that because American’s died for freedom, somehow it is the best country in the world. It’s as if people believe this fact contributes to why they believe America is better than other countries.
The truth is, freedom has been fought for all over the world. It doesn’t make any nationality better than the other if that battle has been fought, or not. It doesn’t matter how many people have died for that freedom. Every country is to be respected and appreciated for all of its differences. Most countries throughout the world have already battled their own threats to freedom (oppressive governments or regimes), and some countries have yet to build the strength and resolve to fight that battle. Lives may be lost in these battles, or maybe the loss of lives can be avoided.
Either way…I don’t want to hear someone say “God Bless America” again, as if it if the only country worth blessing. God has blessed America. Don’t you think some other countries deserve some blessings, too? Seriously…why not…
God Bless the World
Are we not all in this together?
Yes, I am American. I often tear up and feel American pride when I watch fireworks on the 4th of July while singing some patriotic songs.
Nonetheless, hearing the cry of “Viva Mexico” made me equally proud on that night of September 15th.
I was proud to be able to experience such a beautiful celebration of national pride…
A celebration of freedom…
A celebration of Mexico!