Friday, 10 July 2009

Pulque, electricity and mezcal

Last night Ewelina and I went out with Unnur and Adrian. The goal was to taste pulque and explore some questionable bars in downtown Mexico City. I think we succeeded.

Pulque is a moderately alcoholic beverage made of fermented maguey (a big leafy cactus). Served straight, it is a milky white, slimy beverage which reminded me quite a bit of some of the ickier things Icelanders do to milk. Tastes are always hard to describe, but I think if you imagine the result of putting a tablespoon of dirt, a cup of pond scum and some skimmed milk in a blender, you might get close. I think it's safe to say I'm not a fan of pulque, but I'm glad I tried it. It was an experience.

After the pulque we visited a quite busy square which was full of mariachis in full regalia. When we arrived, most weren't actually playing due to a soccer match involving Mexico and some other Latin-American country. Watching the match obviously took precedence. Adrian went and found gigangic beers for us, which Ewelina and I eagerly used to wash away the taste of the pulque while people-watching.

Aside from the beggars bothering us with 'moneee pleees', we were soon approached by a friendly drunk guy who offered us swigs from his bottle of rum and an old geezer who offered to sell us cigars or electrocute us. We weren't interested in smoking, but how could we say no to a bit of friendly electricity? For 10 pesos each we got to take turns holding metal rods connected to thick wires leading to a little box with a dial. The friendly old guy then slowly cranked up the voltage, cheerfully informing us that we had cuarenta, cincuenta, sesenta! volts coursing through our torsos.

Adrian was crowned champion at 80 volts, until we teamed up: I took a rod in one hand, Unnur's hand in the other. Unnur held Adrian's, and he held Ewelina's hand and the other rod. Together we laughed our way to 90 volts and the old dude didn't even charge us. Ewelina tried to take pictures, but it was dark and for some reason we didn't want to sit still.

Shortly after our fun with electricity, a minor argument broke out between the well dressed mariachis and our drunken rum-drinking friend's rather more shabbily dressed mariachi wannabe. Apparently they didn't want him on their turf or something. Adrian calmed people down, but we took that as a sign we should put some distance between ourselves and the drunken dudes. So off we went to find a bar, for one last beer.

After much walking and some peeks into some very questionable establishments, we found a rather tidy looking place that was still open. But instead of one beer, we decided it was high time to try some real Mexican tequila, and real Mexican mezcal. Apparently that's a bit redundant as tequila is just one type of mezcal, but whatever.

The owner of the bar was there and decided he liked us, so he sold us 'the good stuff' and kept the place open for us. He showed a rather predictable interest in the pretty European girls, but aside from some sleazy vibes he was a perfect gentleman. We declined his offer of white powdered refreshment, sticking with our drinks.

To make a long story short, we liked both the tequila and the mezcal! Great stuff! We liked them so much we had three shots each! Or was it four? And beer! And a taxi and stumble to Unnur and Adrian's, where there were mattresses and backpacks to spare...

Today has been a quiet day.

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