A nice evening out in a tropical city in México..... Or how the "para llevar was born".
What else can you do, after a long day of teaching a foreign language to kids who care little about learning, than to take your lovely wife around 9 in the evening for a nice little "comida" (meal), just the two of you….
She ordered a salad, because she's always complaining about her weight, and I ordered the usual 4 arrachera tacos de harina (grilled beef tacos on flour tortillas), because I didn’t fight get to the top of the food chain to eat grass. Within 7 min after ordering, the 4 tacos are staring at me and we wait a few minutes for the salad… After all, we are ‘out’ to have a nice meal together, right ? When after another 5 minutes or so none of the 4 or 6 waiters who are running around with empty hands (or taking plates away from customers who are still chewing the last bite) is willing to bring the salad, my wife urges me to start eating ‘before it gets cold’.
And because it’s not a good idea to argue with a person where you intend to spend the night with, I start, very slow, to move the arrachera taco’s from my plastic plate to my internal system. After another 5 minutes or so, the 4 or 6 waiters are still running around with empty hands, I start thinking about this system to stay in shape: Go to a local restaurant, order food, wait a given amount of time, leave the place….. Easy, you don’t have to say to people you’re on a diet, you still can say you visit restaurants…they don’t bring the food you ordered anyway…..
I’m at taco number 3, still no salad…still locals running.
My wife managed to capture the attention of one of the runners, who listened carefully, looked at me, then at my nearly empty plate, magically displaying a look of disbelief, turns around and jogs to the inside of the building, returns after nearly 30 seconds later (see? they can be quick) and tells my wife a story.
My Spanish is reaching the level where only I understand it (one have to start somewhere), so the translation is: they are working on it. Meanwhile, taco nr 4 is moved from plate to internal system, the beer was going the same way and the salad is still underway…
Finally, after nearly 45 minutes….tataaa…there’s the salad.
The purpose of this evening out is to be together, to eat together, to drink together…
The food has to reach the table so the people, a couple, can eat together…how difficult is that ?
So when the designated runner is putting the salad in front of my wife says "para llevar" and I order "la cuenta" (the bill). Mind you, within 3 minutes we have a nice plastic bag with the salad and a plate with the cuenta. They can be quick after all and they just showed the world that two things can come together at onece and at the same table….
From now on, we do not go to Los Taquitos …we go to the "Para llevar."
We may have to wait a bit longer, but the food is well worth it. The waiters know us by name name now, and they do their best to bring us our food, all at the same time. Like most foreigners, my husband finds it difficult to understand certain cultural differences. I, on the other hand, think it's foolish to expect America 2.0 wherever we go in the world.
When in Rome!!