One of the stringent facets of Mexican life surrounds the imbibing of the local tap water. I’m sure it’s bad for you or something, but on a base level it tastes like absolute shit. It is the same as in the USA, where people pretend like drinking mineral water is an active choice, as opposed to firing into the rancid urine-temperature thing that seems to flow from the taps, that side of the Atlantic. Say what you will about Scotland’s deficiencies, I challenge you to find a better water.
Anyway as I made my trek to water shop this morning at 9:30, I thought that seeing as it was Saturday, I would purchase a little lager too, just to get the day going. The shop was located, unfortunately next to a local AA charity, a last and first call from the depleted souls who haunted the knackered boardwalk. The lady, very attractive and outwardly happy, gave me a knowing smile as I refused the offer of a bag, clearly en route to consume in the street.
After said 4.6% abv breakfast I went off to join an “intercambio” or a language exchange, the purpose of which was ostensibly to improve my Spanish but also a regulated environment in which girls would have to talk to me for the allotted two hours. It’s a bit like a speed date, but really long and drawn out and with next to no prospect of sex or even meeting a woman again. Winner.
Given my track record thus far, it came as no surprise that my partners for the next 120 minutes would be two older gentlemen who, though nice and very interesting, we’re not really what I’d had in mind. Nevertheless I learned a lot about farming practices in the Oaxaca valley. With five minutes remaining we were finally joined by a member of the fairer sex, long enough to deduce that she had worked in an illegal packing factory on the US border and now worked in an illegal packing factory here. There was silence. Combatting the obvious elephant in the room I asked her what she packed. Tacos. There comes with being British, the innate ability to talk to people about any subject while feigning interest and leading the conversation along, but I must admit that this one had me stumped. The bell rang and the two hours were up. I was alone again.
Falling out the door into the sweltering humidity, I decided that my most reliable companion, would be who I would spend the afternoon with, beer. Thus I set off to get drunk. A clutch of Americans stood by the door clearly weighing up the options as I was and in a rare fit of social interaction, I asked them what they were up to. They didn’t understand the expression but I was soon invited to lunch.
First impressions do count for a lot and you can usually tell a lot about a person in the first minute of conversation. I, for example, give off the impression of wreckless deadbeat or unpredictable oddball. These chaps were definitely of the alternative, travelling-but-clearly-fucking-minted vibe. It transpired we were off to a hipster, vegan street food fare. Would there be lager? There would apparently, so I was in.
A quick aside on street food fares. Mexico is not a nation that needs a bunch of colourful, hipster-manned trucks doling out overpriced food to tourists. All food in Mexico is “street food”, i.e. you can buy it on the street for mere pence. I suppose that ‘guidebook and foreign office advised visitors’ to this country get the fear of watching some grizzled hand fill corn dough with grasshoppers and salsa verde, all of which has been cooked in a bin which he has welded to his bike. Thus food fares are born.
To my horror the beer truck was closed when we arrived, a horror that was soon superseded when the thing opened and it became clear that craft beer had infested this land. Holding back the tears I parted with 45 pesos for a strange, orangey tasting thing that was called a stout. The 15 peso “Dos Equis” that was to be had at the local shitehole bar seemed a while away now. I’ve never understood why hipsters feel the desire to create foul tasting versions of stuff that we already had and then pay loads of money for said thing, but that’s a story for another day.
I began drinking at the normal speed and soon tanned a pint of bilge water only to see my new mates about a sip in and worse, talking about the fucking thing. Jesus, it was beer, in 30 minutes it will be coming out your cock as you splash it round the inside of the bog. That is all you need to know.
Setting sights on one of the female members I decided that romance was the order of the day. We got talking and I had to quickly construct a web of bollocks to impress her on some level. Talking to a committed vegan who works in administration for a private healthcare company would prove challenging as I cared about none of this stuff. She was clearly not going to be “well into” Black Sabbath and the highs and lows of Scottish league football, so the conversation took some interesting turns as I lied through my teeth trying to find an “in”, excuse the pun.
Unashamedly, guys are arseholes, and I am one of them. Girls might like to think that we are showing common interests and understanding, but this is a lie. Here is a good example from yesterday:
Outward Laurence: “I completely disagree with animal farming practices, and with the dairy industry in general. I really respect what you do as a vegan.”
Inward Laurence: “I like MacDonalds, cheap ice cream and I think you have great tits.”
The day progressed and finally we moved to some dingy ill-lit affair, where the administering of some local mezcal finally got the party started. Some dude came to join us, and though he refrained from boozing, he was a good guy. By this I mean he liked football.
I was pretty drunk at this point as I went to the bog only to find my new mate at the urinal. Etiquette dictated a gruff salute before getting down to the business at hand. I don’t usually talk at urinals but he started it.
“You guys been having a good time?”
I replied; “Sure, good food and great people, what more could you want?”
I decided to take the initiative
“Plus the girl in the black is fucking fit mate.”
He seemed puzzled; “Who?”
I soldiered on;“You know, Vegan chick, American, massive tits, sitting next to me. Yeah I’d give her one.”
There followed a second’s silence, before deadpan, he replied.
“That’s my wife.”
And with that the night was over. Shaking the last drops of piss from my wang I said my farewells and made for the door, vowing never to be honest ever again.