From San Martin Tilcajete, M suggested we take the first van (forget waiting for the bus) that came along with room for the both of us. So we did. However, the man did not know the restaurant we wanted to go to, and he was unwilling to let us navigate, so we climbed out at San Bartolo Coyotepec (the black pottery village) and began walking a long walk to the restaurant in Santa María Coyotepec.

Along the way, we stopped to look at a dog and to dance to some loud music at the side of the freeway. A woman came by and told us that there was going to be a parade because it was the town’s fiesta, a celebration called La Fiesta de el Nombre Dulce de Jesus (the celebration of the sweet name of Jesus). We waited more than forty minutes while two local men, who had already had a few drinks, and their children and their neighbors started to gather on the street.

The men offered M a beer and a shot of tequila. He finally agreed to a small shot of tequila. One of the men said he wanted M to be able to tell people in the US that Mexicans are good hosts. I said he would certainly do that. Then, the man wanted me to take a shot. I suggested that it wasn’t a good idea. However, we soon learned that if someone doesn’t drink whomever s/he is with needs to dink his/her share. M had a second toast on my behalf.

We decided that the calenda was probably not going to start until much later in the evening, and so we politely excused ourselves (although our new friends had already offered us a place to stay for the night, for free). They told us the schedule of events and how there would be a jaripeo (rodeo) on the 3rd as part of the celebrations. As they promised the restaurant we were looking for was only a mile down the road (this turned out to be an incredible underestimate we should have doubted as soon as we heard them use miles instead of meters), we said we would try to return to celebrate with them.

As we were walking and walking and walking to Caldo de Piedra, we kept thinking we could see the sign in the distance, but it was a mirage. At one point, we saw: a man driving a tractor down the road as if it was any other vehicle in traffic, numerous police cars, a sign advertising CRAP, a lot of trash, no scorpions, and a road rage incident where the passenger of a car wielded a machete at the hood of another car (he missed, but it was shocking nonetheless).

When we finally landed at Caldo de Piedra (www.caldodepiedra.com), the sturdy wooden chairs and tamarindo agua fresca were the perfect way to revive us for the rest of the trip home.


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