el primer dia y cinco micheladas

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

First, I’ve got to say that I probably wouldn’t be in Medellin if it weren’t for Mary Jo.  I am lucky to have her for a friend, and lucky that she loves visitors.  I’m happy to be here.  Happy to be able to fulfill a dream of traveling, and happy to have a familiar face around on the first leg of this adventure.

Yesterday was Valentines Day, and while most of you were celebrating with your sweethearts or friends, I was falling in love all over again with my sandals, as I seem to do every spring.  I spent a good chunk of the day researching and reading.  I bought some groceries.  I dodged some traffic.  I drank micheladas.  The trip to the market was pretty hilarious.  It also proved that no matter where I am, a visit to any place that sells food is both a calming and invigorating experience for me.  The closest store is literally a five minute walk from MJ’s apartment, but the roads curve unpredictably, and since I’m unfamiliar with the area, I had to stop to ask for directions.  My last similar experience in a latin country occurred in Buenos Aires, when I boldly ventured out for a bottle of wine alone and didn’t return until two hours later (and yes, I eventually did find wine….at a pizzeria, where I begged the guys to sell me two bottles).  I can ask the question just fine, but I often inadvertently tune out the answer (although this also happens in English).  But!  This time was a success.  The market was right around the corner, in case you were wondering.  That helped, too.

I love the packaging and advertising that you find in a lot of other countries.  It’s so cheery and enticing.  I walked out with an avocado, a lime, a bag of frozen corn (what?  I don’t think I’ve ever bought frozen corn in my life), a pack of string cheese, some rice, 2 nectarines, and a six pack of beer.  Not that beer ever has to do something special to sell me, but yesterday, Tecate won with this sticker:  Pague 5, lleve 6 (pay for 5, take 6).  Why thank you, and I did.  One of the guys walked my bags to the door for me, which was confusing, and I later found out that it is customary to tip for this sort of service.  Of course!  I totally missed that.  Just an example of how much there is to learn, but also what an opportunity this is for growth.  I’m looking forward to it.

After Mary Jo was finished with work, we drank micheladas on her balcony and waited for her friend Sam to meet us.  Then we walked to a place and had more micheladas and shots of Aguardiente, a popular anise liqueur of Colombia.  For dinner, the 3 of us we ate at a small, charming spot called Milagros and shared a platter of tortillas and ground beef served with an array of salsas and sauces.  I never knew mole sauce could be so bewitching.  In fact, I never liked it much until last night.  It was slightly sweet, but more tangy, with the thinner consistency than any mole I’ve seen, and I would have been perfectly content to eat it as a soup.  Mole soup!  Now there’s an idea.  I wonder if this has been done before….


Mary Jo’s apartment is nestled in the hills, giving her a view of the city which is gorgeous during the day and breathtaking at night.



Sam, you look mighty fine with that bag slung over your shoulder…



Ciao MJ!


Now.  For you, if you want to enjoy a michelada, the Colombian way:

Rim a pint glass with lime and dip into flaky sea salt.  Squeeze a lime into the bottom of the glass.  Top with a cold beer.  Imbibe!