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Cedric Justice
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Energy efficiency buff; data analyst; business owner; musician; writer; foodie.
Energy efficiency buff; data analyst; business owner; musician; writer; foodie.

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I don't agree with a lot of this, but make your own call. 

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Hah, this is the wrong picture. But I can't figure out how to change it, G+...

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This is a slightly bizarre trend.

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Just got back from Vegas. 

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I went hiking in the gorge this last weekend. The hike was considered 'moderate', but was a 5 mile loop and a 1500 foot ascend. It wasn't easy, but it was gorge-ous. 
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Waukeenah Loop Tea Hike
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Why I love this product and this company!
Sarananda.le-vel.com 
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Curried devilled eggs in preparation for #TweedRidePDX2015.
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I went to see Xymox last week.  The trip surrounding it was great, too.

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We got up at about 7:30 and had our morning coffee.  I polished off the tequila in my coffee. It was the perfect amount of tequila to have on hand, apparently. And last night, I spent all but ten of my last pesos in cash. So that’s working out for us pretty well.

We hung out on the roof in the morning, and M and I took a tour of the house next door after being shown the top-level roof (where we saw what would be the area accessed by the fruits of my plans). By the way, if anyone wants a house in Mexico next to J, his next door neighbor is selling his place for about 100kUS$.

We set out for our last meal: the chicken vendor on the side of the road up the hill. We had dropped by several days before, asking about their hours, but had other things to do and eat that day. En route to the Catedral, which we wanted to see before we left, we dropped by the old, gorgeous house that we saw last night. It looked so dilapidated and unhappy, but M noticed that there was an open door. So, we investigated.

Inside was sparking marble floors and a clean chandelier. Two tables blocked the path to the courtyard viewable from the doorway.  J knocked and stepped inside. We were greeted by a lady, sceptical in her eyes (basically like “what are you gringos doing here?”) I asked in Spanish if this was a restaurant. No. A business? No.  [Squeamishly] Your house? 

Yes.

Eek. I told her that it was incredibly beautiful and apologised for bothering her. As we left, she closed the gates. 

At the Catedral, J was in shorts, but I was in a full suit and M was in a nice dress. Since we were not wearing sandals, we toured the inside and J would meet us outside. 

It was very typical of a Catholic church, and I can’t take photos.  But the miracle of the internet will still let the reader see a virtual tour.

We continued to the central marketplace so I could get a couple of photos and contrast it with the experience of walking through the same area last night. M didn’t get a chance to experience the market, so it was a good way to share that.

I got an horchata, one of the few things left on my Mexico bucket list. The lady let us try the guava juice, but we all felt it too sweet. For 12 pesos, we could get a litre, but I preferred a half litre size. It was 6 pesos, leaving me with 4.

Across the way was a fruit stand, and M deftly spied that they had vanilla by the bean for sale. J bought us 10 vainas for 300 pesos (20US$). “So, that’s where I get them!” he mused aloud. “Of course it would be here.”

We wound our way past the clothing vendors, the butchers, the fish. Severed pig heads smiled at us; a worker began whistling the Addam’s Family theme song as we passed, M and I clad in black and sunglasses. 

We made our way outdoors, and the streets were bustling with shoppers, street merchants with stands selling tacos, auguas frescas, snacks, and more. We climbed the hill past several fashion vendors, all playing modern dance music in Spanish (all at a rational volume, which was a major contrast to when we first arrived). The sun beamed down on us gently.

We turned left at the top of a hill and saw a brick-and-mortar corner grocer selling fruits. 5-kilo bags of limes were 130MX$. J stated that this was a major discovery: the market had pre-chopped veggies and fruits, which would decrease preparation time for food greatly and this place was markedly cheaper than many of the other stores and vendors he was familiar with. M said “See, you can cook for yourself!”

Just down the hill were the guys cooking whole chickens and skewers over open charcoal-fired grills. I studied the price list to see if there was anything that I should try that would be new. “Shit, guys! We haven’t had any beans!” Frijoles puercos: pork beans, or refried beans, was something that we hadn’t had the entire time we were here. So we ordered that and a half kilo of skewered beef and a whole chicken. The lot of it, including salsa in a plastic bag (as is typical) and a few fresh tortillas were 200MX$. It was in a pink plastic bag in under 5 minutes.
“Now, that’s fast food. Screw Burger King!” We made our way down the hill and past the large boulevard we would take as we left. Up the street from our house was the coco helado (cold coconut) vendor, who J knew at this point. For 13MX$, they had cold coconuts that you specified if you wanted for the water or the meat. The clerk offered to convert it to meat after we drank the fluid.

We took it all home and scarfed quickly. Maurice showed up mid-meal. I’m not a fan of beef, but this was so excellently fired over a hot flame that it was seared on the outside, and medium on the inside. The char was brilliant and the chicken was incredibly well seasoned. This is one of those things I would really like to see more of, and reminded me of some of the story ideas I had rolling around in my head, such as The Real Food of Mexico. 

The trip to the airport was eventless, and in the airport, security was a breeze. Because we were early enough, we were upgraded to an exit row which made the flight to LAX incredibly comfortable.

The path to customs and immigration was a labyrinthine walk that was probably about a half mile when all was said and done.  For the first time, we weren’t hassled at immigration or customs. 

M tried to coordinate with her cousin if we could meet up, but it didn’t work out.  There were no restaurants that were on the outside of security, which seemed like a bad business idea, but that probably wasn’t considered when the place was designed in the 60s or 80s, depending on the building, and security wasn’t a total clusterfuck-nightmare.

But it was about 18:00 at this point, and I hadn’t eaten in nine hours—I was a bit hungry. Fortunately M had some snacks, and after figuring out that we’d just have to wait in the airport, we were poked and prodded, shoe-less and humiliating with our hands up, etc. After the security guise, we made our way to our terminal. We looked for food, maybe something Chinese, and passed a Ruby’s burger place, a “California Deli”, which offered white-bread sandwiches and pizza, and a place in the terminal area that was a self-serve deli counter, like the grab-and-go at a grocery store.  I asked the attendant how much a possibly 6-ounce sandwich was and she said matter-of-factly that it was 11.59US$. 

My eyes bulged out of my head.

The one thing I needed was water, though. So we bought a litre of smart water and a Naked fruit juice. The total was 11.16US$ with tax. That’s right, it was five bucks for a litre of water.  Fuck LA.

After going through Classist Boarding™ (“Rich people with lots of money can board now…” “Now for the old…” “People with babies can now board…” “5-foot-1 jugglers born on a Tuesday may now board…” “If you’re currently on your period and your name starts with a K, you may now board…”), we settled in to our seats near the back of the plane. I was greeted by my former boss’s wife, who is obviously a flight attendant. This made me feel like I was going back to my community, where I know everyone and have my network of people, you know?

The 737 was an updated model, complete with LED lights, plug-ins at the seats, wi-fi and LEG ROOM! I actually fit in the seat and my knees weren’t smashed into the seat in front of me. It was sort of amazing.

The cab ride home was uneventful and quick; Tyler and Stefanie greeted us with dinner on the table: whole-wheat pasta in alfredo sauce with anchovies, parmesan, and rock fish. Yes.

Sleeping in your own bed after over a week is the biggest treat about coming home from a vacation.
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Mazatlan 2015: MZT->PDX
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