“Pulque, or octli, is a milk-colored, somewhat viscous alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant, and is a traditional native beverage of central Mexico. The drink’s history extends far back into the Mesoamerican period, when it was considered sacred, and its use was limited to certain classes of people. After the Spanish Conquest of Mexico, the drink became secular and its consumption rose. The consumption of pulque reached its peak in the late 19th century. In the 20th century, the drink fell into decline, mostly because of competition from beer, which became more prevalent with the arrival of European immigrants.” (From Wikpedia)
The other evening, Luis flagged a taxi for us and asked to find a pulqueria. The very kind taxi driver took us on a ride away from the city conurbation and into the more “country” parts. Surprisingly after not more than half an hour of driving out, we were no longer in a city.
Soon we were on unpaved roads. Asking around also revealed that there were supposed to be very few if not no more pulquerias around the place and we were in a corn field. It looked a bit sketchy…
Corn fields in San Fellipe Tlamimilolpan
… until we stopped finally in a place where they said they did pulque. At first they were suspicious of us, but later one of them invited us in. And so we came in to their house, and they gave us pulque in a clay earthernware. It was cold and delicious. They said they were preparing it for a big soccer game in a field nearby, when they would sell this pulque.
Our taxi driver with the owner of the house. You would never have a taxi driver in Singapore agree to randomly take a few hours detour and a long stopover at some random stranger’s house for a few hours to have some fermented cactus juice. It was very nice of him to accompany us and indulge us on our adventure… They seemed to have a good conversation together as well to the extent that for some periods of time I forgot he was our taxi driver whom we had simply flagged down on the street.
On the wall, there hung an old drawing of jesus, which looked almost like a chinese wayang character to me because it was so ornately decorated. There was a bit of a rain outside and there was a cat hiding in the house with the dirt floor. It was making a meow sound every few minutes.
Another customer came in. He was a “regular customer”. He claimed to have been drinking for 6 days in a row, and we could almost believe it since he kept lapsing into self-doubting and hand-wringing phases of “I don’t mean any disrespecting!” inbetween taking a shine to me (becoming almost slightly creepy and repeating “I… LIKE…. YOU” in espanol to me, while pointing to me and pointing to himself and repeating this). He said he would drink for one more day, and then stop after the 7th day of drinking. In his strangely white trainers and bright modern printed shirt, it was hard to imagine where he had really come from, or what he had been doing, or what was going on with him or why he kept talking about respect and not wanting to disrespect others.
Clay pottery keeps the cold stuff cold, and the hot stuff hot. Its great. Plastic and metal sucks. I went to the Museo the other day and the clay pottery was all intact whereas the metal artefacts were corroded badly. Now that we are in the era of plastic, nothing will last like that clay that we started off with.
On the way home there was a bit of rain, and subsequently it flooded for a while. When we returned to the centro everything was silent and closed at night. People go to sleep early here I reckon… I am going to do the same and wake up early instead. I can still hear the distant strains of a mariachi somewhere… probably at the Portales…