In our wanderings, I begin to notice something strange (for an American lawyer anyway.) Everywhere you go, there are hazards in the street that fund the multimillion dollar personal injury economy in the US. Electrical wires left raw and open, tied over a fence, giving electricity to a group of workers on the other side. Giant gaping holes left open in sidewalks and walkways, some that your leg could get caught in, some that your entire body could fall into. Giant curbs, wet paint with no wet paint signs, workers with no ear protection, ladders left against buildings in the middle of public, unattended. Workers climbing ladders with no fall protection, to climb onto a roof and fill up a propane tank from a large truck. As I make note, Brian laughs and says that when he first started coming to Ensenada, his question is always: “Are they going to fix that?”
We began our day with a Mexican breakfast experience. Cinnamon, nutmeg and clove spiced pretzel shaped phyla dough, a Mexican hot chocolate, Tripe and hominy soup for me, and apork skin and tomato soup for Andrew. (Tripe = cow intestine, and yes, I ate it. Not bad tasting, but it has a strange texture. I’m going to have to get used to it because it is an oft eaten food around the world.) We then ordered Machaca and Eggs (a dried meat mixed with scrambled eggs, peppers and onions). We topped that with a very fresh cactus and tomato salsa. Four huge breakfast meals, again, $23.00.
More wandering, exploring silver shops, listening to mariachi players, check out the fish market, and then we needed more food. We found a great little oyster shop, where we had oysters on the half shell with jalapeno vinegrette, a raspberry vinegar, and a smoky red sauce. Perfect. Add seared abalone and a negro modelo. On to get an agua fresca (fruity popscicle), very tasty. I had mango.
....and I thought I was going to lose weight on this trip.
We decided then to drive out to the countryside and explore Estero Beach Resort. Brian’s family knows the people who own the resort, it’s a beautiful area and it has a neat museum that houses some Mexican artifacts.
Feeling brave and willing to venture outside of town, we carry forward to visit La Beufadora, or in English, the Ensenada Blow Hold. This is a natural phenomenon in which the ocean builds up pressure against the rocks on shore and shoots water up into the air when a swell comes through. It’s pretty magnificent to see and hear. So, we take a winding road several miles up and over hillsides. We march through the flea market, stopping only to buy two bags of the best churros in town. Cinnamon, sugar, crispy fried goodness on the outside, gooey dough on the inside. The churros are so much better here than at Disneyland. Sorry, Disneyland.
Upon our return to town, we prepare to head out to Hussongs. Hussongs is the oldest bar in Ensenada. Brian’s father and grandfather frequented this watering hole. In fact, tale is told of Brian’s grandfather eating glass there. I’m not sure I believe this, but it makes for a nice story. Hussongs is packed with locals, singing to the Mariachi band, eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor. Mustachioed bar tenders weave their way through the crowd delivering two for $1.00 beers, making sure no one is ever empty handed.
We meet Brian’s two cousins there, and pretty soon there is a guy with an electricity machine hovering over our table.
“Want to try something you could never do in the United States?” Brian’s cousin asks me.
I was pretty sure I didn’t want to try something I couldn’t do in the United States, but peer pressure being what it is, I grabbed Coffee’s hand on one side, Brian’s hand on the other. Coffee held one of Andrew’s hands and Brian and Andrew each took an electricity stick in their free hands. We formed a circle. The electricity man turned up his dial ever so slightly, and I felt a little tingle. He stopped. Not bad, I thought, and laugh. Then they tell me that was just a test. The electricity man turned up the dial, up and up and up and everyone around the table said “Don’t let go! Don’t let go!”
I don’t think I could have let go if I had wanted to. The electricity coursing through my hand was making them numb, tingly, and crampy. “I don’t know about this one,” I thought! I close my eyes and hope for the best. Pretty soon the electricity man turned off his dial and everyone cheered. I was alive, so that was good. The man took his tip, and I took a slug of my beer. I’m not doing that again, I thought.
I turned to Brian’s cousin who is a Mexican attorney. How is it that an entire country full of attorneys are missing out on this gold mine of injury and death? The law must place the ones of safety on one’s own person, rather than the business or bar or electricity man who invites you into their establishment. It must be that the law in Mexico requires you to put your cell phone in your pocket and pay attention while you are walking, driving, or drinking. I ask Brian’s cousin for confirmation:
“Si!” She says, “If you were to go to Court to sue the electricity man, the judge would say, ‘well, why did you grab his hand, then!?’” And she laughs. I laugh.