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Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

It’s hard to tell some stories in less than four minutes.

In a recent piece on NPR’s All Things Considered, there was a lot of detail I left out on account of time. The story was about how residents in the northern Mexican town of Ascension literally took justice into their own hands by beating two suspected kidnappers who eventually died.

Mexican military outside the state police office in Ascension.

I arrived in Ascension in the company of Adriana Gomez Licon, a young, yet enterprising reporter from the El Paso Times. We figured we’d be safer making the trip together. Because car jackings are a problem in Mexico, we opted for a 2 ½ hour bus ride from Ciudad Juarez to Ascension. That put us in town at 1 in the afternoon. By then we’d missed a big city hall rally where residents demanded that the mayor fire all 14 remaining police officers. About half the force had already resigned the high risk job.

The event that set off the public’s fury was the kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl. Adriana and I visited the girl’s aunt, Mari Cruz. The following account is her version of the ordeal:

The girl worked at another aunt’s seafood restaurant in order to pay for her high school. Tuesday morning she was apparently counting money behind the counter when the kidnappers entered the restaurant and mistook her for the owner. Then they took her at gunpoint.

Supposedly, there was a total of six kidnappers traveling in two separate vehicles. One was a stolen truck allegedly snagged the day before from a Mennonite farmer in the neighboring town of Buena Vista. Word about the kidnapping spread quickly and soon an angry group of about 200 townspeople gave chase.

One of the cars got a flat and the three men inside were captured by the Mexican military and taken to Ciudad Juarez. They are charged with kidnapping and illegal weapon possession. The other car ran off the road and the three inside fled on foot into side lining cotton fields. The girl was left behind in the truck where residents were able to retrieve her.

When the three young men in the truck took off, an incredible pursuit ensued. Residents say the group of 200 combed the cotton fields determined to find them. A local farmer even flew out in his crop plane to assist in the search. Within 30 minutes the people found two of the young men.

The fate that awaited them was brutal. The people of Ascension carried with them pent-up coraje, a Spanish word that means something like resentment mixed with rage. One man, a local kitchen cabinet maker, took us out to the site of the first beating. It was a soft soil road in between two cotton fields. The cabinet maker, who will sit on city council next month, gave us his first person account.

This is the spot where two suspected kidnappers were caught and beaten by residents.

“When the people got a hold of them they began to beat them and they began to shout at them about how much harm they’d caused and how much they suffered because of them,” he said.

In the crowd, he said he saw the faces of brothers, fathers and cousins who had all had a loved one kidnapped or had been kidnapped themselves.

People recognized the two young men, he said. They grew up in the community.

“I yelled at them too,” said the cabinet maker. He said he didn’t participate in the beating and that he didn’t agree with the people’s actions. “But it was hard for me to say ‘okay, that’s enough’ because I’m not the one who’s loved one was kidnapped.”

After about 10 minutes of beating, the federal police arrived and took custody of the two young men. At least one is under 17 a state police representative told me. The feds supposedly took the young men in someone’s pick up truck to a small nearby military base. A group of townspeople rode in the back of the pick up to supervise the feds.

But police didn’t hold onto the two young men for long. Residents say that soon a larger, angrier mob of at least 1,000 arrived at the military base. They broke down the gate and got their hands on the two suspects and beat them yet again. The story gets a little unclear at this point, but I was told the feds were able to get the two suspects into a federal police car which the townspeople then surrounded and prevented the feds from accessing again. A seven hour standoff followed. Residents say the townspeople were even able to prevent a federal police helicopter from landing near the base by obstructing it’s landing space. Meanwhile the two young men remained locked in the hot police car, badly beaten. According to the autopsy report, they eventually died of their injuries.

Part of the public’s anger has to do with the fact that they’re drowning in crime and never see justice. One resident told us that over the past year this town of about 15,000 experiences on average three kidnappings a week. Even if the kidnappers are caught she said they are typically released within two weeks, especially if they are minors.

She said one of the young men who was beaten was a minor. Once at the military base, she said he yelled at the crowd, “See you in fifteen days!”

It’s hard to say what is fueling the kidnappings in Ascension. The mayor blamed it on people formerly employed by the drug trade. He said that with all the border security on the American side it was getting harder for them to cross their merchandise. So now they’ve turned to other criminal activity. I’m sure the bad economy could also be a reason.

Residents told us that most of the time the kidnappers release their victims once the ransom is paid. They say most survivors aren’t seriously harmed by their kidnappers. But a lot of people don’t have the money to pay ransom. Some go door to door asking their neighbors if they can spare a little cash to help them collect enough money.

“Don’t give them too much money” the neighbors say, “Otherwise they’ll go out and buy bigger guns.”

Now the residents of Ascension are forming a sort of neighborhood watch committee. They’re joining up with the nearby LeBaron community, also known as a town that made self-protection it’s own responsibility. It will be interesting to follow what becomes of this little town in the coming weeks.

An indigenous woman breastfeeds her daughter in the central plaza of Ascension.

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September 10, 2010

This the tenth time I dial, what’s the deal?

She knows we agreed on 4 pm at her house– but how am I supposed to get to there if I don’t have directions? And how am I supposed to get directions if she doesn’t pick up the pick up the phone??

These were my thoughts today as I was trying to reach a woman I was going to interview. Her psychologist recommended her and set up the meeting. She gave me the woman’s phone number and address, but couldn’t tell me how to get there. No problem I told the psychologist, I’ll just call her and ask. The appointment was this afternoon. I started calling the woman 24 hours beforehand to no avail.  And in a city where street names and addresses on homes are optional– more like absent all together– finding a place can make you want to pull your hair out.

Locals stand around near the perimeter of a crime scene. Vast insecurity has altered life for the people of Juarez.

So why don’t people answer their phones in Juarez?

Same reason they don’t put out signs announcing their businesses. Tienen miedo. They are afraid.

You may have caught on to a tone of annoyance in this post. I’m not really annoyed. On the contrary, I’m totally sympathetic. I know you’ve heard it before: the people of Juarez live in fear. This is true. But it’s not mass panic like you might imagine. Often their fear is a lot more subtle– like neglecting to answer the phone.

Juarenzes don’t answer their phone because they’re afraid of extortion. That is, a stranger with an unlisted phone number calls and demands money from you. If you are a business, it’s for the infamous cuota or protection. If you are a household, the caller may ask for money or else threaten to harm your family.

So Juarenzes have found a simple solution to this serious problem. Don’t answer the phone when you don’t know who it is. This can get complicated real quick. For one, you may miss your very important appointment with the reporter who’s on deadline. That or you may miss an unexpected visit by a second cousin who you haven’t seen in more than 10 years.

It was 4:25 and after the umpteenth attempt the woman finally answered my call.

“Bueno..?” Her voice was soft and hesitant.

“It’s me! Monica. The reporter you were supposed to meet at 4. I need directions to your house.”

The woman apologized. She been sitting at home listening to the phone ring off the hook. I didn’t want to answer, she told me, the caller ID said it was an unknown caller. Okay, so maybe I was a little annoyed. She knew I was coming and that I’d probably need directions or at least verify that she was home.  I told her I knew all about extortion and was glad that she finally answered.

The woman lives on a busy boulevard near the center of the city. Once I found her house I quickly discovered that she was a great interview. I barely had to ask questions. She told me about how life had changed in Juarez. Trips downtown for a walk around the plaza and a hot dog were over. Too risky, she said. You never know what could happen. Now she and her son rarely go further than their front yard where they play hide and seek or stare up at the clouds and guess what animals they’re shaped like.

And she doesn’t answer the phone when it’s from a desconosido or stranger. Plenty of her friends and relatives have been extorted.  She once got a suspicious call from a stranger. She pretended to be the ignorant housekeeper. The voice on the other line demanded to speak with her “jefe” or boss. She simply hung up.

When she put the receiver down she said her palms were sweaty and she felt a sudden headache coming on from behind her neck. I don’t do a lot of things I used to do, she said.

People not anwering their phone is nothing new in Juarez. It’s been going on for awhile now. I write about it because I’m afraid I’ll get used to this kind of stuff. I’m afraid I’ll start accepting abnormal behavior as normal. After nearly three years, people in Juarez are certainly growing accustomed to living in a high risk environment.  As a reporter you have to pay attention to things like this.

And as a final note: You know you’re crossing the border a little too often when the customs guys at the ports of entry start recognizing you.  Officer Endlich scanned my passport at the Americas bridge today.

“I’ve seen you before, haven’t I,” he said.

I smiled and rolled my eyes. Yes, you probably have, I said. He checked his computer.

“Yup,” he said, “About a month ago.”

I looked at his gold name plate. “Endlich, it is? Where is that from?”

German, he said. It means something akin to “finally.” I laughed.

“Yea,” I said, ” ’cause when I see you I can say: Finally! I’ve made it across!”

It’s good to be back in El Paso.

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May 11, 2010 

A few weeks ago I jumped rope for the first time since the fifth grade. I remember how this was absolutely my favorite after lunch activity on the blacktop with a group of girlfriends.  Now, as a young woman, I miss those afternoons. The chances of my grown-up girlfriends pulling out a rope and saying, “Let’s jump,” after a midday meal are slim to none. Adults can be so lame. 

Children of colonia Primero de Mayo

 It was a Wednesday, warm and sunny. I was in jeans and pink flats. The place: colonia Primero de Mayo in south west Juarez. I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised at the opportunity to jump rope since I was surrounded by giddy  children. 

My guide was a social worker with unforgettable green eyes. I picked her up at a corner pharmacy where she was waiting with a portable stereo and a small canvas bag filled with coloring books and crayons. “The neighborhood is a little rough,” she told me. I think I just smiled back at her. Like I haven’t heard that before. 

The story behind this particular trip was about a recently published book filled with the testimonies of children growing up in Juarez. Lourdes, the social worker, was part of a coalition of non-profits that published the book. The children we were about to visit were some of those featured in the book. By the way, I got the idea for the story from a friend’s blog (http://elpasotimes.typepad.com/mexico/). 

Colonia Primero de Mayo is no different from many other “colonias” in Ciudad Juarez. A colonia in Juarez usually refers to an outlying neighborhood founded by squatters and characterized by poverty. The residents of Primero de Mayo are mainly factory workers who immigrated to Juarez from other Mexican states like Durango, Torreon, and Veracruz. They came some 20 years ago to work in Juarez’s then booming maquiladora industry. Their nimble fingers assemble the car parts and electronics we Americans use on a daily basis. Thanks to the recession, a good number of them are currently unemployed. 

When Lourdes and I arrived there were only a few children in the front yard of the family who hosts these weekly gatherings. The homes here were built by hand by their owners, so the architecture can get pretty, well, creative. This house was actually several small houses on a single plot. The walls were a bright yellow and the front yard– like the roads– was all dirt and pebbles. 

Lourdes set up the stereo, a table and a few chairs. Then the children arrived. There was about a dozen of them, some barefoot, some in superhero t-shirts, some in stylish second hand shirts. They played games, danced, and of course jumped rope.  

Boy in colonia Primero de Mayo

After I’d collected some sound and did a few interviews the kids didn’t have to ask me twice to join them in their jumping. I practically threw my gear into my bag and made for the rope. 

A familiar tune emerged from the children’s mouths: “Chile, tomate, cebolla, frijoles de la olla, mole!” The rope suddenly went faster, as did my heartbeat! I gave up before the kid jumping with me even broke a sweat. 

There is a sad story behind all this, as is typically the case behind so many of my trips to Juarez. These children live with unthinkable violence everyday. Few public policy makers in Juarez take the time to seriously study the effects of such violence on the city’s future generation. The goal of the recently published book with local children’s testimonies, is meant to call attention to this important matter. 

When I was in the fifth grade, I was dreaming about how someday I was going to travel the world and become an obstetrician. The children of Primero de Mayo also have dreams. Whether or not they will be realized depends, in part, on how much those of us born with far greater privileges are willing to invest in their futures. 

Me jumping rope with a neighborhood kid.

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Monday July 27, 2009

I’m running late. I need to be at the church in Santo Domingo de Guzman in 5 minutes. All the taxis whizing by the main road connecting nearby villages are at full capacity and don’t stop.

My goodbyes with the farming family I spent the night with went much longer than I wanted. And now I’m worried I won’t make this next, very critical interview. Finally, a taxi responds to my flailing arm and pulls over. I anxiously squeeze in the backseat with three other people.

These two little guys were for sale at an outdoor market for about $8.

These two little guys were for sale at an outdoor market for about $8.

It takes 15 minutes to get the village entrance, where I have to catch yet another taxi to the church. I wait for the second taxi next to a elderly woman with braids and a wide brimmed hat. She carries two live ducks in her market bag.  “Nobody wanted to buy them,” she tells me, pointing her nose at the two ducks with their slightly sooty white feathers. The ducks were quite endearing, sitting placidly in her bag. The woman said she was selling them for 100 pesos– about 8 bucks. She said she’d cook them up for herself instead.

The taxi arrives and by the time I’m dropped off at the church I’m almost half an hour late. The terrible realization that I don’t know the woman’s full name suddenly hits me– hard. What kind of a reporter was I?? Here I finally find someone able and willing to take me to their cornfield three hours before I have to catch my bus back into the city and I blow it by arriving late, not even knowing the woman’s full name.

Obviously she isn’t waiting for me at the church. I won’t have waited for me either.

Now I’m starting to panic. Again, this is a critical part of this story. I need a sound scene in the cornfields. I need a farmer to explain how cuitlacoche grows. If I can’t get this my story will be lame. And I won’t have a chance to come back to the village before my return flight to the states.  Ahhhhhhh!!!!

Alright, I tell myself, strategy, strategy. I start asking a few people who are out and about where “Martha” lives. “Martha, what?” they ask.  “DOUGH!”  Turns out there’s more than one Martha in the neighborhood. Big surprise. There are also dozens of homes “around the corner” from the church. In less than four minutes I abandon the thought of finding my female farmer and decide to start knocking on doors and finding a new farmer.

I obviously knew no one. I’m pressed for time. And I’m scared of dogs– which tend to guard village homes unchained and with a fierce temper. Nimodo. I swallow my nerves, blindly pick a direction and start down the dirt road.  I find Ezequiel Salinas Ramon about twenty minutes into my search, after clumsily wandering into his family store, El Paraiso, or The Paradise.

Nice name, turned out pretty accurate, at least for me. I am greeted by Ezequiel’s wife who is taking a few pesos from customer buying bread and a coca cola. I explain to her my dilemma. My problems so far are the following:  1. It’s early in the season so most cornfields aren’t mature enough to have cuitlacoche and 2. All the farmers I’ve chatted with on this trip can’t give me a scientific or even a logical explanation of how cuitlaoche grows.

“My daughter is a smart girl. I’m sure she can help you,” the woman says and disappears through a side doorway that appears to lead into the family’s living room.

The daughter is 25, though she looks older. She is very nice and after a good spell of conversation she introduces me to her father. Ezequiel Salinas Ramon is an endearing 59-year-old wearing a rancher’s sombrero, collared button down shirt and dusty jeans. His good humor is immediately contagious and before I know it he’s pulled out two rickety red bikes one for him and another for me.

“Let’s go,” he tells me. “I’ll take you out to the milpa (fields).” His daughter meanwhile changes into a nice blouse, streach pants, and high heeled boots. Strange choice since she says she’ll come out with us. She doesn’t ride bikes, though, and will walk  behind us.

The milpa is a mile away or more from the store. I struggle on the wobbly bike while steadying my recording equipment hanging from the one of the bike handels in a pink plastic bag. We pass beautiful country scenery, including two young boys walking a black and white cow as they would an old dog.

Ezequiel Salinas Ramon smiles proudly after finding a corn husk infested with cuitlacoche.

Ezequiel Salinas Ramon smiles proudly after finding a corn husk infested with cuitlacoche.

Ezequiel reaches the cornfields first, as I am going at a slower pace to allow his daughter to catch up on foot. Once the three of us are together again, Ezequiel and I make our way into the sea of stalks, he holding a long thin stick to scare away garden snakes. “It maybe hard to find,” he tells me. But we are luck! According to my digital recorder, exactly three minutes after entering the field Ezequiel finds a small husk with fungus.

He proudly poses for photos, treasured shots for me. I can hear the excitement in his voice through my headphones. This is probably his first interview with a reporter and he is an excellent interviewee. He even answers my questions in complete sentances. People like Ezequiel are my favorite kind of people to interview. Simple, humble individuals with big hearts. Foreign dignitaries and celebrities may be great but I’d rather talk with Ezequiel any day.

As we ride our bikes back to El Paraiso, Ezequiel’s daughter tells me how she had to quit going to a community college to help take care of her father, who is battling cancer. I am stunned. Ezequiel looks perfectly healthy. This year, he’ll have to undergo several  chemotherapy treatments, the daughter tells me.

Back at the store, we exchange information and take a few farewell pictures. I am just in time to catch my bus back into the city. I thank the family endlessly and feel a little sad that I have to leave them so soon after meeting them. They give me an apple soda for the trip back.

I walk out to the main road with a smile on my face. On days like this we journalists feel really blessed.

Ezequiel and me out in the cornfields with our lucky cuitlacoche find.

Ezequiel and me out in the cornfields with our lucky cuitlacoche find.

Ezequiel and his daughter with the red bike.

Ezequiel and his daughter with the red bike.

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Ixtlahuaca is the nearest town to a series of small farming villages where I hunted high and low for cuitlacoche.

Ixtlahuaca is the nearest town to a series of farming villages where I hunted high and low for cuitlacoche.

Sunday July 26, 2009 

It’s four in the afternoon and I’m zooming along inside a Volkswagen bug taxi typical of Mexico City. Sharing the backseat with me are a farmer, his wife, their loquacious two-year-old daughter, some luggage and eight empty nine gallon buckets.  Lucky for us, a majority of the beetle taxistas don’t bother with a front passenger seat, allowing us some extra room.

We are on our way to the pueblo, or the village. They following a somewhat onerous routine and me on an exciting quest for corn fungus. I pondered this present reality as the city flashed by my window. I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my vines. This is why I love being a journalist: venturing out to discover new things. I loved that I was headed to a rural community and didn’t know exactly where I’d be sleeping that night. But then I turned and looked at the farmer and little Judy, dozing off in his arms. For them this was an almost daily regimen they kept just to make a simple living. I highly doubted that, for them, this was fun. I felt guilty and grateful at the same time.

Nearly forty minutes later we stopped at a bus terminal in the south of the city. Fifty pesos, the driver demanded. That’s less than five dollars. I helped the family lug their baggage to the ticket stand where for sixty more pesos we bought tickets to Ixtlahuaca, an hour and 45 minutes away. 

On the bus, the featured flick was The Illusionist with Edward Norton. Outside we drove by tall blocks of modern silver buildings and large minimalist billboards. It felt like the 20th downtown scene I’d witnessed in this gargantuan city. We past a hilly urban terrain that reminded me of a cruder, dirty version of San Francisco, then passed under a mountain tunnel and mile by mile I realized that Mexico City does in fact come to an end.

On the way to the small town of Ixtlahuaca we past by factories for Nestle, Bayer, and Nissan.

From Ixtlahuaca it was back to another taxi that would take us 20 minutes out to the village of San Andres del Pedregal.  The farmer, Pedro Torres, has a two room home made of concrete. There is no running water or gas and the bathroom is a two minute walk away in the backyard. He and his wife built the house with their own bare hands two years ago. You enter into a long room that’s both a kitchen and dining space. In the back corner there’s an alter set up for el Santo Nino de Atoche with flowers, streamers and multi-colored balloons.  The next room was the bedroom. One queen size bed, a tiny twin and bunk beds. A small television, a wooden wardrobe and piles of worn clothing in bins were set against walls and a floor of dull gray concrete.

I now have a new appreciation for farmers. After buying a bunch of squash flowers I cooked for quesadillas I complained that cooking them was far too much trouble. I hadn’t thought of how much work went into getting them to market. They must be picked, trimmed, washed, shaken dry and left to bloom. Before dawn, the farmers carefully package them in plastic bundles and carry them on taxis and buses into the city. All this is done outside in the evening and early morning hours outside the temperatures dip to the fifties (Fahrenheit) or less in the village.

The night we arrived in San Andres, we had a simple dinner of roasted chicken and pan bolillo. Judy and I played with the new Barbie I’d bought her at Walmart the day before. At 10:30 it was off to bed. I was the only one who bothered to wash my teeth and face outside in a concrete “sink.” Back inside, the alarm was set to 4 a.m. I slipped off my tennis shoes and socks and slept in my street clothes.

At 4 a.m. it was cold and I piled on the layers. The T.V. was switched on to an infomercial promising a remedy for an enlarged prostate and erectile dysfunction. Pedro was outside packaging the produce. We took a taxi back out to the Ixtlahuaca bus terminal where a bustling outdoor market was in full swing at 5 a.m under faint starlight.  

I left Pedro selling his produce, one among dozens of other farmers selling almost exactly the same thing. A nice surprise the Torres family gave me once we arrived in the village was to tell me that they didn’t exactly have cuitlacoche in their cornfields– they weren’t mature enough. But maybe we could find another farmer who did? Great, wonderful.

So my plan was to look for farmers with cuitlacoche at this market and ask if they’d take me to their fields that same afternoon. I needed to catch a bus back into the city by 2 p.m. But for one reason or another I couldn’t find a farmer able to help. Luckily, just as Pedro came to find me and I was ready to give up, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and said I could come to her cornfield at 11:30. Perfect!! Meet me in front of the church in the village of Santo Domingo de Guzman, she said, I live just around the corner.

Then I committed a cardinal sin of journalism. I didn’t ask her full name.

 

 

Marta Patricia Segura, or the "cuitlacoche" lady with her daughter Judy and the Walmart Barbie doll.

Marta Patricia Segura, or the "cuitlacoche" lady with her daughter Judy and the Walmart Barbie doll.

Little Judy messing around with my digital recorder.
 Little Judy playing with my digital recorder.
 
  

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Leticia of Huaraches Leti serving a plate of chicken breast stuffed with cuitlacoche

Leticia of Huaraches Leti serving a plate of chicken breast stuffed with cuitlacoche

The first time I tried corn fungus I was a wide-eyed college student living in a rough barrio in southern Mexico City. My friends and I stumbled into the stereotypical “hole in the wall” restaurant that was stuck in between two houses in a series of colorful interconnected buildings along a single block. Outside the sidewalk were uneven and cracked, that is, if there was a sidewalk.  The sign outside the restaurant read: “Huaraches Leti.” Literal translation: “Sandals Leti”

Huarache is Spanish for sandal, but a huarache is also a kind of dish, which is served in this restaurant. When I entered there to my right was an impressive layout of Mexican grub with aromas too irresistible to resist. At least half a dozen cazuelas, or giant clay bowls, showed off different temptations. There was squash flower, or flor de calabaza, green chile and cheese, chicharron, or fried pig’s skin, shredded chicken and tomato, and then this tar-like mush that looked revolting.

“What’s that?” I asked the woman in the ruffled apron behind the counter.

“Es cuitlacoche,” she said. “You want a quesadilla?” I lifted my eyebrows and tersed my lips. The stuff looked questionable, but the smell…the smell was intoxicating.

“Orale,” I said. “Give me one with queso oaxaca. I don’t know what cuitlacoche is, but let me taste it first. If I like it, then you can tell me what it is.”

With the first bite I was already heavenward. Soft and chewy, the taste was mushroom-like: earthy with a hint of raw corn.  Oooooh, and add to that a little lime and fresh chile salsa….I could’ve died. It really was delicious and unlike anything I’d ever tasted. 

During the week that I lived in this barrio, called Santo Domingo, I went to Huaraches Leti as often as possible. And it wasn’t until five years after that stay that I was finally able to go back.

Now I was a well-traveledm career driven 27-year-old. I was delighted to find the restaurant still existed and was doing well. My order was the same: two cuitlacoche quesadillas and a liquado de mamay. As I chewed away, I chatted with the cook and owner, Leticia.

“Where do you get the cuitlacoche?” I asked.

“A woman comes in from the village in the mornings and sells it over by La Escuelita,” Leticia said.

Oh. Interesting. Then the light bulb went off. Why not do a story on cuitlacoche? This is the kind of stuff most Americans aren’t  familiar with and it’s certainly not available in Mexican restaurants over there or even along the border (at best it’s incredibly rare, or comes out of a can). If I can find the village woman and convince her to take me to the cornfields, I could really have something!  NPR loves this kind of stuff! Hot dog!

This was the story I’d been searching for: non-drug-related, non-violent, simple, light, and cultural. Wonderful! I cooked up a plan with Leticia about meeting the next morning to find the cuitlacoche lady. But, as can be typical in Mexico, a “plan” rarely goes as planned.

I showed up the next morning at 8 am. Leticia was running late and turns out there was no cuitlaoche lady this morning. The next morning I called Leticia to ask if the lady had showed up before making the trip to the barrio again. Leticia never answered. So, what the hey, I risked another trip to Santo Domingo, and luckily this time I found the cuitlacoche lady. We made arrangements for me to go to the pueblo, or village, that Sunday accompanied by her husband and their Barbie loving daughter, Judy.

………to be continued

My favorite dish at Huaraches Leti in southern Mexico City.

My favorite dish at Huaraches Leti in southern Mexico City.

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